ViraFend is a non-drug supplement that promises to provide a proven, natural, safe, and effective method of regulating cold sore virus replication.
How’s it work? Basically, ViraFend claims to prevent viruses from attaching—or fusing—to cells. Then, because these viruses can’t attach to cells, they can’t reproduce so they’re unable to cause an outbreak (we’ll go over additional details soon).
Hence, ViraFend’s manufacturer refers to the supplement a “Viral Fusion Inhibitor.”
We’re told ViraFend’s only active ingredient—activated humic acid—is also effective for preventing other types of viruses from attaching to cells, too, including the wide range of influenza.
During normal times, you’ll need to take one tablet of ViraFend twice daily, usually in the morning and early evening. The company also recommends avoiding triggers that could stimulate virus reproduction and lead to an outbreak.
Speaking of which, during outbreaks, you can take two ViraFend tablets, twice daily. Whether you take two or four, though, the manufacturer tells us that it’s been extensively tested for safety, with no known side effects.
Side effects or not, is ViraFend really the “breakthrough” promised by the manufacturer? Can you realistically expect it to cause a meaningful reduction in your cold sore outbreaks? Here’s what we learned during our research:
What Are Cold Sores and Is There a Cure?
The Basics About Viruses: Compared to bacteria, which are living single-celled organisms, viruses are acellular (they have no cell structure) and are generally considered nonliving.
Because they’re not technically alive, viruses’ acellular structure means that they can’t reproduce on their own. Instead, like microscopic parasites, they have to attach themselves to another living cell in the body (called a host cell), pierce the cell’s outer membrane, and inject their genetic material into the cell’s nucleus.
Next, the host cell is ‘tricked’ into abandoning its normal function, instead of creating proteins and genetic material that are assembled into new viruses. Eventually, these new viruses will explode out of the host cell and release back into the body, only to start the process all over again.
The Herpes Virus Is a Little Different
When new viruses are released, they tend to infect cells, replicate as fast as possible, and kill the host cells indiscriminately. However, this isn’t the case with herpes.
When we’re happy and healthy, the herpes virus (HSV-1, oral, as well as HSV-2, or genital) hides inside our neurons, or brain cells, in an inactive state.
There, the virus causes the body to switch on a gene called LAT, which hides it from the immune system, as well as pharmaceuticals. Think of it as an invisibility cloak, which is precisely why there’s currently no cure for herpes.
But if herpes is always hiding behind our neurons, how does it cause external outbreaks?
As it turns out, the herpes virus isn’t especially good at determining the difference between a real threat to its existence and a slight change in normal bodily function.
So, whenever you have an elevated temperature, experience too much stress or fatigue, trauma, cold weather and excessive sunlight, hormonal changes, and more, they tend to get a little jumpy. The viruses abandon your neurons, flee to the surface and destroy epithelial cells, which then manifest as painful sores that crust over a couple days after appearing.
Eventually, these new viruses will retreat to your neurons and lie in wait until causing the next outbreak.
Despite the public perception of herpes, the reality is that over 90% of the population has been exposed to the virus. In other words, most of us are carriers, whether or not we currently experience active outbreaks.
Now, how does ViraFend claim to combat the problem? Enter Viral Fusion Inhibition.
How Does ViraFend’s Viral Fusion Inhibition Work?
As we just learned, the presence of the herpes virus in our body isn’t necessarily the problem; it’s when these viruses leave our neurons and infect epithelial cells that things start going south.
To this extent, ViraFend’s Viral Fusion Inhibitor works by ‘coating’ the outer envelope of each virus particle. Once coated, viruses aren’t able to attach to a host cell.
Naturally, this also means they can’t insert their DNA and therefore can’t replicate or reproduce.
According to the manufacturer, their Viral Fusion Inhibition ‘coating’ also leaves viruses exposed to the body’s immune system, which can then identify and attack them more effectively.
By preventing replication and leaving them more susceptible to the immune system, ViraFend promises to reduce the total number of virus particles in the body—known as the viral load—will decline over time. In fact, they claim it can “theoretically drop to undetectable levels,” as long as ViraFend’s active ingredient remains present in sufficient quantities.
Just what is this ingredient, exactly?
What Ingredients Will You Find In ViraFend?
What Is Humic Acid?
The only active ingredient found in each tablet of ViraFend is 250mg of pharmaceutical-grade activated humic acid. According to the company, this is extracted from natural deposits in the earth, standardized, and sterilized in an FDA approved, cGMP certified facility.
Although the name might be misleading, humic acid isn’t a single acid. Instead, it’s a combination of different acids that are the result of biodegradation of dead organic matter, which is why it’s common in soil, peat, coal, streams, and ocean water.
But does humic acid provide any health benefits in humans? More specifically, will it work as advertised on ViraFend’s website?
