L-Lysine is an essential amino acid. The “L” prefix refers to the physical form of lysine used by the body. Humans can’t synthesize lysine and therefore must take in the amino acid in foods or supplements. The dietary requirement for a 150 pound person is about 2 grams per day. Vegetarians might have trouble ingesting sufficient lysine because the best sources are eggs, meat, cheese and fish. However, you can also get lysine from eating soy, peas and beans. A food delivers sufficient lysine if at least 5 percent of its protein is lysine.
Uses of Lysine
The body uses lysine to build proteins. Your muscles and organs all depend on protein synthesis to remain vital and healthy. Lysine also plays an important role in the absorption of calcium, which is necessary for bone strength and cell metabolism. You use increased amounts of lysine when you are recovering from injuries or surgery. It is an essential ingredient in the production of antibodies, enzymes and hormones.
L-Lysine has been found beneficial in a number of contexts:
1) L-Lysine is an effective treatment for herpes simplex infections. A study published by Skin Therapy Letter in 2009. Researchers at Northwestern University found that patients taking therapeutic lysine had 2.4 fewer outbreaks per year. L-Lysine is also used to treat cold sores arising from the herpes simplex virus.
2) Studies have linked lysine to serotonin uptake by the brain, which is associated with anxiety reduction. By reducing the overactivity of serotonin receptors, lysine is thought to help tame the body’s response to stress.
3) Compounds known as lysine conjugates are showing promise as a cancer treatment. Researchers at Florida State University have used the conjugates to identify damaged DNA in cancer cells and then cause the cells to die while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
4) Poultry scientists at the University of Georgia found that a deficiency of lysine in the diet of chickens causes immunological disorders.
5) Lysine is undergoing study to see if a diet rich in the amino acid can reduce blood pressure and strokes.
L-Lysine is widely available as a supplement. You can buy it at health and vitamin stores as well as from online suppliers.
Skin Therapy Letter: Practical Management Measures for Patients With Recurrent Herpes Labialis
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Lysine Fortification Reduces Anxiety…
Science Daily: Chemists Kill Cancer Cells With Light-Activated Molecules
American Association of Avian Pathologists: The Effect of Dietary Lysine Deficiency…