Welcome to More Than Healthy as we continue to share our weekly health tips. Today we’re talking about Tip #93, the health benefits of the right amount of lysine. To watch our weekly Video Tip, click this link. To listen to the audio podcast, click on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
I first learned the importance of having enough lysine when I struggled with cold sores years ago. Someone suggested that I take lysine when I first started to feel them coming on, and they would go away without leaving big sores in my mouth. The first time I tried that, it worked like a charm. I was so grateful not to have to deal with that big, painful sore!
Since then, I have learned which foods to eat that provide my body with the right amount of lysine. I’m happy to say that I haven’t had a cold sore in over 10 years.
What is lysine?
Lysine is another of the 9 essential amino acids. This means that it’s important to our health, but our bodies can’t make it, so we need to get it from the foods we eat or from supplementation. We’ve already talked about amino acids and their role in building protein. (See our blog posts on tryptophan or leucine.)
In addition to building protein, lysine also plays a role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping lower cholesterol. Lysine also appears to help the body absorb calcium, and it plays an important role in collagen formation. Collagen is a substance that is important for bones and connective tissues, including skin, tendons, and cartilage.
Lysine and cold sores
As I’ve already shared, my personal favorite benefit of lysine is that it helps prevent painful cold sores. According to research, lysine helps prevent HSV-1, the herpes simples virus that causes cold sores, from replicating. It also helps block another amino acid, arginine, which viruses require in order to multiply.
Lysine and bone health
Lysine helps to protect your bones and may also play a part in controlling where calcium is transported in your body. If I have clients who are struggling with high blood pressure or osteoporosis, I’m always checking their hair analysis to see if they are low in lysine.
Studies have been done with individuals with osteoporosis that show when given 3 g of calcium alone, they had a progressive increase in calcium in their urine. Or, in other words, a loss of calcium through normal body processes. However, those who received 400 mg of lysine with the calcium lost less calcium through their urine.
This means that lysine helps your body hold on to calcium. Studies also show that it specifically helps calcium absorption in the gut.
Lysine and anxiety
Lysine may also help reduce anxiety. This is because it blocks receptors involved in stress responses. In a study of 50 people supplementing with 2.64 g of lysine and arginine, stress-induced anxiety was reduced after just one week. They were able to gauge this by measuring the stress hormone cortisol.
Similarly, another study found that adding 4.2 g of lysine to 2.2 lbs of wheat flour in villages in Syria helped reduce anxiety scores in males with very high-stress levels. After 3 months of consuming the lysine-enriched flour, the women’s cortisol levels were measurably decreased as well.
What are the signs of low lysine levels?
Most people get enough lysine in their diet. However, some groups are prone to low lysine levels, including athletes, burn patients, and vegans.
If you are low on lysine, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slow growth
- Reproductive disorders
How can I get more lysine in my diet?
You know that at More Than Healthy, we strongly advocate for getting our vitamins and nutrients through whole foods. So you’re probably thinking, what foods should I eat to get more lysine in my diet naturally? Some of the best sources of lysine include:
- Meat, specifically red meat
- Cheese, especially parmesan and ricotta
- Fish like cod, sardines, tuna, and king crab
- Fenugreek seeds
- Canned navy beans
We enjoy most of these foods, so it’s been fairly easy to get the right amount of lysine from the healthy foods we eat.
Perhaps you can’t tolerate some of the foods that are high in lysine. Or maybe you eat those foods, but your hair analysis says you are still low on lysine. If that’s the case, we recommend supplementing with Kion Aminos. This supplement provides a boost of lysine as well as each of the other eight essential amino acids.
Can hair analysis tell me if I’m low in lysine?
If you don’t know if you’re deficient in Lysine, then a great way to find out is with hair analysis testing, an amazingly informative service we offer at More Than Healthy.
With just a few strands of your hair, you receive a full report looking at toxins, nutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, electromagnetic frequency exposure, chemicals, radiation, parasites, immune factors, and foods you should avoid. A More Than Healthy Hair Analysis also includes a 15-minute consultation with Carla to review the results and recommend 3 or 4 things you can do to help improve your health.
Just go to our website to learn more. You can schedule a local hair analysis or order it online to be mailed to you today.
Lysine and your health journey
Do you have any questions about lysine, or any other health topic? Reach out to us on our social media pages (@morethanhealthyliving). We try to respond to all questions.
We’d love to become your health coaches as you work to become “more than healthy” and achieve optimal health. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next week.
Note: Remember, we’re not doctors. We’re sharing with you what’s worked for us on our health journey. You will want to consult your doctor before significantly changing your diet and supplementation.