Lysine is often promoted as one of the treatments for canker sores but there is little evidence to show that lysine for canker sores is effective for all types. This amino acid is thought to have antiviral properties which, if the canker sore has been caused by a virus, may be a treatment option. However, the exact causes of canker sores are unknown but they are thought to be attributable to several factors. When the cause is not viral, then lysine will probably be ineffective.
One strain of the herpes virus may be responsible for canker sore outbreaks. The outbreak usually begins with a clump of small blisters which develop the open, white-ringed ulcer typical of canker sores. Using lysine for canker sores in this case is thought to discourage the growth of the virus. Lysine can be found in foods like meat and other animal proteins but there are also lysine supplements. This type of canker sore can also be managed through making dietary changes such as reducing foods high in the amino acid arginine, which include foods such as grains, seeds, beans, nuts and chocolate.
The use of toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulphate, SLS, is thought to contribute in a big way to the fact canker sores affect as many as 50% of the population. SLS is a caustic detergent used in the majority of commercial toothpastes, shampoos, mouthwashes and soaps because it creates a lather and so these products are seen to be more effective. While it is not known exactly why the use of toothpastes containing SLS encourages canker sores in some people, it has been reported by many sufferers that when they have switched to an SLS-free product, the problem disappears.
Other causes of canker sores include diet, stress and lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking alcohol. In these cases, the use of lysine for canker sores will probably not be as effective as making lifestyle changes. Acidic foods such as citrus fruit, low levels of vitamin B12 or foliate and hormone changes have also been implicated in the formation of mouth ulcers.
For many people, canker sores are a recurrent condition which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort leading to the inability to eat or sleep. Successful home remedies include rinsing with water and salt, baking soda or hydrogen peroxide, taking care not to swallow the mixture. Vitamin supplements, especially vitamin B, zinc, apple cider vinegar and alum are other treatments which have found favor with sufferers. The use of lysine for canker sores has been reported as effective by relatively few sufferers compared to the number of favorable reports of other treatments. Different treatments may work for sores caused by different underlying conditions.