Chances are you’ve heard that the benefits of taking L-lysine can help assist and strengthen your immune system. Although that may be true, studies suggest lysine, an essential amino acid, has more health benefits, than its immunomodulating effects. Lysine plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping lower cholesterol. Furthermore, lysine plays a role in the formation of collagen a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendons, and cartilage. We’re going to talk about how lysine works, the health benefits of taking l-lysine, and how this essential amino acid is vital for human health.
What Is L-Lysine
L-Lysine is an essential amino acid (EAA) that plays numerous biological functions necessary for human health. It is considered a dibasic amino acid alongside amino acids such as arginine, cysteine, and ornithine due to having a second basic group [R].
Lysine plays significant roles in the formation of collagen a structural protein, protein synthesis the muscle-building process, and producing carnitine an amino acid-like compound formed from lysine and methionine, that helps transport fatty acid chains across cells shuttled for fat oxidation and energy conversion.
1. May Protect Against Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)
Research suggests that a benefit of taking l-lysine prophylactically may help protect against and prevent outbreaks of herpes simplex virus (HSV) in the form of cold sores and genital herpes.
Cold sores and genital warts are symptoms of an infection that appear on the lips and genitals as fever blisters. Cold sores are caused by the HSV-1 or herpes simplex virus - 1. They appear under times of stress when your immune system is weakened.
Lysine contains antiviral effects increasing the level of arginase, and blocking the activity of arginine, which promotes HSV replication[R].
A review found that doses of lysine in excess of 3g daily may improve subjective symptoms of those with cold sores [R]. Subjective symptoms could be pain, tingling, or discomfort. Although placebo effects can be powerful, more research is needed to objectively determine whether lysine is in fact effective for the treatment of HSV.
2. May Improve Calcium Absorption
A health benefit of Lysine is that it is thought to increase calcium absorption and reduce the amount of calcium lost in the urine. Some amino acids, such as tryptophan, phenylalanine, and histidine are capable of increasing calcium absorption through the calcium-sensing receptor (CASR). Lysine has been found to have a pronounced effect on calcium absorption.
A study published in the journal Nutrition found that supplementing a low protein diet (0.7g/kg) with a large amount of the dibasic amino acids lysine and arginine was able to increase calcium absorption and elimination to a greater degree than a diet with mixed amino acids or the aforementioned three that act on CASR. The study found that adding 400mg of lysine to 3g calcium chloride in both healthy and osteoporotic women increased calcium absorption and decreased the rate of excretion [R].
3. Creates Collagen For Wound Healing
Lysine has been found to become more active at specific wound sites to improve the healing and repair process. It plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a structural protein that is present in ligaments, skin, cartilage, and joints.
Lysine has the ability to induce anti-inflammatory and strong immunity responses and has been shown to aid in the augment of wound healing (both acute and chronic) [R].
A randomized controlled trial used a combination of lysine and hyaluronic acid (lysine hyaluronate, Lysial) to assess its effects on skin ulcerations over a 15-day period.
50 hospitalized patients with decubitus ulcers were divided into three groups according to ulcer stage (stage 1: erythema and edema; stage 2: all-thickness skin destruction; stage 3: the destruction of subcutaneous tissue) and randomized to receive Lys-HA or sodium hyaluronate (SH).
Ulcer reduction was greater in all the lysine-hyaluronate groups than in SH groups. In stage 1 patients, 90% and 70% lesion size reductions were observed in the groups allocated to Lys-HA and SH, respectively (P<0.05). In stage 2 patients, 70% and 40% lesion size reductions were observed in the Lys-HA and SH groups, respectively (P<0.02). In stage 3 patients, 71% and 29% lesion size reductions were observed in the Lys-HA and SH groups [R].
Lysine Health Benefits: Takeaway
Lysine is involved in several crucial biological functions, vital to human health. As an essential amino acid, it must be obtained from food or dietary supplements, since the human body cannot produce it on its own. Lysine is important for the growth and creation of proteins, collagen, and in the formation of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping lower cholesterol. Adding a quality essential amino acid (EAA) supplement to your nutrition plan is an easy way to improve performance and overall health.
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