Many common ailments can be traced back to a lysine deficiency. Believe it or not, adding more of this one nutrient to your diet can make a world of difference. If your health has seen better days, lysine might just be the solution you’re looking for.
Lysine is an essential amino acid. This means your body needs it to survive, but it can’t produce it on its own, so you need to get your daily dose from food. Amino acids are strung together to form proteins that serve various bodily functions, from supporting muscle recovery to growing healthy skin, hair and nails. On its own, lysine could also potentially aid in rapid cell repair and provide general support throughout the body.
Lysine naturally occurs in plants and animal products but is also widely available in the form of supplements. In fact, supplements may prove more effective in providing sufficient levels of lysine because they typically contain L-lysine, the form of lysine that gets absorbed through the digestive tract.
Here are some of the ways lysine supplements can help protect your health:
- Reduce the chance of infection: Lysine supports your first line of defense against infections. The amino acid bolsters your immune system. Lysine has also been shown to block another amino acid called arginine. Many viruses need arginine in order to multiply, so inhibiting arginine production can shorten recovery periods and might even prevent infections from occurring in the future.
- Balance out your mood: In addition to inhibiting arginine production, lysine can also prevent the release of a stress hormone called cortisol. High cortisol levels are common in people overwhelmed with stress, which can trigger anxiety if left unchecked. A daily lysine supplement can help you keep calm in stressful situations.
- Keep blood vessels healthy: Although research is still ongoing, the amino acid might be able to lower blood pressure in people suffering from a lysine deficiency. Lysine has been shown to affect blood sugar, too. Individuals who take a daily lysine supplement have lower blood sugar levels on average compared to those who don’t because lysine slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream after meals.
- Contribute to strong bones: Lysine is necessary for growing strong bones. After converting to its L-lysine form, the amino acid helps calcium be absorbed into the body. Lysine is effective for both absorbing and retaining calcium in the skeletal system. For this reason, lysine supplements are most beneficial for older women who have an increased risk of losing bone density. However, because the body is constantly turning over new cells, people at all stages in life can reap the benefits of lysine.
- Grow healthy hair, skin and nails: If you are lysine deficient, you might experience a lot of split ends, premature aging of the skin or brittle nails that break easily. Lysine helps you maintain a supple, young appearance by increasing collagen production. Collagen is a protein that helps build cells throughout the body. Increasing your collagen intake is great, too, but remember that your body can’t use collagen without lysine.
- Build muscle after workouts: Research is still ongoing on whether or not lysine plays a crucial role in muscle development. However, experts predict that lysine will soon become an indispensable part of every athlete’s post-workout regimen. The amino acid has proved effective for regenerating many different types of cells, and muscle tissue is no exception. Strength conditioning creates micro-tears in ligaments, and your body needs protein to build the muscle back even stronger. Since lysine is a building block in protein, it’s worth trying lysine supplements to see if they improve your performance and recovery.
Everyone has something to gain from lysine supplements. They can assist people recovering from a workout or injury, reduce the likelihood of developing chronic diseases in at-risk individuals or simply help you feel good from the inside out. As always, consult your doctor before adding lysine supplements to your diet. As long as it won’t interact with other medications you’re taking, lysine is great for promoting your overall health.