[posted and mailed]
In article <4hn13e$cdl at thorn.cc.usm.edu>,
Jennifer Rebecca Criswell <criswell at ocean.st.usm.edu> wrote:
>I have a question about the Herpes Virus and fever blisters. Is it true
>that an arginine low diet can help to prevent these infections? I
>recently read an article that pointed to high arginine levels in some
>foods, such as peanuts, as a major factor in the appearance of fever
>blisters. The article also says that if a persons diet includes enough
>lysine to "offset" the high argigine, fever blisters will not appear. Is
>all of this true? I would appreciate any information on this subject.
The low-arginine diet doesn't seem to have been looked at very much in
As far as the lysine, it's hard to be sure, but there might be some
effect. Several trials have seen a moderate effect (,,,),
some have seen none (,,). It's worth emphasizing that even the
positive trials didn't see a large improvement - we're talking about a
modest reduction in symptoms and/or frequency of recurrence.
Some of the non-clinical trials also have suggested there might be an
effect (e.g. ,,) but these are very artifical situations that
are of questionable relevance to a natural infection in man.
 Ishihara C Iida J Mizukoshi N Yamamoto N Yamamoto K Kato K Azuma I
Effect of N alpha-acetylmuramyl-L-alanyl-D-isoglutaminyl-N
epsilon-stearoyl- L-lysine on resistance to herpes simplex virus
type-1 infection in cyclophosphamide-treated mice.
Vaccine 1989 Aug;7(4):309-13
The restoration of resistance by N
epsilon-stearoyl-L-lysine [MDP-Lys(L18)] on herpes simplex virus
(HSV) type-1 infection was examined in cyclophosphamide (CY)-treated
mice. MDP-Lys(L18) was shown to restore the resistance to HSV
infection in CY-treated mice when it was injected either
subcutaneously, intravenously, or intraperitoneally before
infection. Treatment with MDP-Lys(L18) in CY-treated mice restored
impaired activity for inhibiting HSV growth in the liver.
 Ayala E Krikorian D
Effect of L-lysine monohydrochloride on cutaneous herpes simplex
virus in the guinea pig.
Journal of Medical Virology 1989 May;28(1):16-20
The effect of topical applications of crystalline lysine therapy on
cutaneous herpes simplex virus (HSV) inoculations and subsequent
dorsal root ganglia (DRG) infection was studied in male Hartley
guinea pigs. Although HSV-I was recovered from the inoculated sites
from all animals, the L-lysine-treated skin remained clinically
normal, whereas untreated controls manifested clinical symptoms up
to 3 days postinoculation (p.i.). However, cocultivation of DRG
(C1-S1) indicated a selective tropism of infective particles to
specific DRG in the groups treated with amino acids. In
lysine-treated animals, HSV was recovered from a few DRG (T-12,
T-13, and L-1) at 3 days p.i. and from DRG T-10 in leucine-treated
controls; yet no HSV was recovered from DRG of untreated controls.
These results suggest an immunomodulatory effect of L-lysine on
inoculation site infections and the possible potentiation of
subsequent DRG manifestation in amino-acid-treated animals.
 Griffith RS Walsh DE Myrmel KH Thompson RW Behforooz A
Success of L-lysine therapy in frequently recurrent herpes simplex
infection. Treatment and prophylaxis.
Dermatologica. 175(4):183-90, 1987
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial of oral
L-lysine monohydrochloride for the prevention and treatment of
recurrent herpes simplex (HSV) infection was conducted. The
treatment group was given L-Lysine monohydrochloride tablets (1,000
mg L-lysine per dose) 3 times a day for 6 months. A total of 27 (6
male and 21 female) subjects on L-lysine and 25 (6 male and 19
female) subjects on placebo completed the trial. The L-lysine
treatment group had an average of 2.4 (p less than 0.05) less HSV
infections, symptoms were significantly (p less than 0.05)
diminished in severity and healing time was significantly reduced (p
less than 0.05). L-Lysine appears to be an effective agent for
reduction of occurrence, severity and healing time for recurrent HSV
 Kagan C
Failure of lysine?
