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What is Lysine?

Lysine is an essential amino acid, which means your body needs it to function and repair itself properly. Amino acids are the building blocks for protein in the body, and lysine is important for proper growth.ii It helps the body absorb calcium, and plays an essential role in producing carnitine—a nutrient that converts carbohydrates and fatty acids into energy.iii

But while lysine plays an important role in our everyday health, it’s effectiveness as a cold sore treatment is still a debated topic. Learn more below.


Where is Lysine Found?

Your body can’t manufacture lysine, so the only way to get it is through your diet.ii As one of the building blocks of protein, lysine is found in many protein-rich foods – such as red meat, fish and dairy products.i If you eat these foods as part of a balanced and healthy diet, your body will get ample amounts of lysine.


Lysine as a Cold Sore Treatment

Lysine is considered a potential cold sore remedy is because it’s known to slow down the body’s production of arginine – another amino acid that helps the HSV virus to spread.i, iv But while some take this to mean that increasing your lysine intake will help to stave off a cold sore outbreak (or treat one that is already occurring), the research on this topic is still inconclusive.

Despite several studies on the topic, experts have not been able to say for sure that lysine can prevent, treat or manage an outbreak of cold sores.v, vi To find out if lysine is right for you, consult your doctor.


Other Home Remedies for Cold Sores

Unfortunately there’s no way to make your cold sores completely disappear overnight. But while home treatments can’t prevent or cure the HSV virus itself, some of these natural cold sore remedies may help to ease your symptoms.

  • Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is known to be an antiseptic and may help to prevent further bacterial infection after a cold sore outbreak.vii
  • Ice or tea bags: Applying a cold compress of ice or wet tea bags to a cold sore may help reduce redness and swelling.viii
  • Lemon balm: Lemon balm has been shown to have soothing, anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, which may reduce cold sore irritation. Experts are also investigating whether it may be an effective antiviral against the HSV-1 virus.ix
  • Alcohol, witch hazel and vanilla extract: These are all ‘astringents’ (drying agents) and may help to dry out cold sores.viii


Don’t let cold sores get in the way of life. For a fast and effective over the counter cold sore treatment option, try Abreva Cold Sore Cream. Abreva can help to get rid of a cold sore in as little as 2 ½ days when used at the first sign.*


*Median healing time 4.1 days, 25% healed in 2.5 days.


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