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Health Benefits of Lysine & Its Side Effects

What is Lysine?

Lysine is one of the many essential amino acids that is not produced by the body. People need to obtain it from dietary sources. Lysine is also known as L-Lysine and is an amino acid that is necessary for many body functions. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins that are known to combine with other compounds to form this macronutrient.

Lack of lysine may lead to:

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List of Lysine Rich Foods

Lysine can be obtained from different foods. The primary sources of lysine are animal products such as meat and dairy. Vegetarians and vegans can get lysine from legumes and wheat germ as these are good sources of amino acids.

Foods that can help meet the daily recommended intake of lysine include:

  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Chicken
  • Nuts
  • Cottage cheese
  • Soybeans
  • Wheat germ
  • Parmesan
  • Fish such as cod and sardines
  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Spirulina
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Mostly there is no need to supplement lysine as the daily needs are reached from the food intake.

Health Benefits of Lysine

Lysine is needed by the body for healthy functioning. It plays the role of helping body tissues grow and recover from damage. It also helps the body to absorb calcium, iron, and zinc, promote collagen growth, produce enzymes, antibodies, and hormones and support the immune system.

  1. Helps in Treating Herpes

    Lysine may be helpful in controlling the herpes virus.(1) Lysine supplements may be helpful in reducing the number and frequency of cold sore outbreaks.

    Lysine can also be helpful in treating genital herpes and it is observed that people with a history of herpes can take 1000 to 3000 milligrams of supplements a day.

  2. Helps in Lowering Blood Pressure

    According to a small study, lysine helped in reducing high blood pressure in people whose dietary intake of amino acids was insufficient.(2)

    More research is needed to look for the effectiveness of lysine for blood pressure.

  3. Treating Diabetes

    A study done on 12 healthy volunteers suggested that lysine could be helpful in slowing the rise in the blood glucose level after eating.(3)

    It can be an effective treatment for diabetes but still needs to be researched.

  4. Other Benefits of Lysine

    As lysine supports many functions in the body, it can also be helpful in the following symptoms:

    • Preventing loss of lean muscles and mobility issues
    • Relieving anxiety
    • Treating shingles
    • Moderating blood pressure
    • Supporting hair growth
    • Building muscles
    • Preventing bone loss
    • Helping athletes recover from intense workouts
    • Promoting healthy skin

Side Effects of Lysine

Lysine supplements are extremely safe and do not seem to cause any symptoms. However, taking more than the recommended dosage may cause stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.

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Also, reports are there of an association between lysine supplements and an increase in the risk of gallstones and higher cholesterol.

Lysine may interact with arginine, which is an amino acid supporting the circulatory system. Its intake in large quantities may reduce the body’s ability to move arginine through the body.

Lysine may also interact with the group of antibiotics called aminoglycosides resulting in kidney damage. These antibiotics are given to treat serious infections.

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Lysine also increases the absorption of calcium. Therefore, people should monitor the amount of calcium intake while taking lysine supplements.

Who Should Note Take Lysine

Lysine is not recommended for children and females who breastfeed. People taking lysine should monitor their cholesterol levels as it is linked with high cholesterol levels.

People with kidney and liver problems should avoid taking lysine supplements.

Lysine is an amino acid and is necessary for human health. It is not prepared by the body on its own and is consumed from the diet. The scientific data available on the benefits of lysine is not yet conclusive, still many people are exploring its benefits including athletes and people who do not eat animal products. While taking supplements it’s best to discuss with the doctor the related side effects and dosage.

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