Archives of Dermatology 1985 Jan;121(1):21
 McCune MA Perry HO Muller SA O'Fallon WM
Treatment of recurrent herpes simplex infections with L-lysine
In a prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled,
cross-over study of forty-one patients we found that oral ingestion
of 1,248 mg a day of L-Lysine monohydrochloride shows evidence of
decreasing the recurrence rate of herpes simplex attacks in
nonimmunocompromised hosts. A dose of 624 mg a day was not
effective. L-Lysine may also be capable of decreasing the severity
of symptoms associated with recurrences. Neither dosage showed any
evidence of shortening the healing time compared to placebo.
 Walsh DE Griffith RS Behforooz A
Subjective response to lysine in the therapy of herpes simplex.
To test the effect of lysine supplementation on herpes infection,
1543 subjects were surveyed by questionnaire after a six-month trial
period. The study included subjects with cold sores, canker sores,
and genital herpes. Of these, 54% had been diagnosed and treated by
a physician. The results showed that the average dosage used was 936
mg of lysine daily. Eighty-four per cent of those surveyed said that
lysine supplementation prevented recurrence or decreased the
frequency of herpes infection. Whereas 79% described their symptoms
as severe or intolerable without lysine, only 8% used these terms
when taking lysine. Without lysine, 90% indicated that healing took
six to 15 days, but with lysine 83% stated that lesions healed in
five days or less. Overall, 88% considered supplemental lysine an
effective form of treatment for herpes infection.
 DiGiovanna JJ Blank H
Failure of lysine in frequently recurrent herpes simplex infection.
Treatment and prophylaxis.
Archives of Dermatology 1984 Jan;120(1):48-51
Lysine has been claimed to be effective in the treatment and
prevention of episodes of recurrent herpes simplex (HS) infection.
We carried out a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral
lysine hydrochloride therapy (400 mg, three times a day) in a group
of 21 patients in good general health with a history of frequently
recurring infection. Using our measures of episode frequency,
duration, and severity, we were unable to detect any substantial
benefit of lysine therapy either as a treatment for episodes in
progress or as a prophylactic drug for the prevention of
recurrences. We conclude that it is unlikely that lysine improves
frequently recurrent HS infections in the majority of patients.
 Kagan C
Effect of acyclovir, bromovinyldeoxyuridine, vidarabine, and
L-lysine on latent ganglionic herpes simplex virus in vitro
American Journal of Medicine 1983 Oct;75(4):A59
 Bonina L Nash AA Arena A Leung KN Wildy P
T cell-macrophage interaction in arginase-mediated resistance to
herpes simplex virus.
Virus Research 1984 Sep;1(6):501-5
Peritoneal macrophages activated by-products derived from a herpes
simplex virus-specific helper T cell clone were used to investigate
intrinsic and extrinsic resistance mechanisms to herpes simplex
virus type 1 infection in vitro. T cell-activated macrophages
produced fewer infective centres, indicating enhanced intrinsic
resistance, and markedly reduced the growth of virus in a permissive
cell line. The reduction in virus growth correlated with the
depletion of arginine in the support medium, presumably resulting
from increased arginase production by activated macrophages. The
significance of these findings for antiviral immunity in vivo is
 Griffith RS Norins AL Kagan C
A multicentered study of lysine therapy in Herpes simplex infection.
Lysine appears to suppress the clinical manifestations of
herpesvirus infection. 45 patients with frequently recurring herpes
infection were given 312-1,200 mg of lysine daily in single or
multiple doses. The clinical results demonstrated a beneficial
effect from supplementary lysine in accelerating recovery from
herpes simplex infection and suppressing recurrence. Tissue culture
studies have demonstrated an enhancing effect on viral replication
when the amino acid ratio of arginine to lysine favors arginine. The
opposite, preponderance of lysine to arginine, suppresses viral
replication and inhibits cytopathogenicity of herpes simplex virus.
The codons characterizing herpes simplex DNA apparently specify
production of viral capsids at the expense of host cell histones.
 Kagan C
Letter: Lysine therapy for herpes simplex.
Lancet 1974 Jan 26;1(848):137
 Inglis VB
Requirement of arginine for the replication of herpes virus.
Journal of General Virology 1968 Jul;3(1):9-17
Ian York (iayork at panix.com) <http://www.panix.com/~iayork/>
"-but as he was a York, I am rather inclined to suppose him a
very respectable Man." -Jane Austen, The History of England