L-lysine, or simply lysine, is one of the building blocks of protein and is essential for maintaining a healthy body and keeping systems functioning at an optimal level. Lysine helps the body repair itself, and deficiency can lead to fatigue, hair loss, muscle soreness, and a decreased immune system. Increasing one's lysine consumption through diet or supplements can help improve the symptoms of severe chronic conditions.
The herpes simplex-1 virus (HSV-1) causes cold sores, chronic fluid-filled blisters that develop on and around the lips and tongue. The amino acid arginine encourages the flare-up of HSV-1 and subsequent breakouts. Lysine can combat this effect of arginine. Topically applying creams containing lysine to the lips when cold sore symptoms first appear can help minimize the blister. Furthermore, supplementing the diet with lysine may keep the balance between these two amino acids in check, reducing the occurrence of cold sores. Foods that are high in lysine and low in arginine, such as fish, meats, and dairy, are recommended to prevent outbreaks of HSV-1.
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