Lysine: What is it? History, Benefits, Deficiency, Dosage, Interactions and Side Effects

It is one of the essential amino acids needed in your diet for good general health.

Lysine is a building block of many essential proteins that play an important role in building immunity to fight disease and increase appetite and digestion.

It also increases the absorption of calcium, develops muscle proteins and produces hormones, enzymes and antibodies.

Many people know that several amino acids are known as the “basic components of the protein” and are necessary for a large number of suitable internal functions, including growth.

Of the few hundred amino acids found in nature, 20 are necessary for the creation and growth of proteins, and only 10 of those 20 can be produced by the body.

The remaining 10 are known as “essential” amino acids because humans must consume them for proper health. Amino acid deficiencies cause the degradation of internal cells and can cause major problems, so it is important to consume enough in your diet.

Essential amino acids are more often stereoisomers, which means that they exist in two variations that are identical to each other as reflex images.

There are two forms, D and L, of these amino acids, and the L form is used in the synthesis of proteins and, therefore, in the form found in foods and supplements.

Because of this, most people simply refer to this nutrient as “Lysine” for short.

There are many incredible benefits of L-lysine, from its use as a common treatment for cold sores to a possible anti-anxiety supplement.

As with most nutrients available in supplement form, L-lysine can be taken orally, but is better absorbed in the body when consumed through food.

It is found in large quantities in various types of meat, beans, cheeses and eggs.

Specifically, L-lysine is very important in the creation of carnitine, which converts fatty acids into energy and also reduces cholesterol levels.

L-lysine also seems to play a role in calcium absorption and helps the body form collagen , which helps the growth and maintenance of bones and connective tissue (including the skin).

As a natural agent to fight disease, L-lysine benefits the human body in a variety of ways, many of which are only recently being researched.

Lysine History and Interesting Facts

L-lysine was first discovered by a scientist known only as Dreschel in 1889, who was able to isolate the amino acid from casein or milk protein. The exact structure of the molecule was recorded only three years later.

The investigation of L-lysine continued in 1928 when Vickery and Leavenworth prepared it in crystalline form, and then it was completed by Fischer and Weigert when it was completely synthesized.

This substance has appeared in some interesting places of pop culture as well. “Jurassic Park”, both the fictional film of 1993 and the 1990 book, cited the “contingency of Lysina” as a way to prevent dinosaurs from living outside the park.

This faulty scientific logic established that the geneticists who create these dinosaurs make the beasts incapable of producing Lysine to die without the supplements of their keepers.

Of course, L-lysine is an essential amino acid that is not produced in the body of any animal, but which is found in nature; Even so, it is an intelligent plot.

Benefits for Lysine Health

The same protein component that helps treat cold sores can also help fight cancer. It is not a myth; it’s just science, and that’s just one of the many benefits of L-lysine.

For years, people have been using L-lysine to treat the herpes virus and recover from workouts.

But, this amino acid is good for something more than these two things. The benefits of L-lysine are extensive and include everything from anxiety to diabetes.

This essential amino acid is found in foods and is also available in supplement form. Let me show you how essential it is and all the wonderful things that the benefits of L-lysine can do for your health.

1) Lysine helps treat Herpes:

Herpes simplex-1 (HSV-1) causes herpes (labial), fluid-filled blisters on and around the lips. It is very common among the general population, and you get it in contact with infected saliva.

Arginine, an amino acid produced by the body, promotes the replication of HSV-1. Lysine and arginine are antagonistic amino acids, which means that when Lysine is high, arginine decreases. Therefore, Lysine will help suppress the growth of HSV-1.

While research is inconsistent on the subject, most people who use L-lysine to treat cold sores qualify it as very effective.

Some studies support that L-lysine can help reduce the number of outbreaks of HSV someone has, while others say that outbreaks occur with the same frequency but last less.

Experts generally agree that L-lysine is unlikely to completely block outbreaks, but it may help to decrease its severity and / or frequency.

In a study of 30 participants, a cream with L-lysine, zinc and herbs cleared the symptoms of herpes in 40% of the participants on the third day and 87% on the sixth day. When herpes is not treated with Lysine, the outbreaks can last 21 days.

You can consume more fruits and vegetables to increase Lysine and less chocolate, nuts and gelatin, which are rich in arginine. Supplements can further increase the levels of Lysine in the body and relieve symptoms more quickly.

People with herpes should combine the consumption of medications and supplements with a positive change in behavior and habits. Stress activates viruses that are latent or asymptomatic in the body.

