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Signs & Symptoms of Lysine Deficiency

author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Signs & Symptoms of Lysine Deficiency
Signs & Symptoms of Lysine Deficiency

Lysine is an essential amino acid that your body needs to maintain proper growth and development. Adults should consume 12 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of lysine each day from supplements or food sources, which include red meat, potatoes, milk, fish, beans and certain soy-based products. Most people get enough lysine in their diets, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center website; however, athletes, vegans who don't eat beans, as well as burn patients may need more. If you don't get enough lysine from your diet, you might develop certain signs and symptoms associated with a lysine deficiency, which can lead to additional problems if not treated appropriately.

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Appetite Loss or Poor Growth

If you have insufficient levels of lysine in your bloodstream, you may notice that your normal appetite progressively decreases. When you're not hungry, you may eat less, which may result in unintended weight loss. Additionally, poor nutrient consumption combined with low lysine levels may cause growth delays -- particularly in children or young adolescents. Consult your doctor if you develop a diminished appetite or sudden weight loss, as these lysine deficiency symptoms may also be signs of other health problems, such as diabetes or cancer.

Fatigue or Mood Changes

Low lysine levels may cause excessive fatigue, which may make it difficult for you to remain focused or attentive during your normal daily activities. You may also experience unusual mood changes, such as irritability, agitation or poor concentration. Mood-related changes may negatively affect your relationships with family, friends or colleagues. Contact your physician if you experience sudden or significant shifts in your mood to ensure that you receive appropriate treatment and care.


Anemia -- a condition in which your red blood cell levels are unusually low -- may occur if you have a lysine deficiency, warns the University of Maryland Medical Center. Symptoms associated with anemia include pale skin, dizziness, pronounced fatigue, headache and cold extremities. These symptoms may become progressively worse until your lysine levels return to normal.

Hair Loss

A lysine deficiency may cause hair loss. The hair across your scalp may appear sparse or your hair may break easily while you are washing or brushing it. Excessive hair loss may be embarrassing to certain people; however, normal hair growth typically returns once your lysine levels return to normal. Consult your medical provider if you find hair loss symptoms bothersome.

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