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What Is Lauroyl Lysine?

author image Allison Adams
Allison Adams has worked as a registered dietitian since 1996. She began writing professionally in 2000, with work featured in a variety of medical publications such as "Women's Health Magazine" and the "New England Journal of Medicine." Adams holds a Master of Science in nutrition and food sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
What Is Lauroyl Lysine?
An assortment of shellfish sit in a pot on a rustic table. Photo Credit Shaiith/iStock/Getty Images

Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning your body can not synthesize this amino acid and, therefore, you must obtain lysine through dietary sources. Lysine not only aids your body in the production of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones, but it also helps your body build muscle tissue. Lauroyl lysine is a derivative of lysine, commonly used in skin and hair-care products.


Lauroyl lysine is an amino acid derivative made from the natural coconut fatty acid, coconut oil. The chemical name for lauroyl lysine is N6-(1-oxododecyl)-L-lysine, and the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, INCI, lists the primary functions of lauroyl lysine as hair conditioning, skin conditioning and viscosity control. However, the INCI only lists the purported functions of ingredients used in cosmetic products; it does not provide actual medical information about the effectiveness or results of a specific ingredient, including lauroyl lysine.


Manufacturers use lauroyl lysine as a hair and skin-conditioning agent. As a conditioning agent, lauroyl lysine helps to soften your skin and hair. Additionally, lauroyl lysine contributes to hair- and skin-care products’ textures by helping to gel solvents. Further cosmetic uses for this derivative include use in eye shadows and powder-based products.


According to “Amino Acids in Human Nutrition and Health,” lauroly lysine can help prevent recurrences of cold sores and herpes outbreaks and reduce the duration of outbreaks. To treat cold sores and herpes, you should use high doses of lauroyl lysine topically. The recommended dose is 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg. Additionally, the amino acid arginine can interfere with the effectiveness of lysine in treating the herpes virus. Therefore, you should reduce your arginine intake if you use lauroyl lysine to treat herpes. You will find high quantities of arginine in many health supplements and also foods including soy, shellfish, spinach, seaweed and turkey. You should also speak to a medical professional prior to taking any health supplement to treat a specific medical condition, including herpes.

Lysine Deficiencies and Side Effects

According to the “Amino Revolution,” the recommended daily dose the amino acid lysine is 1 g to 1.5 g. Symptoms of a lysine deficiency include lethargy, growth and reproductive problems, hair loss, weight loss, anemia, loss of appetite and enzyme disorders. Food rich in lysine include fish, cereal grains and legumes. Regarding the lysine derivative lauroyl lysine, there are not any known side effects associated with its use.

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