The way in which this nutrient can fight cold sores is not entirely clear, but one of those reasons may be the way it interacts with arginine, another amino acid that is produced in small amounts within the body.

It has been shown that arginine increases the replication rate of herpes virus cells, and the high amounts of L-lysine in the body decrease the activity of arginine because they work against each other.

Along with the HSV-1 virus that causes cold sores, L-lysine could help alleviate genital herpes caused by HSV-2 using this same mechanism, although research is still unclear.

2) Lysine helps to form collagen:

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. Builds cartilage, bones and connective tissues. Lysine helps in the formation and, at the same time, prevents the degradation of collagen.

Calcium collagen is the dynamic duo that prevents bone loss. When it lacks Lysine, the formation of calcium and collagen slows down. This can lead to weak bones and is one of the main reasons why people suffering from Lysine deficiency have brittle bones.

3) Lysine reduces anxiety:

In addition to eating foods high in B vitamins, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids, you can also try increasing your L-lysine intake to minimize anxiety.

Because L-lysine can help your body absorb calcium, which is another nutrient beneficial for those who suffer from anxiety, this can be one of the main ways it helps treat anxiety.

In addition to helping it absorb calcium more efficiently, L-lysine behaves like a serotonin receptor antagonist. That is a true phrase that means that it binds partially to the serotonin receptors to partially prevent the anxiety responses.

This research, in particular, found that L-lysine helps reduce anxiety responses induced by stress, including diarrhea.

Lysine can also block serotonin (the “happy” hormone) receptors (specifically 5-HT4) and partially prevent anxiety, such as diarrhea.

This finding is especially crucial in developing countries, where diets are grain-based and Lysine-deficient.

People in these regions should try to eat more foods high in Lysine, as well as vitamin B, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids to reduce stress-induced anxiety and diarrhea.

In addition, in schizophrenia , severe symptoms similar to anxiety can be reduced by supplementing Lysine in addition to conventional therapy, although the safety of a higher dose and longer treatment periods has not yet been studied.

The anxiety problems in our culture are real and can get worse day by day if they are not treated with a holistic approach.

It is possible that L-lysine also benefits those with schizophrenia, which manifests itself in extremely serious symptoms often related to anxiety.

Preliminary findings suggest that supplementation with L-lysine in conjunction with conventional therapy may help decrease the negative and general symptoms of schizophrenia, although long-term doses and effects have not yet been determined.

4) Lysine reduces the complications of diabetes:

One of the most difficult things that patients with diabetes experience is an increased risk of infection and other conditions related to diabetes.

In recent years, much attention has been paid in this context to the large presence of advanced glycation end products, known as AGEs for short.

These AGEs are part of the aging process in the body of all people, but they are in very high concentrations in diabetic patients.

They are involved in many health conditions related to diabetes, which leads scientists to study therapies that prevent AGEs from accumulating in large quantities.

In diabetic patients, high blood sugar can damage proteins or lipids by binding glucose molecules (glycation) and produce advanced glycation end products. AGEs can cause complications such as damage to the eyes and nerve cells.

Lysine prevented the glycation (addition of glucose) of blood proteins in the blood taken from 50 patients with type 2 diabetes.

In a cell-based study, Lysine prevented fibrinogen glycation from improving its function.

It seems that one of the benefits of L-lysine for diabetics may be to prohibit the formation of AGE in people with diabetes by avoiding specific routes of glycation that lead to these products, which helps to avoid infection.

Therefore, the addition of L-lysine benefits those who follow a diabetic diet plan if Lysine foods are included.

5) Lysine increases insulin secretion and lowers blood glucose:

Lysine can also act on insulin and glucagon. In one study, Lysine decreased fasting blood glucose levels and increased insulin and glucagon concentrations in thirteen healthy subjects.

Lysine can increase insulin secretion in the first phase (of the first signs of type 2 diabetes ), since the intake of the Lysine and glucose mixture produced more insulin than the intake of glucose alone.

6) Lysine reduces inflammation of the pancreas:

In an animal study, L-lysine before and after treatment reduced pancreatic lesions by suppressing inflammation and increasing antioxidant activity. However, it is more effective as a method of prevention than a therapeutic agent.

7) Lysine improves heart function:

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol builds up on the walls of the arteries, hardening and narrowing them, which is called atherosclerosis . The blood flow to the heart muscle slows or blocks, which increases the risk of heart attack .

Lysine produces body carnitine, which helps to use fatty acids and LDL cholesterol.

