Lysine is an important biological compound that the body uses to function and maintain general health. Although it is readily available in most diets, additional amounts of lysine can be consumed through the use of nutritional supplements. Lysine supplements may benefit individuals who have insufficient dietary intake.
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Lysine is an essential amino acid -- essential because it cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained from external sources. Within the human body, lysine plays a role in numerous biological processes, including the conversion of lipids to energy and the synthesis of collagen and connective tissues. In addition, lysine may also be involved in the regulation of calcium levels.
Dietary Sources of Lysine
Lysine can be found from dietary foods that are rich in protein. These foods may include beans, meat, fish, nuts and eggs. Since lysine is prevalent in many food sources, supplementation is typically only needed in strict vegetarians, malnourished individuals or those with increased protein requirements.
Uses of Lysine
Although clinical results are inconclusive, lysine has been studied in improving symptoms of herpetic outbreaks and osteoporosis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, more studies would be required to confirm any benefits toward these conditions. Currently, the role of lysine supplements should only include the maintenance of general nutritional health.
Lysine supplements are relatively safe and rarely cause serious adverse side effects. However, there is insufficient data to support their use in the treatment of real medical conditions. You should always speak with a professional health care provider before using any supplements to ensure your safety.