Lysine Supplement Review

Meet Our Experts
Cleveland Clinic, ranked as one of the nation’s best hospitals overall (4th in the country) by U.S. News & World Report 2013-14, is proud to offer expert advice and guidance to help you on your journey to wellness.
Meet Our Experts
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
To prevent recurrent herpes infections
0 (Effectiveness Unclear)


  • Lysine is one of the 20 amino acids that combine in various ways to form proteins. Because the human body cannot synthesize lysine, its presence in the diet is essential. Good sources include high-protein foods such as poultry, pork, lamb, sardines, cod, cheese, eggs, soybeans, adzuki beans, and chickpeas, among others. Lysine is also produced in your gut by intestinal microbes.
  • While lysine deficiencies are rare, macrobiotic vegans and some athletes may need to supplement.
  • Lysine has been used to treat and prevent recurrent herpes simplex infections (cold sores), though studies are not conclusive.
  • Lysine plays a major role in intestinal absorption of calcium, in muscle repair (whether after exercise or surgery), and in production of hormones, antibodies, and enzymes, all of which are formed from protein.


  • Because it induces platelets to aggregate (join together), lysine is one of the few supplements that decreases clotting time. Besides white blood cells and red blood cells, platelets are one of the three major types of blood cells. They have a central role in the formation of blood clots.
  • Lysine should never be taken by individuals with kidney or liver function impairment, even if it is mild.
  • Overall, solid studies of the safety and effectiveness of lysine for decreasing the severity or frequency of herpes infections are not currently available.

Lysine should never be taken by individuals with kidney or liver function impairment, even if it is mild.

DOSAGE:The recommended daily dose, 38 mg/kg in adults age 19 and older, rises to 51 mg/kg daily during pregnancy and 52 mg/kg daily during breast feeding. Studies for treatment of aphthous ulcers (mouth sores) used 1,000 mg daily. Studies for prevention used 500 mg daily. Doses of 1,000-3,000 mg daily for 12-52 weeks, in single or divided doses, were studied for herpes outbreaks.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that while lysine shows promise for preventing recurring herpetic infections, there is not enough evidence for us to recommend its use for this indication. If you do elect to try it, please discuss your decision with your doctor, and observe carefully for any changes to your health.

“Lysine.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Lysine.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.
Perfect, M. et al. Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for the Treatment of Genital Herpes. Herpes (2005) 12:2, 38-41
Civitelli, R. et al. Dietary L-Lysine and Calcium Metabolism in Humans. Nutrition (1992) 8(6):400-405
Rushton, D.H. et al. Nutritional factors and hair loss. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology (2002) 27, 396-404
Elish, D. et al. Therapeutic Options for Herpes Labialis: Experimental and Natural Therapies. CUTIS (2005) 76, 38-40

Untitled Document
Get Your Daily Tip
Start living healthier with our FREE daily wellness tips!