Lysine is one of the essential amino acids that cannot be manufactured by the human body, but must be acquired from food sources. The best food sources for Lysine are lean meats, fish, potatoes and milk.
In the early 1980’s lysine became well known for its ability to fight the Herpes Simplex-1 virus, mouth blisters and cold sores. Since then it has been shown to have broader immune enhancing effects. Some studies have shown it effective in relieving genital herpes. High doses of Lysine stop viral growth and reproduction, and aids in the production of antibodies, hormones and enzymes.
In children lysine is needed for proper growth and bone development. Its aids calcium absorption and maintains nitrogen balance in adults. It is also instrumental in the formation of collagen, which is the basic matrix of the connective tissues, skin, cartilage and bone. According to Linus Pauling, lysine may also help reduce angina pectoris, chest pain caused by insufficient oxygen in the heart muscle. Pauling recommends 5 grams divided throughout the day for this condition. Lysine aids in collagen formation, in the repair of tissue, and helps to build muscle protein, all of which are important for recovery from surgery and injuries. It also lowers high serum triglycerides.
Lysine supplements stimulate the liver to produce higher levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Lysine deficiencies can result in lowered immune function, loss of energy, bloodshot eyes, irritability, hair loss, retarded growth, and reproductive disorders, increases urinary excretion of calcium, and increases the risk of kidney stones in susceptible people. Lysine has no known toxicity.