Lysine, also called L-lysine, is an essential amino acid. It is one of the nutrients that is essential for our health but it cannot be made by the human body. It must be ingested in the daily diet or taken as a supplement. As an amino acid, lysine is one of the essential building blocks of protein. This is one of the nutrients that plays a pivotal role in proper growth and development. It also has an important part in producing carnitine, which is responsible for changing some of our fatty acids into energy and also helps lower cholesterol levels.

Lysine has other roles in the human body. It works together with other nutrients to form collagen. Collagen plays an important role in our connective tissues, our bones, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. Lysine also helps our body in its absorption of calcium.

Deficiencies of lysine in the diet can occur however they are very rare. It is usually seen in vegetarians who eat a macrobiotic diet. This may also be seen in some athletes who are exercising and may be overdoing it without eating properly. Other people who eat a diet that is very low in protein, legumes, beans, peas, and lentils, while high in cereals and other foods that are filled with sugars may tend to have a low lysine intake.

Symptoms of not getting enough lysine in the diet can include, fatigue, weakness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, no appetite, slow or stunted growth, and anemia. Lysine can be found as a food supplement and can be prescribed by a medical professional. The daily amounts of lysine that are recommended for children are 10mg per pound of body weight daily and for adults with herpes 3,000-9,000 mg per day in divided dosages.

Lysine has been shown to be beneficial in certain disease processes. It has been shown to treat successfully the cold sores from the herpes simplex virus as well as those by herpes zoster. Taking Lysine can significantly shorten the amount of time it takes to heal a cold sore that results from either of the herpes virus processes. Research has found that taking lysine can shorten the recovery time of this viral process and reduce the chances of recurrences as well. Lysine has been shown to improve the immune system in its ability to resist the herpes simplex and herpes zoster viruses.

Some research has shown that lysine may indeed help to stop the bone loss that can be caused by osteoporosis. Lysine helps the absorption of calcium by the body. Research has also shown that combining lysine with another amino acid may increase bone building activity and increase the production of collagen in women with osteoporosis. The increase in the production of collagen helps to make bones and connective tissue stronger and more pliable.

Some research has been done that shows when combining lysine with certain NSAID’s that this combination was much more successful in treating migraine headaches and cramping that are associated with premenstrual syndrome and with menstrual periods. Further research is needed to get definitive answers as to the actual process that occurs between the two compounds but researchers are excited about the possibilities that lysine has in helping to improve these problems.

Since there are potential side effects and possible interactions with other medications when taking lysine, this supplement should not be taken without consulting with a health professional first. A medical physician should do a consultation, history and physical as well as routine laboratory work to rule out disease processes before prescribing any type of medication or supplement for anyone.

Last updated on Jun 24th, 2009 and filed under Nutritional Information. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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