Curtailing cold sores
Q: I’m constantly dealing with cold sores. I have been applying zinc, as I heard that can help get rid of them. Is there anything else I can do?
Dr. Wright: Zinc can be very effective for eliminating cold/canker sores. It stimulates the immune system by promoting the ability of white blood cells to fight germs, like the herpes virus, which is one of the primary causes of recurrent cold sore outbreaks.
Iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12 also help reduce recurrences.
When I’m working with patients with recurrent canker sore outbreaks, I generally prescribe the following dosage guidelines (but you should talk to your personal physician to determine the best amounts for you): 30 to 60 milligrams of iron daily; 3 to 5 milligrams of folic acid daily taken along with 2,000 micrograms of vitamin B12; and 30 milligrams of zinc picolinate daily.
For long-term prevention of canker sores, I advise taking 2,000 to 3,000 milligrams of lysine daily in between meals, along with smaller amounts of the nutrients mentioned above. Lysine is an amino acid that discourages the growth of the herpes virus. But it’s also important to note that anytime you take lysine, you should also take an equivalent amount of vitamin C.