What Lysine Is:
Lysine, also called L-lysine, is an essential amino acid. "Essential" means that your body doesn't produce it, so you get it through diet and supplementation.
While more research needs to be done to confirm these findings, some studies have linked lysine to:
- Suppression of herpes viruses
- Increasing calcium absorption, which may be helpful in osteoporosis
- Lowering glucose levels
- Alleviating migraines
- Lessening anxiety
- Aiding in wound and fracture healing
Lysine for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
A look at the above list of possible effects illustrates why. Research shows that some cases of ME/CFS may be linked to human herpesvirus-6, which causes roseola in babies. Researchers in 2012 announced the launch of a study to examine a possible link between herpes simplex 1 (the cold sore virus) and FMS.
FMS may be a risk factor for osteoporosis. Some doctors believe people with FMS and ME/CFS are especially prone to diabetes. Many patients have frequent migraines. Anxiety is a common symptom of FMS and ME/CFS, and some people with these conditions report that they heal slowly. A single supplement that could help with all of these problems is bound to tempt people to try it.
Anecdotally, some people say lysine helps alleviate symptoms while others say it's had no effect on them. Until controlled studies are performed and replicated, we won't be able to say for sure whether it is effective in FMS and ME/CFS.
When taken as a supplement, a typical dosage of lysine is 1 g per day, possibly increasing to 3g daily during a herpes outbreak. This dosage level is believed to be safe in healthy adults. Lysine supplementation may not be appropriate for those with diabetes or who take calcium supplements.
Topical lysine is sometimes applied directly to herpes lesions.
Lysine in Your Diet:
Many foods contain lysine, including:
- Red meat, pork and poultry
- Dairy products
- Some fish, including cod and sardines
Lysine Side Effects:
High doses of lysine may cause gallstones, kidney dysfunction or kidney failure.
Typical doses are linked to some digestive side effects, including nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
Lysine counteracts the essential amino acid arginine, so if you're taking arginine supplements adding lysine may be counterproductive.
To avoid negative interactions, be sure to talk to your doctor and pharmacist when you're considering new supplements.
More Supplements for Immune Function:
Abate G, et al. Minerva Med. 1994 May;85(5):253-9. The effects of the carbocalcitonin + arginine-lysine-lactose combination in senile involutional osteoporosis.
Chapenko S, et al. Adv Virol. 2012;2012:205085. Association of active human herpesvirus-6, -7 and parvovirus b19 infection with clinical outcomes in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.
Gaby AR. Altern Med Rev. 2006 Jun;11(2):93-101. Natural remedies for Herpes simplex.
Huang M, Joseph JW. Islets. 2012 May 1;4(3):210-22. Metabolomic analysis of pancreatic beta-cell insulin release in response to glucose.
Krymchantowski AV, et al. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2001;59(1):46-49. Oral lysine clonixinate in the acute treatment of migraine: a double-blind placebo-controlled study.
Mirmiranpour H, et al. Thromb Res. 2012 Sep;130(3):e13-9. Investigation of the mechanism(s) involved in decreasing incread fibrinogen activity in hyperglycemic conditions using L-lysine supplementation.
Olama SM, et al. Rheumatol Int. 2012 Feb 4. Serum vitamin D level and bone mineral density in premenopausal Egyptian women with fibromyalgia
Singh BB, et al. Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(2):123-7. Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes.
Sinha S, Goel SC. Indian J Orthop. 2009 Oct-Dec; 43(4): 328–334. Effect of amino acids lysine and arginine on fracture healing in rabbits: A radiological and histomorphological analysis.
Smriga M, et al. Biomed Res. 2007 Apr;28(2):85-90. Oral treatment with L-lysine and L-arginine reduced anxiety and basal cortisol levels in healthy humans.
Yunus MB. Pain Res Treat. 2012;2012:584573. The prevalence of fibromyalgia in other chronic pain conditions.