Lysine is a type of amino acid your body needs to maintain proper growth and energy production. Unfortunately, your body can't generate lysine by itself. Instead, you need to consume lysine-rich foods, such as meat, fish or nuts, or supplements to ensure your body receives enough lysine each day. Lysine supplements are also purported to yield medicinal benefits in certain people. Before using lysine supplements, talk to your medical provider.
Cold Sore and Genital Herpes Outbreak Prevention
Health professionals with the University of Maryland Medical Center report regular treatment with lysine supplements may help prevent the outbreak of cold sores in people with oral herpes, a viral infection. Additionally, this supplement may reduce the frequency of genital herpes outbreaks, a sexually-transmitted disease. In such cases, lysine supplements may help diminish the appearance of painful, inflamed skin lesions across the genital region. However, additional research is necessary to further examine the effect lysine supplements have on herpes outbreaks.
Increased Calcium Absorption
Lysine helps your body readily absorb calcium and reduces the amounts of calcium excreted from the body in urine. Your body uses calcium in a variety of different processes -- including bone development. Adding a lysine supplement to your diet may help limit bone loss, which may help prevent or treat osteoporosis, the degenerative bone disease characterized by progressive bone loss and diminished bone density. The May 2001 issue of "Biomedicine and Pharmacotherapy" reports that lysine also affects nitric oxide levels and collagen synthesis, both of which have a direct effect on bone health.
Bell's Palsy Treatment
Treatment with a lysine supplement may help reduce or treat symptoms associated with Bell's palsy -- a facial nerve disease. The herpes simplex virus is the most common cause of Bell's palsy. Lysine may help reduce the activity of the virus, which may help diminish Bell's palsy symptoms of facial weakness, drooping or paralysis; however, additional research examining this potential benefit of lysine supplements is still needed.
Althletic Preformance Enhancement
Increasing your intake of lysine may help enhance your athletic performance. Amino acids such as lysine are the building blocks of proteins. In conjunction with other amino acids in your body, lysine may help maintain lean body mass and healthy growth and development. More definitive clinical research studies are necessary to further evaluate the medicinal applications of lysine supplements.