Most Americans get plenty of lysine, an essential amino acid, from their diet. Your body cannot produce lysine but foods that are high in protein generally are a good source of lysine. Some populations, such as athletes, vegans or burn patients, may need to take supplemental lysine. Taking lysine supplements may also help to prevent herpes flare-ups and cold sores. Normally, lysine is taken three times a day, but consult your physician for specific recommendations.
Take 12 milligrams of supplemental lysine if you are not taking it to prevent herpes simplex. You can take this dosage at one time or divide it throughout the day.
Include a divided dose of 1000 milligrams of lysine three times a day as a regular part of your diet to prevent herpes breakouts or cold sores.
Increase your dosage if you are experiencing a herpes breakout. The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center recommends that you take 1 gram of lysine three times a day while having a herpes attack.
Avoid foods that contain a large amount of arginine, another amino acid. Some evidence suggests that reducing your intake of arginine may help increase the benefits of lysine. Foods that contain arginine include chocolate, nuts and seeds.
- Consult your physician before taking lysine. Supplemental lysine can interact with some medications.
Ireland Wolfe has been writing professionally since 2009, contributing to Toonari Post, Africana Online and Winzer Insurance. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master of Arts in mental health counseling. She is also a licensed mental health counselor, registered nutritionist and yoga teacher.