When taken in combination with vitamin C, Lysine can help reduce lipoprotein-a levels (LPA), LPA carries LDL in the blood. The higher the level of APL, the more pests will accumulate, clogging the arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease, stroke and erectile dysfunction.

8) Lysine increases bone strength:

In one study, 15 healthy women and 15 osteoporotic women were subjected to an acute calcium load, and half of them received Lysine supplements. Another group of 45 osteoporotic patients underwent Lysine, valine or tryptophan.

Compared to groups without Lysine supplementation, the Lysine group absorbed more and excreted less calcium through the urine.

Therefore, Lysine can be used in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis .

The consumption of L-lysine is associated with a better absorption of calcium, which leads some to believe that it can help people with or at risk of osteoporosis.

To date, there have been no studies on the link between L-lysine and osteoporosis, but because of the important role that calcium plays in bone health, logic suggests that it could be a beneficial nutrient to complement those with bones. fragile

In fact, calcium is good for more than just your bones. The consumption of adequate amounts of calcium is related to healthy weight, prevention of cancer, reduction of symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, dental health, nervous and muscular health and prevention of diabetes.

Athletes often take L-lysine as a protein supplement to improve performance. This may also be related to how L-lysine causes your body to absorb calcium.

9) Lysine promotes the growth of children:

Growth hormone is stimulated by both lysine and arginine. The nutritional lack of Lysine in children can hinder physical and intellectual growth. As such, it is paramount to give children enough Lysine for their growth, either through food or supplements.

10) It can help in the treatment of cancer:

One reason why many scientists seek natural treatments for cancer has to do with the way conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, negatively affect healthy cells along with the sick.

Surprisingly, there have been great advances recently in this area, as researchers discover more and more ways in which the nutrients found in our food and in nature can do what we want: to attack the malignant cells without killing the good ones.

In 2007, scientists at Florida State University studied the effects of “Lysine conjugates” on damaged DNA strands, such as those found in cancer.

Basically, this substance can locate a damaged filament by identifying “excision” in it (a damaged spot) and causing the rest of the filament to also break (tear).

The cell usually can not repair this damage, leading to apoptosis, the suicidal death of the cells. The most fascinating thing about the potential of this treatment is how it works together with specific types of light.

The ability to kill cancer from Lysine conjugates is only activated when exposed to particular types of light, allowing researchers and possibly doctors to inject or place the treatment in the most concentrated location of cancer cells and activate them in their most potentially effective places.

The scientists who conducted the study found results ranging from 25 percent to 90 percent of the cancer cells destroyed, which is amazing! A Lysine oxidase was tested against cases of colorectal cancer in mice in 2014.

In this study, the injection of Lysine oxidase was associated with zero deaths and reduced solid tumors in significant amounts, which means that it may be a promising way of treating colorectal cancer in the future.

Cancers related to the bone marrow, such as leukemia, may also play their part in L-lysine, according to a preliminary investigation.

In one study, injection of L-lysine helped prevent genotoxicity (DNA and RNA damage) in cells exposed to a carcinogenic substance.

11) Support the Intestine:

An extremely common problem that millions of people have, many of which are not even aware of, is leaky gut syndrome.

This condition is the penetration of your digestive tract lining, which allows larger particles than those intended to leave your digestive system and in the rest of your body.

This causes allergic reactions, low energy, joint pain, autoimmune diseases and thyroid disease.

Recently it was discovered that a form of L-lysine known as poly-L-lysine has anti-inflammatory effects on the lining of the intestine, which hopefully leads to a more extensive investigation on how this amino acid can help improve the health of this lining and possibly prevent leaky gut.

Although not necessarily directly related to leaky gut syndrome, it has also been found that L-lysine suppresses pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, another important part of the digestive system.

12) Best Vitamin Supplement for Acne:

So, how does Lysine actually help prevent and treat imperfections, pimples and other skin problems associated with acne? For starters, Lysine helps the creation of carnitine, which is important in converting the body’s fatty acids into energy and in the absorption of calcium.

It also helps the body in the production of collagen, which is crucial for the health and appearance of the skin. Due to the increased production of collagen associated with Lysine, the skin can also better repair its tissue as needed.

This can help with the removal of existing acne imperfections, in addition to preventing new imperfections and imperfections of the skin in the future.

As an extra bonus for the skin, the improved levels of collagen associated with lysine can help prevent the first signs of aging, such as:

  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Dark spots.