Will Humic Acid ‘Coat’ Viruses or Prevent Replication?
ViraFend’s manufacturer only references one study on their website titled Broad Spectrum Antiviral Effectiveness of Humates, although we couldn’t find any studies with this exact title on the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed. We did find a PDF with this title released by another humic acid-based antiviral supplement named Viracillin, though.
Speaking of PubMed, outside of this, there seems to be limited clinical evidence directly linking humic acid/humates and reduced viral load. Furthermore, most of these studies were conducted on viruses like influenza, hepatitis B, and HIV—not on HSV-1 or HSV-2.
And even in instances where humic acid was shown to have some effect on these viruses, it doesn’t appear the mechanism of action was well understood. In layman’s terms, there’s little evidence to support ViraFend’s claim that it can ‘coat’ viruses in any way.
What’s this mean for you? While it’s potentially good news that some studies indicate a positive relationship between humates and virus regulation, it takes an entire body of evidence—sometimes hundreds or thousands of studies—to show that something is “proven” to work.
And based on the limited clinical evidence (at least according to authoritative websites like WebMD and PubMed), there doesn’t appear to be anything “proven” about the ability of humic acid supplements like ViraFend to meaningfully affect herpes outbreaks.
But will humic acid cause any side effects?
Will ViraFend’s Humic Acid Cause Any Side Effects?
According to the manufacturer, the humic acid in ViraFend hasn’t been shown to cause any side effects, allergic reactions, embryo toxicity, or contraindications with other medications—including popular anti-viral prescription medications like acyclovir and valacyclovir.
However, we’re told that when you begin taking ViraFend, you may experience a rapid die-off of pathogens in your body like bacteria and viruses. This can then lead to flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle and joint pain, mild rashes, and more, which is a condition known as the Herxheimer Effect.
Pro tip: The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction usually references the die-off of bacteria as a result of antibiotic treatments, specifically spirochetes (a type of bacteria) that can cause syphilis, Lyme disease, and more.
On the other hand, we didn’t come across any authoritative references during our research linking the same reaction with the sudden die-off of a large amount of viruses.
With this said, WebMD has the following to say about humic acid:
“There isn’t enough information available to know if humic acid is safe. Laboratory research and population research has associated humic acid with joint disease, circulatory disease, and thyroid disease.”
How Much Does ViraFend Cost?
ViraFend is priced as follows:
- 1 Bottle (60 coated tablets): $69.95 plus $4.95 S&H
- 2 Bottles: $127.90 plus free S&H
- 3 Bottles: $173.85 plus free S&H
If you order the 2- or- 3-bottle options, you’ll also receive a free ViraLogics health report (a $19.95 value) that will explain the cause of cold sore outbreaks and provide other useful information.
All ViraFend orders come with a 90-day refund policy, less S&H, although this only applies to product “in its original unopened packaging,” including any accompanying paperwork and documentation.
In order to request a refund, customer service can be reached at 888-237-5430 or email@example.com.
Are There Any ViraFend Reviews? What About the Competition?
Although the ViraFend URL has been registered since 2012, we found very few legitimate (i.e. non-affiliate) reviews for the supplement at the time of our research. In fact, we only found two customer reviews on Amazon, who had given ViraFend a 5-star rating, claiming that it worked as advertised.
From a company perspective, ViraFend appears to be manufactured by ViraLogics Corporation, although very little third-party information was found about the company elsewhere online.
On the other hand, if you type “humic acid supplement,” “herpes supplement,” or “virus supplement” into your favorite search engine, you’ll find hundreds of products out there making similar claims as ViraFend. Additionally, you’ll find that many of these options are priced between $20 and $40, putting ViraFend on the upper end of the price spectrum.
Is ViraFend worth the extra money? Let’s carry this thought over to the final section.
Bottom Line: Can You Expect ViraFend to Reduce Your Herpes Outbreaks?
When it comes down to it, we didn't test ViraFend firsthand, and we're not medical professionals here at HighYa.
But, according to authoritative websites like WebMD and the NIH’s PubMed, there seems to be limited clinical evidence that humic acid/humate supplements can help meaningfully reduce the frequency and/or severity of herpes outbreaks, whether related to HSV-1 or HSV-2.
Additionally, ViraFend’s humic acid formulation is more expensive than much of the competition, and if you decide to give it a try, you’ll lose the ability to process a refund as soon as you open your bottle.
Taking all of this into consideration, only you can decide whether or not it’s worth rolling the dice on ViraFend. But if it were our money (after all, we’re consumers too!), we think we might get more value for our money by speaking with our doctor instead of placing an order.
Did you give ViraFend a shot? Did it live up to the manufacturer’s claims, along with your expectations? Help inform and empower other consumers by leaving your feedback below!