Lysine , or "L-lysine" , is one of the 9 essential amino acids for humans (alongside valine, methionine, phenylalanine, leucine, etc.). In other words, our body is not able to manufacture it and we must provide it with food .
But what exactly is lysine? How does it act in our body? What are its health benefits and what foods are rich in it? These are the questions we will answer in this article!
What are the effects of lysine?
Lysine is concentrated in the muscles and plays a key role in many biological functions in the body. It is particularly involved in the formation of collagen (a structural protein present in many body tissues), bone growth , the production of antibodies and energy production.
When to take lysine?
Lysine in the form of a dietary supplement may be indicated in the following situations:
- Herpes labialis (cold sores);
- Genital herpes (in addition to medical treatment);
- Protect yourself from winter infections by boosting your immunity;
- Maintain healthy skin and hair;
- Strengthen your bones and prevent osteoporosis;
- Promote healing in the event of tissue damage;
- Improve your glycemic balance;
- Increase in physical performance.
What are the health benefits of lysine?
Lysine is involved in many body functions. Here are some of its multiple health benefits :
Tissue construction and repair
Lysine is an essential element for the construction and repair of different tissues in the body, because it is involved in the synthesis of collagen .
Collagen is a protein that enters the structure of many tissues in our body, including the dermis (middle layer of the skin), tendons , ligaments , bones , artery walls , cartilage ... It is this protein which gives these fabrics resistance and elasticity .
A regular and sufficient supply of lysine therefore makes it possible to preserve the health of the skin, the osteoarticular structures and all the connective tissues that make up our body.
Strengthening of immune defenses
Lysine is involved in the manufacture of various proteins , in particular those of antibodies .
Antibodies are proteins produced by certain immune cells called "B lymphocytes" whose role is (among other things) to neutralize viruses and bacteria.
By participating in the formation of antibodies , lysine optimizes our immune system to better defend us against various infections.
Lysine deficiency could lead to lower immunity and greater vulnerability to infections , especially during the winter season.
Fight against herpes
According to research, lysine may help reduce herpes symptoms through blocking the action of arginine , an acid necessary for the growth of the herpes virus.
Thus, in the event of the appearance of labial herpes , commonly known as a "cold sore" , taking a food supplement based on lysine , orally or locally, can calm the vesicular herpetic eruption and accelerate his healing .
It also appears that consuming enough lysine on a regular basis is able to reduce the frequency of herpes outbreaks and minimize their severity .
To learn more about the benefits of lysine on herpes, our article "Lysine to naturally treat herpes" dedicated to it.
Prevention of osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by fragility and porosity of the bones affecting in particular the elderly and postmenopausal women .
Its treatment is mainly based on the prescription of calcium and vitamin D supplementation as well as the adoption of a balanced diet and the maintenance of regular physical activity.
According to some studies, lysine may help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis through two main mechanisms:
- By increasing the intestinal absorption of calcium,
- By reducing the excretion of calcium in the kidneys.
In other words, lysine increases calcium levels in the body , which helps optimize the regeneration of bone tissue and maintain bone strength .
Taking a food supplement containing lysine would be particularly indicated in the elderly and women after menopause.
Improve hair health
Lysine promotes hair growth and slows hair loss by supporting collagen production and inhibiting the production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), a hormone responsible for accelerating the hair cycle.
To learn more about the benefits of lysine for hair, the article "Lysine: its benefits for hair health" is available here.
Other benefits of lysine
- Fight fatigue: the consumption of foods rich in lysine helps fight fatigue and improve mood.
- Produce energy: lysine is involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates which represent the first source of energy for our cells.
- Regulate blood sugar: lysine helps fight hyperglycaemia (excessive increase in blood sugar levels) after meals.
- Reduce anxiety: regular consumption of lysine helps reduce stress and cortisol levels in the body (stress hormone).
- Detoxification of the body: lysine contributes to the elimination of certain toxic elements, in particular lead and other heavy metals.
- Mood improvement: lysine is also said to have beneficial effects on depression and certain mood disorders.
As you will have understood, lysine is essential for the proper functioning of our body!
What foods are high in lysine?
As mentioned above, lysine is an essential amino acid that cannot be produced by our body. We must therefore provide it daily through food .
The recommended daily allowances (RDA) of lysine vary according to age, sex and build. They are around 40 mg/kg/day for a middle-aged adult and can be up to 103 mg/kg/day for a 7 month old infant .
Example: an adult weighing 70 kg should take about 2.8 g of lysine daily.
In order to meet these daily needs and avoid a nutritional deficiency , it is advisable to regularly consume foods rich in lysine such as:
NB: the values in parentheses represent the amount of lysine contained in a 100 g portion of each food (lysine content).
- Meats and eggs: beef (3.4 g), chicken (3.3 g), veal (3 g), turkey (2.7 g), eggs (1.2g).
- Fish: dried cod (5.8 g), dried smelt (3.7 g), salmon (2.5 g), tuna in olive oil (2.6 g).
- Dairy products: parmesan (3.8 g), gruyere (2.7 g), gouda (2.6 g), goat cheese (2.2 g), yoghurt (0.4 g).
- Legumes: lentils (1.9 g), split peas (1.8 g), kidney beans (1.7 g), chickpeas (1.3 g).
- Cereals: oats (0.7 g), quinoa (0.7 g), buckwheat (0.6 g), wild rice (0.6 g).
How to take lysine?
Lysine is usually taken orally in the form of capsules or capsules, but it can also be used topically on the skin or lips, to treat cold sores, for example.
According to experts, lysine is better absorbed by the digestive tract and is more effective when taken on an empty stomach with water .
What precautions should be taken when supplementing with lysine?
Here are some precautions to take to use lysine safely and get the most benefit from it:
- Avoid foods or supplements containing arginine (another amino acid) when taking lysine to treat herpes, as this may decrease its antiviral action.
- If you have liver disease, kidney disease, or are taking other medications, consult a healthcare practitioner before taking lysine.
- Do not exceed the recommended daily dose to avoid certain side effects such as diarrhea and stomach aches.
What are the side effects of lysine?
Pregnant or breastfeeding women, as well as people with liver (liver disease) or kidney problems, should refrain from taking lysine-based dietary supplements.
The recommended daily dose of lysine is between 500mg and 3g for an adult of average build, but 1g per day is estimated to be enough for most people.
In case of herpes , the dose of lysine prescribed can be up to 9 g per day (dose divided into several doses throughout the day).
In high doses, lysine can cause certain side effects such as nausea , diarrhea , and upset stomach .
Lysine is an essential amino acid that cannot be made by our body. It must therefore be provided by food.
Taking a dietary supplement based on lysine can help strengthen the immune system , repair and maintain the health of many body tissues such as skin , hair , bones , tendons , ligaments , etc. .
Lysine is also effective in treating and preventing herpes outbreaks.