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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is Lysine and its benefit ?

[Extracted from the webpage of]


Lysine is one of 20 most common natural amino acids that the body needs for growth and tissue repair. Lysine is an essential amino acid because it cannot be synthesized in the body and its breakdown is irreversible. Lysine is the limiting amino acid in all cereal grains, but is plentiful in all pulses. A deficiency in lysine can result in a deficiency in niacin (which is a B Vitamin). This can cause the disease pellagra. In the tissues, lysine readily converts its epsilon carbon then to carbon dioxide, helping to form glutamic acid. It can also be converted to carnitine in the body. A unique property that lysine has is that it does not change its nitrogen with other circulating amino acids. Like all amino acids, lysine functions as a building block for proteins. It's also a key player in the production of various enzymes, hormones, and disease-fighting antibodies. Lysine is involved in the browning reaction, or carmelization, in foods such as pastries, doughnuts, cookies and cereals. Lysine is dependent upon riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6 for its assimilation. Using iron and vitamin C, lysine helps form collagen.

Lysine functions, uses, and health benefits

Lysine has many functions in the body because it is incorporated into many proteins, each of which is used by the body for a variety of purposes. It is an essential building block for all protein, and is needed for proper growth and bone development in children.
Lysine helps the body absorb and conserve calcium and it plays an important role in the formation of collagen, a substance important for bones and connective tissues including skin, tendon, and cartilage. When vitamin C is combined with lysine, the formation of collagen is enhanced. Collagen is important to the formation of bone and tissue along with its repair. Because it helps to build muscle protein and repair tissues, lysine is especially important for those recovering from surgery or sports-related injuries.

The most promising application of lysine is its use in managing and preventing painful and unsightly herpes sores caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Lysine interferes with replication of herpes viruses and is therefore often prescribed by doctors to people with cold sores or genital herpes. Lysine supplements (as opposed to foods high in this nutrient) can also play an important role in staving off and reducing the severity of herpes-related cold sores. L-lysine can be used to treat mouth and genital lesions caused by herpes simplex virus as well as shingles caused by herpes zoster viruses. Lysine, when combine with arginine can stimulate release of human growth hormone. Growth hormone boosts metabolic funcition, increasing the rate at which fat is burnt for energy. Growth hormone also has an anabolic effect, promoting protein formation and tissue growth. pain following an episiotomy. These forms of lysine may also relieve migraine headaches and painful periods.

Dietary sources of lysine

Good sources of lysine are foods rich in protein including meat (specifically red meat, pork, and poultry), cheese (particularly parmesan), certain fish (such as cod and sardines), nuts, eggs, soybeans (particularly tofu, isolated soy protein, and defatted soybean flour), spirulina, and fenugreek seed. The soy-based products are especially beneficial to vegetarians, who may find it difficult to enrich their diets with lysine. Vegetables, on the other hand, are generally a poor source of lysine, with the exception of legumes (beans, peas, lentils). Lysine is also available as L-lysine acetylsalicylate (LAS), Lysine clonixinate (LC), and L-lysine monohydrochlorine (LMH). Foods (like gelatin, chocolate, carob, coconut, oats, wholewheat and white flour, peanuts, soybean) contain a high arginine to lysine ratio and should be avoided during a herpes eruption.

Lysine dosage, intake

As with all supplements and medications, it is necessary to consult your doctor for proper dosage. Most people do not require lysine supplementation. Adults may need up to 30 mg per kilogram of body weight per day. Typical dosage used for possible prevention of herpes simplex virus recurrence is 500 mg to 3 grams daily. The average dose is 1 gram daily. Higher doses are split throughout the day. Of all the amino acids, lysine is the most sensitive to the effects of food processing, such as dry heat. The amount of protein available in legumes and other sources of lysine can be significantly reduced if they have been toasted or roasted.

Lysine deficiency

Lysine deficiencies occur more often in people who do not consume any animal products than in those who do. A lysine deficiency can occur either by an inadequate dietary intake or by an excessive arginine intake. Lysine deficiency can interfere with carnitine synthesis and have adverse impact upon fat metabolism to energy. A lysine deficiency may also lead to calcium loss, which could increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. Symptoms of lysine deficiency include fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, agitation, bloodshot eyes, slow growth, anemia, and reproductive disorders.

Toxicity, side effects, interactions, and contraindications

Lysine supplements are considered safe and nontoxic. Side effects have not been reported with the use of lysine, although very high doses (more than 10 grams a day) may cause gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal cramps and diarrhea. Lysine must be used with care in supplement form when taking antibiotics. In very large doses (10 to 30 grams a day), lysine increases the toxicity of aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as gentamicin, neomycin, and streptomycin. Don't drink milk at the same time you take lysine.

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