L-lysine, commonly referred to as lysine, is an essential amino acid, and it cannot be synthesized by the human body. It makes up one of the components of the collective term protein. The human body is roughly 16 percent protein, and protein plays an essential role in every cell of our body.
There are 20 amino acids used by the human body and eight of them cannot be synthesized. Lysine is one of those that must be acquired by diet. Lysine is manufactured by plants and microorganisms. Lysine can be found in high concentrations in the following foods: red meat, lamb, pork, poultry, soybeans, black beans, green beans, kidney beans, navy beans, and snap beans.
What does l-lysine do?
L-lysine, or lysine, aids the body in growth and regeneration. It plays a role in wound healing. It is also one of the building blocks of carnitine which helps convert fatty acids to energy and lower levels of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Lysine is also an important component of collagen and collagen is an important factor in healthy skin, teeth, hair, bones, muscles, and tendons.
Lysine is recommended for people with osteoperosis because it aids the body in calcium absorption. Lysine also plays an important part in the production of hormones, antibodies, and enzymes. Enzymes and hormones affect our entire body on a cellular level.
Among the previous mentioned benefits of lysine, it has also expressed benefits for managing the herpes simplex virus. It is believed that the herpes virus uses arginine (another amino acid) to replicate and cause outbreaks. It is believed that lysine out competes arginine in the cell and causes the herpes virus to replicate incorrectly. This is thought to lessen the severity of outbreaks, shorten the frequency, or stop them from occurring. In one study performed involving herpes and lysine supplementation, 74 percent of the patients given lysine benefited from less outbreaks as well as faster recovery. This study was performed with a control group and placebo.
Who needs l-lysine and how much should be taken?
Lysine is an essential amino acid and therefore everyone needs it. Recommended daily intake of lysine is rouglhy 10 mg per pound of body weight. That would translate into a 180 lb man taking 1.8 grams per day. Side affects have been reported when more than 10 grams per day were consumed.
Research suggests that people with the herpes virus can directly benefit from supplementation. Anyone interested in healthy hair, skin, nails, bones, and muscles should consider supplementation as well.
Lysine is a very important building block of collagen, and collagen is the main building block of connective tissue. Athletes that are constantly breaking down and rebuilding their bodies might also consider supplementation. As always you should consult your physician before beginning any supplementation regimen.
Are there any side effects or symptoms of deficiency?
Side effects such as abdominal discomfort and diarrhea have been reported but only after large doses of lysine were taken (doses in excess of 10 grams a day). Symptoms of lysine deficiency may include slow wound healing, fatigue, depression, chronic viral infections, asthma, and low thyroid hormone levels. The FDA recommends a daily intake of 50 grams of protein based on a 2000 calorie diet. This recommended daily intake is for adults and children over 4 years of age.