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Lysine is an essential amino acid and a building block for protein. Because our bodies cannot manufacture lysine, we need to consume it either from food or through supplementation. Lysine is associated with many different bodily functions.
- Lip Health
- Collagen Production
- Blood Sugar
- Cardiovascular Function
- Bone Density
- Adding Lysine to Diet
The amino acid arginine can encourage the flare-up of lip breakouts. Lysine can combat this effect of arginine. Applying an ointment containing lysine to the lips when lip symptoms first appear, can help minimise unsightly bumps. Furthermore, supplementing the diet with lysine may keep the balance between these two amino acids in check, supporting lip health. Sources of foods that are high in lysine and low in arginine are fish, meats, and dairy.
Collagen is responsible for building cartilage, bones, and connective tissue. Lysine helps in the formation of cartilage and collagen. Calcium and collagen work together to prevent bone loss. In a diet low in lysine, the formation of calcium and collagen slows. This is one reason why many people with lysine deficiencies have fragile bones.
Some studies suggest that lysine may support stress and related disorders. Based on research studies, it appears that lysine works by supporting optimum levels of the stress hormone cortisol and can be used either alone or in combination with the amino acid arginine. Lysine also shows potential to support digestive health affected by stress.
Some studies have indicated that lysine can support healthy blood glucose levels and the health of the body’s metabolism.
Lysine may support healthy LDL (Low Density Lipid transports) in the bloodstream. A diet rich in lysine may support cardiovascular health and blood pressure at healthy levels.
Calcium helps build strong bones, but a healthy amount of lysine can improve absorption and reduce the amount of calcium excreted during digestion, helping bones use calcium and other minerals more efficiently. This is particularly important for older women.
Adding Lysine to Diet
Many foods are particularly high in lysine like beef, fish, lamb, turkey, and chicken. Animal foods in general contain high amounts of all the essential amino acids, which make proteins. Vegetarians may struggle to acquire lysine in their diets however parmesan cheese and eggs can be good options. Tofu, roasted soybeans, and pumpkins seeds also contain lysine; the bioavailability is more than halved, however.
As we can see, lysine plays an important role in our overall health and wellbeing. It is important to provide our body with the support it needs by correcting any nutrient deficiencies so that we can enjoy the benefit of good health.