In our never ending battle of trying to eat as healthy as possible and keeping our bodies in optimum shape, L-lysine has probably popped up more than once, from store shelves, books, magazines and online articles. But what exactly is it and, more importantly, what are its benefits to the human body? Here is all you need to know.
What is L-lysine?
Introduced in the US as lysine hydrochloride in 1955, L-lysine is an essential amino acid, which means that our bodies need it and depend on it, but they cannot produce it naturally. Therefore, we must introduce it to the body through food or supplements. Normally, by just keeping a healthy and balanced diet, we manage to keep our L-lysine levels up and ensure our body’s proper functionality but, sometimes, vitamins and pills are in order. This happens especially when people have a certain lifestyle that doesn’t allow them to eat certain foods, like when they are vegetarians or fruitarians. However, in order to start taking pills, vitamins or supplements that contain L-lysine, you must consult with your doctor first.
In a more natural way, this particular amino acid is found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, avocados and nuts. If you can find a way of introducing one of these foods into your daily diet, you don’t need pills or anything else to aid you in absorbing Lysine.
What are the benefits of L-lysine?
L-lysine has so many benefits for the body that you might want to consider increasing your daily dosage. Here are some of them.
#1. Treating cold sores. A study has been performed by the Southern California University of Health Sciences, which shows that 40 per cent of the subjects who had cold sores and were treated with lysine were cured after 3 days and 87 per cent were cured after 6 days. This is an amazing rate and great news, mainly because L-lysine is natural. Treating bodily ailments with natural remedies is always better than using chemical solutions. You can purchase ointments, creams and balms high in lysine at your local pharmacy without needing a prescription or from shops that sell homemade bio creams.
#2. Reducing anxiety. One problem that probably all of us need help with, is anxiety and stress. Living in such a fast paced world, always being on the run and never having time for anything takes its toll on us on the long run. One of the easiest solutions to that is L-lysine, which has been proven to reduce anxiety levels in both humans and animals and to increase our serotonin levels. Serotonin is the chemical found in our brain, bowels and blood that regulates mood. Having low levels of serotonin leads to severe depression, which is why serotonin is also known as the source of happiness. So, if L-lysine helps increase serotonin levels, this actually means it can make you happier.
People have also been known to give lysine to their cats for these particular effects, in order to relieve them from anxiety. For this, they usually combine L-lysine with l-arginine and l-ornithine. You can purchase over-the-counter tablets that contain all three ingredients or different combinations of them.
#3. Preventing herpes. This is an affliction so common, that studies show around 1 billion people all over the world have it. It’s extremely easily transmittable, if one uses the same glass or cup as the infected person or via sexual intercourse if the herpes is of the genital kind. However, the truly bad news about herpes is that it’s not curable. This is why preventing it is so important. And it has recently been discovered that L-lysine is our ally when it comes to herpes prevention. It acts as an antiviral, by blocking the production of the Herpes Simplex Virus. Therefore, if one has a diet rich in lysine or if one takes lysine supplements, he or she, although not curing the disease, might be able to prevent genital herpes outbreaks or even the apparition of cold sores that usually accompany the herpes virus, as shown above.
#4. Relieving shingle. This particular affliction is an infection of a nerve and its surrounding skin surface, caused by a virus called varicella-zoster. It’s the same one responsible for chicken pox. Any person, be it adult or child who has had chicken pox, can also get shingles. It manifests itself like a rash alongside one of the spinal nerves, which is normally located on only one side of the body and which is very painful. This is where the L-lysine comes in because, although shingles is not a curable disease, its symptoms can very much be alleviated by using it. It will lower the pain and decrease the length of the disease itself.
#5. Helping with bone health. It is a common fact that, when it comes to strong bones, calcium is our friend. This is why all the doctors will recommend us diets rich in calcium foods, such as dairy products, fish and leafy greens. However, calcium intake in itself doesn’t help very much if the calcium is not absorbed by the bones. And in this process, our bodies need to be helped. One of the helpers is L-lysine, which increases calcium absorption and drastically decreases its excretion. A few studies have also shown how lysine helps the body rebuild bone, by aiding the bone and collagen cells. Bone health is also the reason why L-lysine is used in bodybuilding, especially for men.
#6. L lysine benefits for skin. Another great benefit L-lysine has is that it helps fight against acne. It cures zits, pimples and black heads and leaves the skin clean and mark free. Many users have reported that, after a treatment with lysine in the form of supplements taken every day, they noticed a huge improvement as far as skin health goes. Some have also reported that it helps in making wrinkles and fine lines disappear, as long as it’s taken on a daily basis, which only helps proving the case for benefits of lysine supplements.
#7. Fighting hair loss. And lastly, if helping us against cold sores, shingles and acne wasn’t enough as health benefits of lysine, the little wonder drug also combats hair loss. The main reason for that is the fact that collagen products are mainly based on the body’s access to four amino acids: lysine, methionine, glycine and proline. These are the same amino acids that produce keratin, the protein that protects skin cells from external factors such as stress, damage, cold or any other factor that might kill the cells. It represents the building blocks of the human’s skin outer layer. Therefore, if one of the main amino acids that produce keratin and collagen is lysine, its benefits for the human skin and hair are guaranteed.
Just like with anything that we introduce to our body via artificial ways, we can have too much or too little of the L-lysine amino acid.
If you have a very low level of L-lysine, you will feel somewhat like you were having the flu. This means that the symptoms will be nausea, vomiting, feeling tired all the time and dizzy for no apparent reason. In the same way, a dangerously low level of L-lysine may manifest itself through the inability of getting pregnant, if you are a woman. Whatever the case may be, if you experience any of these symptoms, you need to check with your doctor before starting an L-lysine treatment.
L-lysine can be taken in excess as well. This happens when you take too much of it, usually via supplements or other drugs and your body doesn’t have the ability or time to process it all. It manifests itself through nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramps in the abdominal region. The worst side effect of overdosing on L-lysine is developing gallstones, which you will then have to see a doctor about, in order to pass them. This is one of the top reasons why this amino acid should be introduced to the body through natural ways such as food, rather than through pills.
As far as dosage goes, it depends on the reason why you are taking it. However, on average, for a healthy adult, a normal dose is 12 mg/kg/day. This means that a 150 pound adult, the dose will be 800 mg daily. The dosage will be dramatically increased if you are taking it to cure a problem such as herpes, for example. In this case, it might go up to 2000 or even 3000 mg daily. L-lysine 1000 mg benefits, as an average, are usually the best way to go.
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The most important thing to remember is to always consult your physician before starting an L-lysine treatment and to understand that it will not cure your diseases, but rather ease them greatly, as well as the fact that it will aid your general well-being to a great extent. Also, the benefits of taking lysine are many, but it’s important to do some research before taking it.
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Clara was born and grew up in Great Britain, and although she’s now happier with the weather in North Carolina where she resides with her partner, she does miss the ubiquitous teacakes. She graduated from a master’s in literature and worked for about 5 years at local news magazines as a reporter.