shingles rash

Q. My body gives me a warning before an attack of shingles: I get pain on the skin in the area where I had full-blown shingles before.

I have found if I take L-lysine as soon as I get that signal, I don’t have to deal with shingles again. I start taking L-lysine three times a day with plenty of purified water and black tea and zip zap, no outbreak! The pain subsides within a few hours.

I now use 500 mgs of L-lysine a day as a preventative, and it has been years since I’ve had an attack of shingles. I hope this helps others.

A. As far as we can tell, there have been no studies of the amino acid L-lysine against shingles. The virus behind shingles, varicella zoster, is in the herpes family, and a number of studies indicate that L-lysine can help reduce herpes virus outbreaks, both cold sores and genital lesions (Alternative Medicine Review, June 2007).

L-lysine does not seem to have serious side effects at the dose you are using, and we see no reason not to try it.

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  1. Ruth

    Lysine relieved the itchiness from shingles and probably shortened its course. It also improve my mental state. I would take lysine every day except I have read reports of nephrotoxicity. Anyone else have this concern?

  2. Barbara
    Albany, NY

    I’m one of those people who have shingles on a regular basis. Dr. theorizes that, since I’ve gotten older, my immunity to chickenpox/herpes viruses, has lessened. I have shingles that break out and shingles that do NOT break out. A few of the doctor’s I’ve been to did not believe that you can have shingles and have it not break out, but they’re wrong. I had shingles hit my left eye (with no outward sign) and nearly lost my vision. So I started studying info about the virus.

    First, it’s an RNA virus, which means it uses your own body to replicate. I would suppose that is one of the reasons it can’t be eliminated. Second, it can become internal as well as external. And, third, Lysine really does help. My current doctor gave me a standing prescription for viral meds to use as needed, but thanks to Lysine, I haven’t had to use it much. Shingles/herpes can make you feel very sick in addition to the rash. It all depends upon the ‘viral load’ and what you can perhaps do to lessen that ‘viral load’ and that would be Lysine. I take Lysine on a regular daily basis and double it when I feel ill. Shingles can very well be ‘systematic.’ It’s important to remember that instead of just thinking it can be just a painful rash. Shingles can be so much more damaging, especially if it hits the eyes, the brain, the brain stem, the spine, etc., so please don’t take it lightly if you get it.

    And, last but not least, Post-Herpatic Nerve pain stays with you always (although it seems to lessen over time) because, as the virus erupts from the nerve ending in which it has hidden, it destroys that nerve ending and that is what causes the lingering pain – the nerve ending has either been destroyed or damaged. What has helped me immensely (and I’m not saying it will help everyone), is to use Black Seed Oil on the area that hurts. For me, it eliminates the pain – not forever, but enough for me to live my life. Additionally, I take a high dose of MSM and the reason I do is that MSM ‘softens’ cell ‘envelopes’ after which, I hope my body will ‘recognize’ something that doesn’t belong. Now, with Shingles, that’s difficult because the virus is made of our own RNA, but I hope. Can’t hurt.

    Herpes infections are something that once erupted, you’ll no doubt have to deal with it, in one way or another, the rest of your life. Please don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s just a cold sore or just a rash – Herpes is NOT benign. It can cause a lot of damage. You need to control it the best you can and Lysine is one of the best ways (outside of viral meds) to do that. I like to go natural before I take meds and so far Lysine has worked out well for herpes.

    • Barbara
      Albany, NY

      As a PS, the medical scientists are now investigating the family of Herpes virus as a cause of cancer. I read where there has been found a connection between herpes and brain cancer, especially Glioma tumors. Someday, it may come to pass that we will find that Herpes and it’s mutations are the reason for all cancers. Meanwhile, take it seriously and get treated.

  3. Ursula

    I use L-Lysine as soon as I know that I am getting a cold sore. It is amazing most times they don’t break thru but if they do they are much smaller. I had a doctor tell me this when I was 18. I have been using it for 30yrs and I have my daughter doing the same ting. It’s AMAZING.

