Lysine, also known as L-lysine or amino acid K, is an essential amino acid that does not form naturally in your body and must be ingested through foods or supplements to supply your body with the means to build protein molecules. Lysine is essential in helping the body absorb calcium and helping build tissue and muscle. It can even help those suffering from osteoporosis. Lysine is also used to treat herpes, and has been effective in keeping outbreaks to a minimum. Some people have reported hair loss while taking an over-abundance of lysine for the treatment of herpes, however, taking lysine actually helps strengthen hair follicles and leaves hair glossy and healthy, not dry and brittle.
Healthy Doses of Lysine
Lysine is instrumental in the formation of collagen, which is important for bones, skin, connective tissue and cartilage. Lysine is also essential for children’s growth and bone development. There have been indications that lysine also helps the injured heal faster, because it builds muscle protein. Determining the amount of daily lysine intake you need depends on what you are using the supplement to treat. If you have herpes, taking 1000 milligrams a day may be necessary, while maintaining healthy bones and hair may only require 500 milligrams a day.
Dry Hair Causes
There are many reasons for dry hair, including over-processing with hair color, shampooing too often and using heat stylers. Dry hair can also indicate an iron deficiency or a need for extra zinc or vitamin C. As hair is composed of proteins and amino acids, taking lysine can improve the strength and health of your hair. You can spend a fortune on a variety of hair products, but in the end, a healthy diet that contains sufficient lysine will encourage hair growth, stem hair loss and keep your locks shiny and strong.
Ways of Getting Lysine in Your Diet
You could take a pill or a liquid supplement, but the most efficient way to get lysine into your diet is to ingest it via food. Meats such as red meat, pork and poultry, cheese -- Parmesan in particular -- nuts, soybeans, beans and legumes are all rich sources lysine. Eating a diet of these foods, along with fruits, fish and other vegetables, will keep levels of amino acid K high and help reverse dry, brittle hair.
Avoiding Dry Hair and Lysine Ill-effects
Although lysine won’t cause dry hair, individuals with herpes, vegans who don't eat legumes or beans and people with severe burns will have lower levels of lysine in their systems and may have dry, unhealthy hair. Too much lysine may cause hair to fall out, but it won’t be dry when it does. A good way to ensure that you don’t have dry, brittle hair is to make sure you maintain a steady diet of proteins, vegetables and other lysine-bearing foods.