Lysine (also known as L-lysine) is an essential amino acid, meaning it can't be produced by the body and must be obtained through the diet. It may also be taken as a nutritional supplement.
- The precursor for carnitine synthesis (a non-essential amino acid required for using fats for energy)
- A structural protein in some hormones
- A linkage for vitamin B6 on many enzymes
- A component of collagen - a structural protein found throughout the body.
- Decreases the frequency, severity and healing time of cold sores. Although some studies have contradicted these findings, it's possible that only doses over 1000 mg per day have an anti-herpes virus effect.
- Improved calcium absorption Lysine may also increase bone density by stimulating the activity of bone-forming cells.
- May stimulate the release of human growth hormone, when combined with arginine. Growth hormone boosts metabolic function, which increases the rate at which fat is burnt for energy. Growth hormone also has an anabolic effect, promoting protein formation and tissue growth.
Main food sources
- Brewer's yeast
- Mung bean sprouts
- Oat flakes.
- In very large doses (10 - 30 g per day), lysine may increase the toxicity of aminoglycoside antibiotics. Consult your healthcare professional for advice.
- High doses may cause digestive upsets.
- People with kidney or liver disease should consult their doctor before taking lysine.