The amino acid lysine is required in the diet, and is therefore considered to be an essential amino acid as it is not synthesized in the body. The amino acid lysine is essential for proper growth and bone development in children. Another major role of lysine is to aid the body in the absorption of the mineral calcium, it is essential in helping maintain a proper balance of nitrogen in adults. Lysine also plays a role as a biochemical aids in the production of antibodies and hormones in the body. It is also essential in the synthesis of enzymes and aids in the process of collagen formation as well as tissue repair in the body. Muscle protein synthesis requires lysine as a component, supplemental lysine is therefore considered good for those who are recovering from any kind of major surgery and tissue damage sustained in sports injuries - it aids in tissue reconstruction. Lysine also reduces high serum triglyceride levels in the body of a person.
The ability of this vital amino acid to fight off cold sores and viruses such as herpes viruses are also considered to be added benefits of the amino acid. The use of supplemental L-lysine combined with supplements of the vitamin C and the plant based natural compounds called bioflavonoids, enables the molecule to effectively fight or prevent the outbreak of herpes. This action is faster particularly when food sources that contain abundant amounts of the amino acid arginine are avoided in the diet.
The pathway and mechanism for natural synthesis of the amino acid, lysine does not exists in the body and the compound is hence considered to be an essential amino acid - it must be available in the general diet of every person. Sufficient amounts of the amino acid must therefore be included in the diet. A deficiency of lysine in the body can induce disorders like anemia, the presence of bloodshot eyes, many types of enzyme disorders, sudden hair loss, and even an inability to concentrate, symptoms such as irritability, persistent lack of energy, problems like poor appetite and all types of reproductive disorders, as well as dizziness, retarded growth and weight loss. Lysine is found abundantly in different food sources such as cheese and eggs, all meats and fish, lima beans, milk and dairy products, potatoes, all soy products and brewer's yeast, different legumes, in wheat germ. Lysine is found in abundant amounts in all food sources rich in proteins.
The efficient utilization of fatty acids necessary for the production of energy in the body is also mediated by lysine. Lysine is also believed to be beneficial for treating women affected by the symptoms of menopause - especially, those who are at risk of being affected by osteoporosis due to calcium loss from the bones. The use of calcium in the body is much more effective in the presence of lysine. Lysine may also be possibly beneficial in resolving most fertility related disorders in people. It is also thought, that lysine improves mental concentration and benefits the functioning of the brain. Lysine is also good for patients suffering from chest pain - angina, according to the results of some studies in which the test patients were given six grams of lysine every day - most of the patients started to improve to the point that they could stop using the sublingual nitroglycerin tablets - applied under the tongue - within four weeks of supplementation. All these patients were also able to increase the intensity and duration of their exercises; this permitted them to promote the health of the heart and enabled it to heal rapidly. High serum triglyceride levels and high blood pressure were also lowered in most patients over time as supplementation continued.
Supplements of lysine are also considered an aid to beauty and it is said to keeps skin healthy and young as well as vibrant. Lysine is beneficial to the skin by encouraging the formation of collagen, which is the underlying tissue that supports the outer surface layer of the skin. As such, the presence of lysine in the body is essential for the prevention of wrinkles and sagging of skin - it is also essential in tissue repair and restoration.
As the foods consumed by most people contains sufficient lysine, the majority of individuals, vegetarians and vegans -vegetarians who also avoid dairy and eggs included, tend to consume sufficient amounts of lysine in their diet. Thus a deficiency of lysine is rare in most people. An increased demand for amino acids of all types is often evident in athletes who are frequently involved with vigorous physical exercise - even normal diets are sufficient to see athletes through the increased demand for amino acids. A special category is burn victims, who may require more of all the essential amino acids in their daily diets. The requirement for lysine in the body of burn victims, for example exceeds the lysine made available in the average diet.
Supplements of lysine are not required by the majority of people. However, supplements of lysine are required by certain people, and some nutritionally oriented doctors recommend people affected by recurrent bouts of the herpes simplex infections supplement using 1,000 - 3,000 mg of lysine every day till the infection disappears.
Side effects and cautions
High doses of lysine have also been related to an increased risk of forming gallstones and incidences of elevated cholesterol levels in animals in clinical trials. Consistent reports of such problems have not been detected in humans given supplemental doses under laboratory conditions. Slight symptoms such as sudden abdominal cramps and mild to severe transient diarrhea have on occasion affected a few individuals when the lysine supplements were used at very high dosages - from 15 to 40 grams per day of supplemental treatment.
A doctor or a natural therapeutic healer must always be consulted before any lysine supplementation regimen is started in people affected by heart conditions of any kind.