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All You Need To Know About Lysine And Its Health Benefits

With the advent of mass food production and readily available meals in the form of fast food, many people began finding themselves somewhat deficient in their diets. While the body can produce many of the necessary components we need to stay healthy, it cannot produce them all.

There are 20 amino acids necessary for protein creation and growth, but the body can only synthesize 10 of them. The other 10 comes from dietary sources. These are known as essential amino acids.

Photo: Ennis

What Is Lysine?

Lysine is a stereoisomer, which means it has two mirrored forms: L- and D-lysine. The body primarily uses L-lysine, which is what most people are referring to when they say lysine. It is one of the essential amino acids we need to obtain from external sources.

Lysine has many benefits. It helps the body maintain homeostasis, which combats anxiety and stress. It is also used to create carnitine, which helps reduce cholesterol and change fatty acids into energy.

Photo: Maksimovic

Lysine Benefits

Supports A Healthy Gut

Many people may suffer from something called leaky gut syndrome and may not be aware of it. This condition is where the digestive tract lining is too permeable, allowing larger-than-necessary particles to pass through. It can cause a range of problems, from allergies to thyroid problems.

One way to reduce the permeability is via anti-inflammatories. Research has recently found that lysine has anti-inflammatory effects on the GI tract. So, maintaining a healthy intake of lysine might help reduce some of the symptoms of leaky gut syndrome. Bear in mind that research has not been done to back this claim.

Reduces Diabetes-related Health Problems

Diabetes is a condition where the pancreas does not correctly function, resulting in increased glucose levels in the blood. This causes many problems, including higher levels of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs). Some studies suggest that lysine may prohibit the formation of AGEs to a degree, which is linked to the aging process. Healthy levels of lysine may decrease some of the early signs of aging associated with diabetes.

Increased Calcium Uptake


Lysine consumption seems associated with better absorption of calcium. While calcium plays a heavy role in bone health, it also helps elsewhere. Appropriate calcium uptake in the body can help manage weight, improve dental health, maintain nerve and muscle health, and more. Research has yet to be conducted to investigate the association between lysine and osteoporosis.

Decrease Cold Sore Outbreaks And Duration

Cold cores are a result of herpes simplex-1, which around 67% of those under 50 have. These cold sores have frequently been treated with creams containing lysine and other herbs.

Experts do not claim that it will stop outbreaks, but lysine may help reduce the frequency of outbreaks when consumed in healthy amounts. Applied topically, 87% of people reported significantly shorter outbreak durations.


Lysine In Your Diet

While supplements exist, lysine is best consumed through your regular diet. The average person wants between 800 and 3,000 milligrams of lysine in their daily diet. The best sources of dietary lysine in order are:

• Lean beef and lamb
• Parmesan cheese
• Turkey and chicken
• Pork
• Roasted soybeans
• Tuna
• Shrimp
• Pumpkin seeds
• Eggs
• White beans

If these are difficult to consume regularly, you may consider supplements. Bear in mind that most supplements are not regulated. While dietary lysine proves to be healthy in appropriate amounts, L-lysine supplements may cause side effects. Particularly, if you take other medications, have an existing condition, or are or may become pregnant, it is not recommended to take supplements. Always consult your doctor before taking new medications.