Lysine is classified as an amino acid that is essential which the body is unable to make on its own and therefore has to be obtained or acquired from other sources such as the diet and other supplements. This amino acid is also referred to as L-Lysine, and is crucial for a lot of the body’s biological functions and is considered a building block of protein. This is because amino acids such as lysine combine with various compounds to produce the said macros (protein).
Some of the Health Benefits of Lysine
Lysine is needed by the human body for proper functioning to maintain its overall health. This particular amino acid is important in aiding tissue growth and damage recovery of muscles. Some of the other general benefits of lysine include support for the immune system, production of hormones, antibodies, enzymes, promotion of collagen growth, and aid in the production of the body in the absorption of zinc, iron, and calcium.
For people who may have lysine deficiency, several signs and symptoms may occur which include reproductive system problems, anemia, growth that is inhibited, anorexia, hair loss, red eyes, nausea, irritability, a concentration that is poor, and fatigue.
The other benefits of Lysine are listed below:
- It can help in the treatment of diabetes- A study done on twelve test subjects showed that lysine can help in making the rise of the levels of blood sugar much slower after a meal. This observation means that lysine may be a great inclusion in the treatment of individuals suffering from diabetes. However, this will require further studies to be established.
- It can aid in lowering or managing blood pressure- Another small study showed that people with hypertension or high blood pressure can gain from taking some lysine supplements. However, similar to the possible diabetes benefits, further studies are needed to establish the benefit of lysine for blood pressure and hypertension.
- It can be used as a treatment for herpes– Lysine may also be able to aid the body in addressing the virus known as herpes. As such, supplements containing the said amino acid may lower the frequency and the number of outbreaks of cold sores which are primarily caused by the herpes simplex virus. In addition, lysine may be able to help in addressing herpes in the genital area. There are some experts who claim that infections caused by herpes may be addressed through the intake of lysine in the amount of 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams daily.
Possible Risks and Side Effects of Lysine?
Taking supplements containing lysine is generally safe for most individuals and should not result in any major adverse effects. However, there is evidence to suggest that an increased intake of lysine dosage such as ten to fifteen grams daily can lead to issues of the digestive tract. This can include digestive issues such as stomach cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
There are also some claims that link the intake of lysine supplements and problems with the kidney. There are some studies conducted on animals that show a direct correlation between the intake of supplements containing lysine and an increase in cholesterol levels and gallstone risk.
High Lysine Foods for Vegans
While it is true that animal-based food items are mostly the ones associated with increased protein and lysine levels, there are a number of plant-based food items that vegans and vegetarians can try out to obtain this amino acid. A lot of foods that contain increased amounts of lysine are also included in diets that are healthy and these also include food items rich in minerals, vitamins, and proteins.
Another thing to consider is an individual’s arginine intake since it has been observed that this amino acid can compete with lysine in terms of absorption. While arginine is important, those who want to up their lysine intake should try to limit their intake of arginine to feel the optimal level of benefits from lysine.
Below are some of the twenty (20) different foods and other supplements that are rich in lysine:
- Red and green peppers
- Dried Mangoes
- Macadamia nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Soy milk
- Black beans
- Navy beans
- Kidney beans
Other food items that may have some lysine content (although not as much as the above-listed food items) are seitan, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa.
Supplementation And Lysine’s Other Sources
To increase the lysine intake of individuals, people can turn to health stores that sell supplements containing lysine. These can also be purchased online or in other pharmacies that carry them. As with other supplements, it is best that the decision to start taking a supplement such as a lysine should be discussed with a healthcare professional. People can also choose to up their intake and absorption of lysine by choosing a lysine supplement that does not contain any arginine. In addition, those who want to observe a specific diet should also consider the ingredients found in their lysine supplement. This may entail looking for vegan supplements or other lysine products suited for different diet programs such as keto-friendly, gluten-free, kosher, free from soy, and free from grains. It will always be in the best interest of the individual to check the labels.
Another lysine source to look into is spirulina, a special kind of algae that is safe for consumption by humans.
Being vegan does not mean reduced lysine intake. There are ways to increase lysine intake while still observing a vegan diet. There are also supplements that can aid people with their health goals while sticking to a particular eating plan.