Additional benefits of L-lysine

There are innumerable additional benefits of introducing adequate amounts of lysine in your diet.

In addition, bone marrow cancers such as leukemia can also be treated more successfully with lysine injections.

Psychologically, it is believed that lysine powder also offers benefits. For example, those with anxiety may find some relief by incorporating lysine in their diets.

This is because lysine can help the body absorb excess calcium, which can otherwise cause anxiety symptoms.

It can also help to “block” the serotonin receptors in the body, which can help prevent the body’s natural anxiety responses.

In general, lysine is an important amino acid that unfortunately the body can not produce on its own.

The good news is that there are lysine supplement products (in addition to foods with a high lysine content) that can be used to make sure you get enough of this beneficial amino acid in your diet.

If you suffer from acne or other skin conditions, it is worth talking to your doctor about how a lysine supplement could help you achieve clearer skin without the potential risks and side effects that often accompany medications and other treatments.

As an added bonus, you could also start to reap a number of other health benefits!

Symptoms of Lysine Deficiency

  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Hyper-stimulated, lack of focus.
  • Fatigue.
  • Agitation, change of mood.
  • Eyes injected in blood.
  • Kidney stones
  • Anemia.
  • Stunted growth.
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Reproductive disorders

Requirements and Lysine Dosage

  • Babies (3-4 months of age) : 103 mg / kg per day.
  • Young children (2 years old): 64 mg / kg per day.
  • School-age children: 58 mg / kg per day.
  • Adults: 30-35 mg / kg per day.

The intake of Lysine in a typical Western diet is 40-180 mg / kg per day, with an upper limit of 300-400 mg / kg per day.

Typically, the recommended intake of Lysine is only 1,000 mg per day. However, the daily dose of up to 3 grams is safe for therapeutic purposes when taken in three separate doses.

Some patients may require chronic use at higher doses. For example, patients with herpes can take up to 9 grams per day during an outbreak.

Lysine has a somewhat unpleasant taste (salty), and consumers are suggested to add a little bit of flavoring of amino acids in the mixture for a better taste.

Ways to Incorporate more Lysine

Supplements can be extremely beneficial in cases where you know you can not meet your daily value recommendations for specific nutrients.

The average person (around 150 pounds) should receive between 800 and 3000 milligrams of L-lysine in their diet every day. Dosage recommendations to treat herpes outbreaks are suggested of one to three grams daily of an additional L-lysine supplement.

Lysine is also available as a cream, often used to apply to cold sores.

When eating foods rich in Lysine, remember that conventional preparation methods can decrease the nutritional value of Lysine.

These include methods such as reducing with a sugar-based substance, heating foods in the presence of yeast or sucrose and cooking in the absence of moisture.

1) Eat foods rich in Lysine:

It is crucial to get enough Lysine through our diet since we can not produce it in our body. Diets in developing countries contain 70 to 80% of grains and, therefore, Lysine becomes the limiting amino acid.

Adding foods that are higher in Lysine, such as legumes and products of animal origin, should help with this limitation.

Foods that contain Lysine include:

  • Lean meat and lamb – 3582 mg / 100g.
  • Parmesan cheese – 3306 mg / 100g.
  • Poultry (turkey, chicken) – 3110 mg / 100g.
  • Cerdo – 2757 mg/100g.
  • Soybeans and products (tofu, protein powder, flour) – 2634 mg / 100g.
  • Atún – 2590 mg/100g.
  • Camarones – 2172 mg /100g.
  • Pumpkin seeds – 1386 mg / 100g.
  • Huevos – 912 mg/100g.
  • White beans – 668 mg / 100g.
  • Other fish (cod, sardine) and seafood.
  • Nuts, seeds, eggs, beans and lentils.
  • Spirulina and fenugreek seeds.

While these are all rich in Lysine, I caution you to avoid pork, soy and shrimp as much as possible, since these foods are often contaminated with toxins.

As for meat, cheese and eggs, always make sure to consume grass, field and organic whenever possible.

2) Take supplements (tablets, capsules, liquids):

You should be able to get enough Lysine through the diets.

Although Lysine supplements are over-the-counter, they should only be taken during herpes outbreaks, not on a regular basis. Kidney problems have been reported for long-term use, and high doses can cause abdominal pain and diarrhea.

3) Apply L-Lysine cream:

Lysine is also available in ointment form as a treatment for cold sores and skin lesions.

You should not use different Lysine formulations (tablets, liquids, others) simultaneously unless otherwise indicated. Doing so may increase the risk of overdose.

