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Lysine is an essential amino acid that plays a key role in various body functions, from muscle repair to nutrient absorption. In this article, we break down the science behind lysine and explain why you might want to consider adding it to your diet.
What is Lysine
Lysine is an essential amino acid, which means your body can’t make it on its own. You have to get it from food or supplements. It’s a building block for proteins and plays a crucial role in many bodily functions, including immune support, hormone production, and tissue repair.
What are the Health Benefits of Lysine
- Supports Muscle Growth: Lysine helps in the production of protein, which is crucial for muscle development and repair.
- Enhances Calcium Absorption: Lysine can improve how well your body absorbs calcium, which is essential for bone health.
- Promotes Skin Health: Lysine aids in the formation of collagen, a protein that helps keep your skin firm and healthy.
- Boosts Immune System: Lysine has shown promise in improving immune response, making it easier for your body to fight off viruses and bacteria.
- Manages Anxiety: Some studies suggest that lysine can help manage anxiety by blocking stress-related receptors.
- Improves Wound Healing: Lysine can speed up the healing process by helping create new tissue at the site of a wound.
- Reduces Cold Sores: Lysine may help prevent or lessen the severity of cold sores caused by the herpes simplex virus.
- Helps in Hormone Production: Lysine is involved in creating hormones, enzymes, and antibodies that support bodily functions.
How Much Lysine Do We Need Each Day?
There are no Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for lysine, but adults are estimated to need about 38 mg per kilogram per day. This works out to about 2200-3800 mg for men or 1900-3000 mg per day for women.
Lysine is an essential amino acid, which means your body can’t make it and you need to get it from food or supplements.
Food Sources of Lysine
Lysine is an amino acid building block of protein and therefore you can get it from foods that are rich in protein.
|Lysine Amount Per Serving (mg)
|Tofu (1 cup)
|Lentils (1 cup)
|Eggs (1 large)
|Salmon (3 oz)
|Beef steak (3 oz)
|Parmesan cheese (1 oz)
|Quinoa (1 cup)
|Pumpkin seeds (1 oz)
|Almonds (1 oz)
Who Might Want to Supplement with Lysine?
Lysine supplements are not for most people who eat a varied diet with plenty of protein, but here are a few situations where a lysine supplement might be helpful:
- Cold Sores: If you frequently get cold sores, lysine supplements may help reduce their occurrence or severity.
- Vegetarian or Vegan Diet: If your diet lacks animal proteins, you might need lysine supplements to get this essential amino acid.
- Athletic Performance: Athletes sometimes use lysine for muscle recovery and to reduce fatigue.
- Skin Health: People with certain skin conditions might take lysine supplements to improve overall skin health.
- Bone Strength: Lysine helps with calcium absorption, making it useful for people looking to improve bone health.
Are Lysine Supplements Safe?
You’ll find lysine naturally in foods like meat, fish, and dairy. Because it comes from these common sources, it’s generally considered safe for most people when taken in appropriate amounts. Lysine supplements are safe for most people when taken in recommended doses. High doses of lysine can cause digestive side effects. Overall, lysine supplements are a well-tolerated option for those looking to increase their intake of this essential amino acid.
What Medications Interact with Lysine
- Aminoglycoside Antibiotics (e.g., gentamicin): Interaction is more likely if lysine supplements and antibiotics are taken at the same time, potentially increasing the risk of side effects like kidney damage.
- Diuretics: Taking lysine supplements generally can interfere with certain water pills, affecting potassium levels in the body.
- Blood Pressure Medications: Interaction may occur if lysine supplements are taken at the same time, potentially leading to changes in blood pressure.
- Antiviral Medications: Taking lysine supplements generally could alter the efficacy of some antiviral medications.
- Osteoporosis Medications (e.g., bisphosphonates): Interaction is more likely if taken at the same time as lysine supplements, affecting calcium levels in the body.
Supplement Interactions with Lysine
- Calcium: Interaction is likely when taking lysine supplements generally, as lysine increases calcium absorption, potentially leading to elevated calcium levels.
- Magnesium: Interaction occurs if lysine and magnesium supplements are taken at the same time, affecting the absorption of both.
- Zinc: Similar to magnesium, the interaction happens if lysine and zinc are taken at the same time, impacting the absorption of both.
- Arginine: Taking lysine and arginine supplements at the same time may reduce the effectiveness of each, as they share the same pathways in the body.
- Herbal Diuretics (e.g., dandelion, horsetail): Taking lysine supplements generally can interact with herbal diuretics, affecting mineral balance and hydration levels.
- Selenium: Interaction is likely if lysine supplements and selenium are taken at the same time, as lysine might lower how much selenium the body absorbs.
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Lysine 500 mg by Thorne76584
Manufacturer description: Lysine is an essential amino acid that your body doesn’t produce on its own, which means it must come from diet or supplementation. Primary dietary sources of lysine are meat, poultry, fish, dairy, tofu, lentils, and beans. However, because many individuals don’t get enough lysine through diet alone, supplementation of this essential amino acid is advisable.
Thorne’s Lysine uses the purest, most absorbable form of this amino acid – without adding unnecessary additives or preservatives.
Health benefits of lysine include:
- Wound healing – Lysine is often recommended for supporting the healing of sores and wounds because of its benefits to collagen formation and immune function.*
- Some evidence indicates lysine can be beneficial for maintaining healthy gum and lip tissues.*
- Promotes immune health – lysine provides nutritional support to help your body maintain its natural defenses.*
- Skin health – This amino acid is known to promote collagen formation, which in turn benefits the health and elasticity of skin.*
- Bone Health – lysine promotes calcium absorption, which is needed to maintain strong bones and teeth.*
Suggested Use: Take 1 capsule two to three times daily or as recommended by your health professional.
Amount Per 1 Capsule Serving
L-Lysine … 500mg (as L-Lysine Monohydrochloride)
L-Lysine Powder by NOW Foods69095
Manufacturer description: L-Lysine is an essential amino acid that must be obtained through the diet or through supplementation.* Lysine is necessary for the production of all proteins in the body, and is required for the maintenance of the structural proteins collagen and elastin, which form all connective tissue such as skin, tendon, and bone.* L-Lysine is also a precursor to L-carnitine, which is needed for fat metabolism and energy production.* In addition, L-Lysine may help to support a healthy immune system and proper cardiovascular function.*
- Pure Powder
- Supports Collagen Synthesis*
- Healthy Immune Function*
Suggested Use: Take 1/4 level teaspoon daily.
Serving Size: ¼ Level Teaspoon (appx 552mg)
Amount Per Serving
L-Lysine … 435mg* (from L-Lysine Hydrochloride)
Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.
Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.
To Sum It Up
Lysine supplements offer several health benefits such as supporting immune function, promoting skin health, and aiding in calcium absorption for stronger bones. While generally safe, it’s important to note that lysine can interact with certain medications and other supplements. Understanding these interactions and knowing your needs can help you make informed choices about incorporating lysine into your wellness routine.
This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice
Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.