Facts and Food Sources of Lysine


Lysine is used in biosynthesis of proteins and contains an α-carboxylic acid group (deprotonated −COO− form under biological conditions), α-amino group (protonated −NH3+ form under biological conditions), and a side chain lysyl ((CH2)4NH2) which is classified as a basic, charged aliphatic amino acid. It is encoded by codons AAG and AAA. Similar to other amino acids, α-carbon is chiral and lysine which refers to either enantiomer or racemic mixture of both.

Lysine could not be synthesize by human body so it is essential in humans and should be obtained from diet. In organisms which synthesize lysine have two main biosynthetic pathways such as α-aminoadipate and diaminopimelate pathways which employ various enzymes and substrates and are found in various organisms. It is involved in modifications of histone and impacts epigenome. It is important in various biological processes, deficiency of lysine results several diseases including defective connective tissues, anemia, impaired fatty acid metabolism and systemic protein energy deficiency.

Firstly it was isolated by Ferdinand Heinrich Edmund Drechsel, a German biological chemist in 1889 from protein casein in milk. It is named lysine. Emil Fischer and Fritz Weigert in 1902 determined the chemical structure of lysine by synthesizing it.

Lysine is an essential amino acid that is mainly provided by meat products and is therefore limited in diets where wheat is the primary protein source. Lysine is also the first rate-limiting amino acid in milk-fed newborns for growth and protein synthesis. Lysine is catabolized to glutamate and acetyl-CoA and is also the precursor for the synthesis of carnitine, which is needed for mitochondrial oxidation of long-chain fatty acids. Diets deficient in lysine can impair growth in children and reduce immune function.

Foods that provide Lysine

Food name Weight (g) Lysine (g) DV%
Turkey 863 26 777%
Soybeans 186 5 149%
Tuna 146 3 89%
Winged beans 182 3 89%
Provolone cheese 132 3 89%
Lupins 180 3 89%
Mungo beans 207 3 89%
Swiss cheese 132 3 89%
Spirulina 112 3 89%
Rockfish 149 3 89%
Salmon 143 3 89%
Mackerel fish 146 3 89%
Kidney beans 184 3 89%
Kielbasa 370 3 89%
Adzuki beans 197 2 59%
Muenster cheese 132 2 59%
Duck 140 2 59%
Goose 140 2 59%
Navy beans 208 2 59%
Colby cheese 132 2 59%


Health Benefits of Lysine

Discussed below are some health benefits of Lysine:

  1. Cancer prevention

Researches have shown the effects of this compound on cancerous cells. Good amounts of this amino acid are associated to low chances of colorectal cancer. It assists body from preventing damaging effects of chemotherapy and promotes healing.

  1. Prevent anxiety

Lysine is an amino acid with an effect on hormone production assisting in regulating mood and lowers the levels of stress hormones and lowers symptoms of anxiety.

  1. Diabetic treatment

Research has shown that increase in amino acid levels helps to lower the presence of some negative compounds in the body. These compounds makes it challenging for pancreas regulating insulin or blood sugar levels so its inhibition eases symptoms of diabetes and improves quality of life.

  1. Treat herpes

This compound has beneficial effects associated to herpes virus. Research is being carried out on effectiveness of amino acid for treating outbreaks and lowering the re occurrence of the condition. The limitation of flare-ups, lysine supplementation is valuable indeed.

  1. Density of bones

Lysine aids absorption of calcium in the body. It improves density of bone mineral and prevent onset of osteoporosis but it promotes ability of the body uptake or to metabolize other essential minerals.

  1. Cure for acne

Variety of treatments is available in the market for skin disorders which include l-lysine. It is due to the compound that stimulates immune system and prevents infections or inflammation through antibodies production.

  1. Supports digestion

Research has shown that lysine could reduce inflammation in lining of gut preventing oxidative stress and reduce the chances of leaky gut syndrome.

What is the recommended dosage?

Doses from 1 to 3 g regularly are safe to prevent herpes simplex infections.

What happens with deficiency of Lysine?

It is crucial in the body so its deficiency shows signs and symptoms such as stunted growth, loss of appetite, stunted growth and slows healing rate. This amino acid has a role in development of muscles and production of hormones. One might experience off sleep cycle and change in moods.

Lysine Side Effects

Seek for emergency medical help if experienced signs of an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of your face, tongue, lips or throat. Diarrhea and stomach pain are the common side effects experienced.

Lysine Interactions

  • While taking lysine avoid taking high amounts of calcium as it might increase calcium absorption.
  • Drugs or prescription medicines such as vitamins, medicines and herbal products might interact with lysine.
  • It is advised to take lysine under the supervision of health practitioner.









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