Dietary supplements can be a good option to prevent cold sores or to reduce their severity. In this article we will enumerate some of the ingredients that can have a beneficial effect on people with labial herpes (backed with medical studies). If you buy a dietary supplement specifically design for cold sores, we suggest that you check the ingredients composing the product before buying, there is a lot of snake oil out there!
Lysine is an essential amino-acid. Taken in adequate daily dosage (between 1250 mg and 1800 mg), it has been proven to slow down the growth of cold sores. Studies came to the conclusion that Lysine can reduce the frequency and intensity of outbreaks. Lysine supplements can be really cheap, but be aware that quality Lysine is a bit more expensive (about 10$ USD for 100 tablets or capsules).
Astragalus supplement is extract from the roots of a plant known as Astragalus membranaceus, which is a type of bean (legume). The antiviral effect of Astragalus membranaceus decoction was investigated by observing the inhibition of HSV-1, astragalus membranaceus has obvious HSV-1-inhibiting efficacy.
Flavonoids (a.k.a Bioflavonoids)
Flavonoids, have various pharmacological properties including antioxidant, anticancer, bactericidal, and anti-inflammatory. When flavonoids were applied at various concentrations to Vero cells infected by HSV-1 and 2, most of the flavonoids showed inhibitory effects on virus-induced cells.
Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) is a phytochemical, a compound found naturally in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Clinical studies show that this compound has the potential to interfere with the way the Herpes simplex virus (HSV) reproduces.
NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine) is a form of amino acid cysteine. Its main function is to increase the production of the tripeptide glutathione. Glutathione is known to aid in the transport of nutrients to lymphocytes and phagocytes, two major classes of immune cells, and to protect cell membranes. Data suggest that glutathione inhibits the replication of HSV-1 by interfering with the virus life cycle.
Marine algaes with high level of sulfated polysaccharides
The Department of Biological Sciences of the University of California have found that marine algaes have been known to assist the body’s immune system and a regular intake can reduce the number of viral attacks (including herpes) and their severity. The active agents of marine algaes are carrageenans, a family of sulfated polysaccharides.
Resveratrol is a non flavonoid polyphenol compound present in many plants and fruits It inhibits herpes simplex virus (HSV) replication by an unknown mechanism. Electromobility shift assays determined that resveratrol, suppressed activation of NF-kappaB in Vero cells infected with HSV-1, HSV-2 and acyclovir resistant HSV-1.
Vitamin C(ascorbic acid)
The patients who began the lignin-ascorbic acid treatment within the first 48 hours of symptom onset did not develop HSV-1 characteristic lesions, whereas those patients who began the treatment later experienced a shorter duration of cold sore lesions and a decrease in the symptoms compared with previous episodes.
Zinc sulphate appeared to reduce both the number of episodes and the time to recovery of herpes labialis. Zinc is also known to strengthen immunity in the body and therefore helps your body fight viral infections.