by Geri Walton ~ February 26th, 2009
Lysine or L-lysine is an essential amino acid that plays an important role in a person’s overall health and well being. Because it is an essential amino acid, it cannot be produced by the body and must be acquired from diet or supplements. Defiencies of lysine can result in hair loss, an inability to concentrate, reproductive disorders, and even retarded growth. Purported health benefits shows lysine
- Encourages Collagen Formation. Collagen is a protective component that supports most tissues and provides cell structure. Lysine is required for collagen synthesis, and collagen strengthens tissues and is necessary for skin strength, blood vessel sturdiness, and skin elasticity.
- Inhibits and Prevents Colds Sores. Lysine is probably best known for inhibiting or preventing cold sores caused by the Herpes simplex type I virus. It does this by balancing arginine, another amino acid that causes herpes attacks, and amounts as small as 500-1000 mg, twice daily, seem helpful to reduce cold sore outbreaks.
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels. Lysine, when used in conjunction with garlic, niacin, and vitamin C, may help lower high cholesterol levels. One study published in Nutrition and Metabolism looked at arginine/lysine ratios and found “VLDL and liver cholesterol concentration,…were both lower in rats [who were fed Lysine].”
- Promotes Bone Health. Lysine is also an important factor for post-menopausal women as it assists in calcium absorption to maintain strong bones, and, if a person is deficient in it, it results in hypomineralized bones. Additionally, it also seems to reduce tooth decay by increasing calcium absorption.
- Speeds Wound Recovery and Bone Healing. Besides aiding against colds sores and promoting bone health, lysine also seems to accelerate wound healing. When a wound occurs the new generated tissue may be fragile or defective. Lysine helps because it is a necessary building block for all protein, and it encourages collagen formation. Additionally, this study, and at least one other study, showed Lysine was a key nutrient needed in the “reduction in healing time…in patients suffering from bone fracture[s].”
There are numerous dietary lysine sources. Some of the most abundant lysine sources include dairy products, fish, legumes, poultry, and wheat germ. If you eat primarily a high-carbohydrate diet or are a vegetarian, you may need to take a lysine supplement, as 1 to 1.5 grams are required each day. Plant lysine sources include: beans (black bean, dwarf bean, field bean, flageolet bean, french bean, garden bean, green bean, haricot, haricot bean, haricot vert, kidney bean, navy bean, pop bean, snap bean, string bean, and wax bean), carob, lentils, quinoa, soybeans, spinach, and watercress.
Lysine is vital to good health. It encourages collagen formation, inhibits and prevents cold sores, lowers cholesterol levels, promotes bone health through calcium absorption, and speeds wound and fracture healing. It’s also a necessary building block for all protein in the body. So, avoid a lysine deficiency by making sure you eat a well-rounded diet and include lysine-rich foods in your diet daily.