  4. Cat

    Another thing that has helped me is Natural Path/Silver Wings colloidal silver. I up the dosage from what the bottle states by putting it in my Evian water and drinking it throughout the day. I can kick shingles out in 3 days. I hit it heavy for the first 3 days and then go on the dosage the bottle states. I take the 500 ppm. I stayed on it for 2 years after being exposed to toxic mold and after that I no longer developed cold sores. I won’t leave home without it. November 2014, went to my doctor for a shingles vaccine and still had an outbreak but none since then. I hope this helps!

    • Chuck
      SW Virginia

      Do you think that the colloidal silver killed the mold?

  5. Abigail

    I have had full blown shingles twice, once on my head and face that left scarring. I, too, take L-Lysine when I have that odd sensation that feels like the start of shingles. I start with 1000 mg. and add 500 mg. two more times the first day. I take 500 mg. three times a day until all indications of shingles are gone. Doing this heads off the development of shingles. I have used several different brands of Lysine. Some are to be taken on an empty stomach and some do not say when they need to be taken. When I had full blown shingles, I took higher doses, 1000 mg., three times a day at the end of the ordeal for the neurological pain that remained after the shingles sores subsided. This worked. I benefitted greatly from also taking a strong mixed B vitamin.

    These remedies were recommended by a health food store I usually went to for additive free foods in the 1970’s. I stopped in after my doctor told me there was nothing he could do for shingles. The success of taking Lysine and B vitamins for shingles started me on 40 years of using natural remedies.

  6. alan
    dallas, tx

    I’ve had one shingles attack, used l-lysine and Rx med. dr was surprised at the short duration of the symptoms, but I wouldn’t know about that.
    I DO use l-lysine for cold sore relief, tho; it seems to shorten attack by a week to ten days.

  7. Don
    United States

    It would be interesting to know if the people taking L-lysine have had the shingles vaccine or if it works to stop shingles without it.

  8. Sally

    Protection from a vaccination against shingles is very short term and, so far, there is not a booster for it. From the actual Merck package insert, “Vaccination with ZOSTAVAX does not result in protection of all vaccine recipients. The duration of protection beyond 4 years after vaccination with ZOSTAVAX is unknown. The need for revaccination has not been defined.”

    An older friend of mine had the vaccination but still got the shingles. I have read that the older one is when receiving the vaccination, the less effective it is due to age and a more weakened immune system.

  9. ken b.

    Buy virgin oil. Apply to affected area. Cook with it. Add tsp of it to foods. Look it up on the web. And it works for many, many problems. Kills viruses, fungus, bacteria and more. It is called the tree of life for good reasons.

  10. Kassandra
    Phoenix, AZ

    One day when I was taking care of my mother in her 90s, she complained of pain in her side. Nothing showed, and if I touched the area lightly, she winced. If I pressed firmly, it did not hurt her. That seemed to indicate nerve pain, which made me think it could be shingles (which she had not had before), so I immediately started her on L-Lysine. The doctor was not able to see her until the next day, so I continued giving her L-Lysine and cayenne every few hours until the appointment. When we got to the doctor’s office, the pain was greatly reduced. The doctor agreed that she had shingles, and started her on acyclovir. He told me I had done exactly the right thing, and by starting the L-Lysine immediately, I undoubtedly had prevented a full-blown outbreak and the associated pain. My mother never had another shingles attack.

    A few years earlier, my father began to have severe pain in his side as well as a bad rash. I was in another state, but told him to start L-Lysine and cayenne immediately. Because I was only a daughter instead of a doctor and therefore couldn’t possibly know anything about it, he ignored my advice and waited for 10 days to go to the doctor. His shingles was so bad that it covered his entire face and he nearly went blind. In addition, the pain stayed with him every day until he died 5 years later.

  11. Mr. Walt

    I also have had severe outbreak of shingles & read about L-Lysine years back. I take 500mg twice a day & have not had an outbreak since.

  12. Elizabeth

    For years my husband had periodic bouts with cold sores on his lips. After many years, I got one too and discovered first hand how painful and ugly they are. At that point I started us both on 500 mg of L-Lysine tablets per day – this was three years ago. Since then neither of us has had cold sores. Shingles and cold sores are both in the herpes family I believe, so the Lysine tablets are effective in both cases. If only people could be informed of this simple, inexpensive and un-harmful relief from that painful and damaging virus!