Interactions, Side Effects and Possible Adverse Effects of Lysine Supplements

Supplements come with several side effects and affect everyone differently.

1) Lysine can increase blood clots during pregnancy and lactation:

Some data show that Lysine, in combination with vitamins and iron supplements, can increase hemoglobin levels in pregnant women, compared with control.

More hemoglobin leads to excessive amounts of red blood cells. The blood thickens and can form clots in the bloodstream. Therefore, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are advised to consult doctors before taking the supplement.

2) Lysine and Calcium:

Lysine increases the assimilation of calcium, so you should be careful taking large amounts of calcium simultaneously. The hypercalcemia , or excess calcium can cause side effects such as excessive thirst, urination, pain, nausea and constipation.

Hypercalcemia increases the risk of heart disease, such as atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries), hypertension (high blood pressure).

3) Lysine and Arginine:

Since Lysine and Arginine are antagonistic molecules that compete for the same transporter molecules, taking Lysine and Arginine supplements together can cancel out their benefits.

While high doses of Lysine can reduce arginine levels in the body to relieve herpes outbreaks, arginine remains an important amino acid that must remain above a certain level. If you take excessive Lysine, you can reduce arginine levels.

4) Lysine and Gallstones:

Taking too much Lysine may increase cholesterol levels and cause gallstones.

5) Lysine functions in the liver and kidney:

Excess Lysine can be excreted in the urine. Kidney problems can interfere with this ability and cause Lysine to accumulate in the blood.

In an extreme case, a 44-year-old woman developed Fanconi syndrome and tubulointerstitial nephritis after taking an excessive amount of Lysine for a period of five years.

Consult your doctor before using Lysine if you have a history of high cholesterol, gallstones and kidney or liver disease.

6) Lysine and aminoglycoside antibiotics:

A study in animals investigated the mechanism of Lysine. Both Lysine and aminoglycoside antibiotics bind to so-called brush-edge membrane vesicles.

When fewer drug molecules can bind to these vesicles, they can not be transported through the intestine for absorption and digestion. They become less effective and more toxic.

Medications in this group include gentamicin, neomycin , streptomycin, amikacin , tobramycin , kanamycin and netilmicin.

7) Lysine and gastrointestinal problems:

It can be recommended for patients with severe herpes outbreaks who take Lysine in high doses (> 9 grams) but should take into account gastrointestinal disorders, which include, among others, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

If you are taking gastrointestinal medications such as prucalopride or tegaserod, you should take special precaution. These drugs bind and activate 5-HT4 receptors. On the other hand, Lysine binds to 5-HT4 to block the responses and render such drugs ineffective.

8) Lysine is contraindicated in hyperleinemia and hyperillusuria:

People with hyperlysinemia have abnormal levels of lysine in the blood, while hyperillinuria is an excess of lysine in the urine. The genetic causes of hyperilisuria are still unknown.

Possible side effects and precautions

It is known that L-lysine supplements cause some minor side effects, although the consumption of foods rich in Lysine has not been shown to have the same effect. These side effects include stomach pain and diarrhea.

There has also been a report of kidney disease related to Lysine supplements, so patients with kidney and liver failure should exercise caution and consult with their health care providers before beginning to take Lysine supplements.

Because their effects on pregnant mothers have not been thoroughly investigated, pregnant and / or nursing women should avoid taking L-lysine supplements.

While L-lysine benefits people with a large number of diseases, there is evidence that it can increase the viral load of patients with HIV.

For this reason, people diagnosed with HIV / AIDS should not take L-lysine supplements and consume lysine-rich foods only (which probably will not produce the same results).

On the positive side, scientists who discovered this phenomenon can now use this to accelerate testing of anti-HIV treatments.

Final Reflections on the Benefits of L-lysine

L-lysine is the L-form of Lysine, which is the form absorbed by the body to build proteins.

This essential amino acid can not be produced by the human body and must be consumed in the form of food and / or supplement. It is also found in the form of a topical cream.

The most commonly practiced use of L-lysine is in the treatment of herpes simplex virus.

L-lysine has several mechanisms and variations through which it can fight cancer, reducing tumor size and causing cell death in cancer cells without harming nearby healthy cells.

Other benefits of L-lysine include increasing calcium absorption, reducing diseases related to diabetes and improving intestinal health.

Eating foods rich in Lysine is the most effective way to absorb this nutrient and get those benefits of L-lysine.

The average person needs between 800 and 3,000 milligrams of L-lysine per day.