In this article, I’m going to teach you about the relationship between creatine and cold sores. Years ago, I remember doing a Google-search asking the question:
“Does creatine cause cold sores?”
At the time, I was lifting weights, taking creatine, and trying to put on muscle mass.
I started getting cold sores much more often than usual, and the only new supplement I was taking was creatine.
This aroused my suspicions…
And after studying creatine for just ten minutes, I realized why I was getting so many more cold sores while taking the workout-enhancement supplement.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are groups of small blisters that form on or near the lips. Cold sores are a result of something called herpes simplex virus (HSV).
There are two types of HSV, and both can cause cold sores. HSV-1 typically is responsible for cold sores, and HSV-2 is most often the cause of genital herpes.
However, both types of HSV can cause cold sores or genital herpes.
After primary infection, the virus resides in the associated dorsal root ganglion where it lies dormant until an external stimuli (such as stress or immunosuppression) initiate reactivation of the virus from dormancy.
The virus lives on forever, and that’s why people continue to get cold sores over and over again.
The Arginine-Cold Sore-Connection
In 1981, Christopher Kagan, M.D., discovered that if he isolated HSV in a petri dish, and added the amino acid L-arginine, the virus would multiply.
However, when he added L-lysine, the virus’s ability to multiply became inhibited.
He realized the virus becomes inhibited because lysine blocks the bioavailability of arginine, which prevents the virus from replicating.
In simple terms, the virus that causes cold sores has a very difficult time replicating when there are high levels of lysine, and low levels of arginine in the body.
Here is a list of foods that have high arginine/low lysine:
- Whole grains
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid that occurs naturally in humans which helps to supply energy to all cells in the body. Creatine supplies most of this energy to muscle cells by increasing the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
Creatine supplements are widely used by athletes, bodybuilders, wrestlers, sprinters, and others who want to gain muscle mass.
At various times of my life from the ages of 20-35, I would take creatine daily to help put on muscle while I was weight-training and eating extra protein.
Every time I did this, I would get more cold sore outbreaks on my lips than usual. It was awful.
What good is a muscular, nice-looking body if one has a herpes sore on their lip?!
No good…no good at all.
Eventually I put two-and-two together and realized that it had to be the creatine that was increasing my cold sore outbreaks.
Does Creatine Cause Cold Sores?
Upon my quick Google-search years ago, I found out that creatine is made up of three amino acids. And unfortunately, one of those amino acids feeds the cold sore virus.
Creatine is made from the following amino acids:
On my creatine-loading phase, I would take 20 grams of creatine a day for a week.
You can do the math on how much arginine I was putting in my body.
Even on my normal creatine days, I would use 5-10 grams of creatine daily.
It’s no wonder that I would experience a significant increase in cold sore outbreaks whenever I took a creatine supplement.
Those were some depressing times of life. I endured serious mental anguish and feelings of unworthiness and low self-esteem.
To sum things up…don’t take creatine if you experience cold sore outbreaks!!! Creatine has high levels of arginine in it, and arginine multiplies the herpes simplex virus.
For a complete article on the connection between arginine, lysine, and HSV, click here.
The key to cold sores is to prevent them from forming in the first place.
Thus, I encourage you to check out my Ultimate Guide to Preventing Cold Sores.
It’s free and has absolutely everything you need to know.
If you have any questions or comments about the fact that creatine causes cold sores, please post them in the comment box below.