L-lysine or simply lysine is one of the eight essential amino acids needed by the human body. It plays an important role in metabolism of fats, formation of collagen and absorption of calcium. It is also a potent antiviral agent that helps in boosting the body’s immunity against the herpes simplex virus. Although daily L-lysine requirement is easily met from protein rich foods, supplemental L-lysine is recommended for fighting viral infections and treating L-lysine deficiency.
L-lysine is a key component of protein synthesis. It is an essential amino acid, which means that the human body cannot synthesize L-lysine. It is obtained from animal and protein-rich plant sources. Red meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fish, soybean, nuts, legumes and beans are common dietary sources of L-lysine. In addition to building protein, the amino acid supports various biochemical processes.
L-lysine is a precursor of the amino acid L-carnitine. L-carnitine helps in breaking down fatty acids to produce energy. By impairing activities of the amino acid L-arginine, L-carnitine helps in inhibiting multiplication of the herpes simplex virus. L-lysine also works by stimulating calcium absorption and inducing collagen synthesis, properties that help in building bones and connective tissues.
Benefits Of L-Lysine
Genital Herpes And Cold Sores Treatment
Genital herpes and cold sores are caused by type 1 and type 2 herpes simplex viruses. There is no permanent cure for herpes simplex virus infections. However, recurrent outbreaks can be prevented with the help of L-lysine supplements.
L-lysine is either taken orally or applied to the affected area. It works by suppressing activities of the amino acid L-arginine that helps in growth and multiplication of the virus. L-lysine helps in reducing the severity and duration of the infection.
Helps In Preventing Bone Loss
Calcium is the primary component of bone cells. L-lysine improves the body’s ability to absorb calcium and prevents loss of calcium through urine. It also boosts synthesis of collagen, which is essential for maintaining the structure and strength of the bone. Hence, supplemental L-lysine is recommended for improving the bone density in people suffering from osteoporosis.
Helps In Improving Athletic Performance
L-lysine is an important component of lean muscles. By inducing carnitine production, it enables the body to produce energy by metabolizing fats. Hence, it helps in boosting athletic performance. Athletes who do not eat sufficient lysine rich food are susceptible to lysine deficiency that causes fatigue, dizziness and reduces performance.
For treating and preventing recurrent herpes simplex virus infection, you can take 1000 mg of L-lysine daily for up to 6 to 12 months. However, higher doses, about 3000 to 9000 mg per day, are recommended during active flare ups.
Side Effects Of L-Lysine
Although L-lysine is considered safe for short-term use, prolonged use may cause diarrhea and abdominal pain. High doses of supplemental lysine increases risk of kidney dysfunction and gallstones.
As L-lysine is present in common protein-rich foods, deficiency of this essential amino acid rarely occurs in people on a balanced diet. However, for certain health problems, especially in case of genital herpes and cold sores, supplemental lysine is recommended for treatment. Supplements are considered safe when taken in recommended doses under the physician’s supervision.
Any Drug Interactions Of L-Lysine
High doses of arginine supplement should be avoided by people on L-lysine supplement. Arginine reduces effectiveness of L-lysine. Lysine supplement interacts with aminoglycoside antibiotics, increasing risk of nephrotoxicity.