Benefits of lysine

Published May 7, 2014

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What is lysine?

Lysine, also known as l‐lysine, is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of protein that’s necessary for good health. Our bodies cannot make lysine so it must be taken in through food or supplements. Lysine has a number of important benefits for the body including:

  • Supports proper growth.
  • Plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient that is responsible for converting fatty acids into energy1.
  • Aids the absorption of calcium and may therefore be beneficial for bone health.
  • Assists with the formation of collagen, a substance required for healthy bones, cartilage, tendons and skin1

In addition, lysine has been found to assist in the management of the herpes simplex virus, which is responsible for cold sore outbreaks.

Lysine and cold sores

Cold sores are an uncomfortable and sometimes embarrassing skin ailment caused by the herpes simplex virus 1. Around 90% of people have the herpes simplex virus but only 1/3 will experience cold sore outbreaks.2 Following an outbreak, the herpes virus remains dormant in the nerves of the face and may be reactivated by hormonal changes, stress, a cold or flu or sunlight exposure. This may lead to the development of small blisters on the lips or around the mouth, nose and chin, and be accompanied by pain and tenderness.2

A number of studies have found that supplementation with lysine helps reduce the frequency and severity of cold sore outbreaks. It may also help to relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of cold sores. Lysine is believed to work by blocking the activity of arginine, another amino acid that promotes the replication of the herpes virus.1

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