Q. In a recent column you answered a question about L-lysine and shingles. I have been taking L-lysine for various forms of herpes for over 20 years, and it has kept me virtually outbreak-free.
It is also important to avoid nuts and chocolate. Dietary restraint together with L-lysine have worked better for me than acyclovir, which I took for a year as part of a study at the University of Rochester.
I have read about both nut avoidance and L-lysine, but often when I speak to physicians about it they are not aware of it. A lot of pain and discomfort could be avoided if they were.
A. We heard from several other readers who use L-lysine supplements to ward off cold sores or shingles. One said: “I have been taking L-lysine along with high potency B complex since 1986 when an osteopathic physician recommended it after I was treated with Zovirax. I have continued to take it and have never had shingles again. When I Googled L-Lysine, I found that it is used for shingles.”
We too Googled L-lysine and found that the University of Maryland Medical Center web site states: “L-lysine can be used to treat mouth and genital lesions caused by herpes simplex virus as well as shingles caused by herpes zoster viruses.” We did not find placebo-controlled clinical trials that demonstrate this effect, but L-lysine is not toxic or expensive.