People take protein and amino acid supplements for all kinds of reasons. For some, these are part of their workout and fitness routines. Others take them for other health reasons. Of all the amino acid supplements, one of the most beneficial is certainly lysine. Lysine benefits are plentiful.
As we said above, lysine is an amino acid. To that end, it is part of the building blocks of proteins and other important features of the body. Lysine benefits go beyond simple protein boosts, though, and lysine benefits can extend to nearly the entire body.
For people who take supplements for health reasons, the benefits of lysine may well convince you that this should be part of your supplement routine. Lysine benefits are medically proven and as we will see, some of these benefits are extremely important to your health.
What is more, since lysine is a natural amino acid, one that is in a great many foods we already eat with regularity, lysine is largely safe with few side effects. Unlike many dietary supplements, there are few reasons why you should be concerned about taking a lysine supplement.
What is lysine? What are lysine benefits? Why do we need lysine? This guide will introduce you to the many benefits of lysine.
What is Lysine?
Lysine, or L-lysine, is what is known as an essential amino acid. This means it is essential for human health, and the body cannot make it on its own. You must get lysine from dietary sources or from a supplement.
As an amino acid, lysine plays a crucial role in the synthesis of proteins like muscle tissue. Lysine is also necessary for the formation of carnitine which helps convert fatty acids into energy and helps reduce cholesterol.
Lysine also helps the body absorb calcium. It is part of the processes that form collagen which is the substance that forms connective tissue, including skin, tendons, and cartilage.
Why do we Need Lysine?
Lysine is critical to our health. Since it plays such a crucial role in so many biochemical processes, there are immediate health effects if you do not get sufficient lysine either in your diet or from a supplement.
Lysine forms part of the basis of muscle synthesis. It is critical to bone health, and insufficient lysine can lead to osteoporosis or brittle bones. Lysine is also necessary to maintain some basic balance in our metabolism.
Lysine also plays an important antiviral role in the body. This antiviral property of lysine is one of the reasons it is often prescribed to help fight the herpes virus. But the antiviral function of the body extends to the body’s entire defense against viruses and it is one of the reasons lysine is a crucial part of the immune system.
Some of the health effects of insufficient lysine include:
- Loss of appetite
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slow growth
- Reproductive disorders
Health Benefits of Lysine
Since lysine is such an important building block for our health, it stands to reason that it has many great benefits. The reason people take lysine supplements is to obtain one or more of these great benefits. Some of the benefits of lysine include:
Lysine may play an important role in reducing stress and anxiety. Researchers have found that lysine blocks the receptors that are involved in the stress response. These studies found that lysine can reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Other studies found that taking even a small lysine supplement can reduce stress-induced anxiety and reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It turns out that something as simple as lysine-enriched wheat flour can also significantly reduce levels of stress-induced cortisol.
Prevents or Treats Cold Sores
Cold sores are also called fever blisters. They often appear in the corners of the mouth or on the lips, and they can be quite painful. Cold sores cause tingling, pain, and burning s they are filled with fluid that inflames the affected areas.
Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). This virus can hide in your spine. During times of stress, the virus can trigger a cold sore due to the weakened immune system that can result from stress.
Research has shown that a lysine supplement can help prevent cold sores and can decrease the duration of cold sores once they flare up. Lysine blocks another amino acid called arginine which the herpes simplex virus 1 requires in order to multiply.
Lysine supplements may help people with high blood pressure to lower their blood pressure. A 2017 study demonstrated that lysine supplements in adults with hypertension significantly lowered blood pressure levels. This research has shown that lysine supplements are more effective for lowering blood pressure than lysine from dietary sources alone.
Another study that involved 50 participants with high blood pressure revealed that lysine supplements reduced blood pressure levels in all participants. While researchers continue to study the effects of lysine on people with high blood pressure, early results show real promise for using lysine to help fight high blood pressure.
Lysine is known to help gut health and gut function. Lysine has anti-inflammatory properties and this helps regulate digestive health and the normal functions of the digestive system. It is thought that lysine helps reduce things like intestinal permeability which causes leaky gut. A leaky gut is a digestive problem in which food particles leak out of the intestinal system through the intestinal wall. This can cause serious health problems. Lysine helps maintain the integrity of the intestinal system and the walls of the intestines and thus reduces the possibility of leaky gut. The anti-inflammatory effects of lysine can reduce inflammation in the gut and thus lower the risk of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS.
Absorption of Calcium
One of the main roles of lysine in the body is to assist with the absorption of calcium. This reduces the amount of calcium in the urine. By helping your body absorb calcium with the help of a lysine supplement, you can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis which is the corrosion of bones that makes them brittle and subject to fractures.