  13. Peg

    Yes!! I’m so happy this news is out. I had internal shingles from the stress of a fall. I had them for 9 months and went back to the Dr and he said, “I know what you have, it’s called Hepatic neuralgia, there is no cure, you will have it the rest of your life, and I can’t help you”.
    After researching l-lysine I too 3000 mg for 2 days and have never had the pain again! Now I take 500 mg 3 times a week.
    P.S. I changed Dr after I wrote him and told him my solution.

  14. s wolff

    I have used L-lysine for years when I get a cold sore and it takes care of it much sooner
    than anything and it stops the progression of it as soon as I start taking it.

    • Kathy

      I began having a strange tingling sensation under my left rib. It occur every5 minutes and was getting stronger. I thought it might be early stage shingles so I took a loading dose of 1000mg of lysine. After a few hours the sensation stopped. I kept taking the lysine 500mg every 6 hours . I hope I have warded off a case of shingles.

  15. penny
    United States

    I add cocoa powder to my green tea in the morning. Does that reduce the effectiveness of the flavanols. I also add lemon juice to the green tea. I have read that lemon juice enhances the effectiveness of flavanols.

  16. Betty Bird
    Yuma, AZ

    I just read the article written by one of your readers that she takes L-lysine to keep from having outbreaks of shingles. I wanted to share that I too take L-lysine but for mouth sores. While in nursing school I started developing mouth sores and they progressively got worse. I started taking L-lysine 500 mg. and the sores would resolve. Over the years I found I could sense when I was starting to develop a mouth sore and had to increase my L-lysine to 1000 mg as soon as I felt that sensation of a developing mouth sore which always develop on the tongue. I would take another dose of 1000 mg before bed and in the morning no more sensation of a mouth sore. I now continue to take 1000 mg a day and if feel a mouth sore is developing take another 500 mg at that time and before bed another 500 mg. I have not noticed any side effects. I take levothyroxine for hypothyroidism and ansaids daily for osteoarthritis. So far so good and I like as it very accessible not needing a doctors appointment or an RX.
    I thoroughly enjoy the People’s Pharmacy and all the information that you are sharing with us. Thank you and please keep all the information coming. Educating the general public is so badly needed. I am a retired RN and my husband and I travel in an RV six months out of the year and love sharing the information that you make available to us.

  17. Pleased
    North Carolina

    It doesn’t surprise me to hear shingles could be mitigated with lysine. Years ago I was reading about how pharmaceutical companies were either developing or already using their own lysine creations to help HIV/AIDs patients. I figured that was one of the worst types of viral infections, so if it helped them, hypothetically maybe it would help cold sores, which are viral, too. I tried it and sure enough it worked really well if I took it immediately upon feeling the heat of an oncoming cold sore. Took the breakouts from 3 weeks down to only a few days. Someone once told me not to take it continually, that your body would “get used to it” and it wouldn’t be effective. I don’t know why that would be, since amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are part of how our body receives and repackages directions, but I never did take it on an ongoing basis, just in case. Amino acids are an interesting topic.

  18. Angelo
    United States

    I have been using L-lysine for years to counter cold sores so it is no surprise to hear it clears up or prevents the shingles from forming. I did use it also to stem a possible outbreak of shingles rash.
    I also found that BHT, works faster to end cold sores or herpes before it starts or gets a head start.
    BHT, and L-ysine are the real deal and it is so sad most people don’t know about it.
    BHT is or was a food additive for years and for some reason it has been almost eliminated. Don’t worry about side effects, I have used it for years and no side effects.
    I take two thousand Mg at the start and one thousand every day after until it is gone.
    This combination also works on mouth sours and a host of viral problems.

  19. Mary

    It is not fun having Shingles. I have had them twice. I did find out that my Insurance does not cover Shingles shots. Will have to wait until I’m 65. Only one more year to go.

  20. KVS
    Webster, NY

    We have people in our family that get shingles on a regular basis – will try this supplement and see if it helps.

  21. Betty
    Vero Beach, FL

    I think this person means he gets an attack of PHN not Shingles. That is Post Herpatic Neuralgia(not sure of the spelling) the pain from damaged nerves after the Shingles has healed. I have had that pain for over 2 years on my neck. I take Gabapentin 600 mg twice a day. It helps the pain some but not completely. I advise people to get the Shingles shot when their doctor says it is OK.

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