For many years, people have associated lysine with its ability to treat the herpes virus. While it is true that this amino acid is a potent virus-fighting agent, it also delivers a handful of other benefits.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at how l-lysine plays a crucial role in various functions in your body and why you might want to consider supplementing it in your diet.
L-Lysine at a Glance
L-Lysine is the form of the essential amino acid Lysine that the body easily absorbs and uses for protein synthesis. It was first discovered in 1889 by Dreschel when he isolated the amino acid from casein.
It is commonly used to treat the herpes virus and to ease discomfort caused by cold sores. The body also uses lysine to build proteins that are critical for growth and development, disease prevention, and maintenance of bones and connective tissues.
Since it is an essential amino acid, your body cannot produce it on its own. You need to consume foods that are rich in lysine including lean bead and lamb, parmesan cheese, turkey and chicken, pork, roasted soybeans, tuna, shrimp, pumpkin seeds, eggs, and white beans.
Role of L-Lysine in the Body
As a natural disease-fighting agent and a building block of protein, it plays a crucial role in many bodily functions. Apart from fighting the herpes simplex virus and protein synthesis, this amino acid is also a critical part of several biological functions.
It aids in crosslinking collagen polypeptides as well as in the uptake of mineral nutrients. When combined with vitamin C, l-lysine also produces carnitine, a compound responsible for fatty acid metabolism and cholesterol reduction. The body also uses lysine to produce certain enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.
- Lysine has shown to improve calcium absorption and retention in the body. This can result in healthier bones, reduced calcium loss, and reduced risk for calcium build up in the blood vessels.
- It is traditionally used to treat cold sores or fluid-filled blisters that often appear on the corners of the mouth, caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 virus.
- It can reduce anxiety when used in conjunction with arginine. Research has shown that supplementing with lysine can help reduce cortisol levels and anxiety scores in healthy humans.
- Since Lysine is crucial in the formation of collagen, supplementing with this amino acid can help promote wound healing and speed up the healing process.
- A form of L-lysine called poly-L-lysine was found to have anti-inflammatory effects in the lining of the stomach. While it needs further research, current studies claim that it can help prevent the leaky gut syndrome.
The average person needs a daily dose of 800 mg to 3,000 mg of L-Lysine per day. While you can easily source this amino acid from the food you eat, you can still take a dietary supplement if you aren’t able to meet your daily value recommendations.
Meanwhile, for the purpose of herpes and cold sores treatment, the commonly recommended dosage is between 1000 mg to 3000 mg of l-lysine.
Taking lysine through your diet is considered safe and free from side effects. However, excessive intake of this amino acid through supplements may have some minor side effects including stomach pain and diarrhea.
People with kidney and liver issues should also consult with a healthcare professional before taking lysine supplements. Meanwhile, pregnant women should avoid taking l-lysine supplements.