Increased calcium absorption with the help of lysine is not just good for your bones. It also helps with:
- healthy weight
- cancer prevention
- PMS symptom reduction
- dental health
- nerve and muscle health
- the prevention of diabetes
Studies indicate that lysine may help with diabetes-related problems. One of the issues many diabetics live with is an increased risk of infections. This risk is due to the loss of what is called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs for short. Lysine may help repair some of the metabolic pathways that produce AGEs, and this can significantly decrease the risk of diabetes-related infections.
The fact that lysine helps with the absorption of calcium means it is also great for helping reduce anxiety. Lysine, in conjunction with things like B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, is known to help reduce anxiety.
Lysine can function like a serotonin receptor. This means lysine can bind with serotonin receptors and this cuts down on anxiety at the source.
Research shows that lysine supplements can significantly reduce anxiety, and they can even reduce physical symptoms of anxiety such as diarrhea. In countries where wheat containing lysine is a major dietary staple, the incidence of anxiety is vastly lower than in countries where people eat fewer wheat products.
Other potential health benefits of lysine:
Reduce the risk of cancer. Some preliminary studies have shown that lysine may shrink certain types of cancers. In particular, lysine combined with the antioxidant catechin reduced cancer growth in animal studies.
Eye health. Some studies on lysine for eye health found that lysine supplements can prevent the formation of cataracts. Again, these findings are still in the form of animal studies, but the results are promising.
Since lysine is a naturally occurring substance that is found in a great many foods, it is largely considered safe. However, excessive doses of lysine may lead to gallstones. There have also been some reports of liver function problems as a result of excessive lysine.
If you have existing liver or kidney problems, consult with your doctor before taking a lysine supplement.
Lysine does interact with certain medications
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications or supplements, you should not use lysine supplements without first talking to your doctor.
Arginine: Arginine and lysine share common pathways in the body. High levels of arginine may lower lysine levels in the body.
Aminoglycoside antibiotics (gentamicin, neomycin, streptomycin, etc.): Use with lysine may increase the risk of nephrotoxicity.
Top Lysine Foods
Some of the best dietary sources of lysine include:
- Beef, particularly skirt steak.
- Lean chicken breast
- Lean pork chops
- King crab
- Ricotta cheese
- Navy beans
- Green peas
Vegetarians and vegans tend to have a more difficult time getting enough lysine from dietary sources. Some foods that contain lysine that might be of interest to vegetarians and vegans include:
- Soybean sprouts
- Toaster wheat germ
- Squash and pumpkin seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Brussel sprouts
- Brown rice
For your specific lysine needs you should talk to a doctor about what you may need. Different health concerns may demand varying levels of lysine supplements. Since lysine is frequently prescribed for herpes simplex infections and the treatment of cold sores, the recommended dosage is often geared for this purpose.
Lysine at 312 mg to 4 g daily has been used to prevent or treat herpes simplex infections, with higher dosages reserved for breakouts. In addition to amounts consumed in the average American diet, L-lysine doses in this range appear to be safe for use in adults and children.
Best Lysine Supplements
Lysine supplements are commonly prescribed by physicians for many common problems. There is no shortage of lysine supplements. Obviously, you need to be careful about choosing a lysine supplement. As with all supplements, you need to make sure it does not contain any potentially harmful ingredients.
The best lysine supplement available is certainly Immune Defense from NF Sports.
Designed as a daily immune system booster(t), A healthy immune system is a key to overall health and well-being. More than ever before we are exposed to new viruses and other elements that play a huge role in negatively impacting our health. Designed as a daily immune system booster(t), Immune Defense combines the amino acid L-Lysine with Vitamin C and Zinc along with Vitamins B2 and B6 for optimal immune response.
The amino acid Lysine helps to play a role in immune function by limiting the spread of viruses at the cellular level resulting in lower viral loads(T) - This light, refreshing drink mix can be used daily as part of a supplement regimen to maintain overall immune health.
Wrapping this up
Lysine is a natural feature of most people’s diet even if they are not fully aware of it. It is in so many common foods that many of us get all the lysine we need even without thinking about it. But for many people, a lysine supplement may become necessary.
For people struggling with things like common cold sores, or people who are concerned about developing osteoporosis, a lysine supplement may be the thing that keeps them in good health, Even common issues like stress and anxiety can be treated with a lysine supplement. Still more, if you feel you need more lysine just for things like maintaining your health during a time of increased risk of illness, a lysine supplement can help.
There are plenty of lysine supplements available. With health and nutrition supplements available in just about any drugstore or major grocery store, you should have no problem finding a lysine supplement. If you want to make sure you are getting the best lysine supplement available, try Immune Defense from NF Sports.