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L-Lysine Chemical Structure

L-Lysine is an essential¹ amino acid. It is a building block for protein. It transports fat across your cells so the fat can be burned for energy.

It may treat cold sores, reduce anxiety, and improve calcium absorption. In addition, Lysine may improve athletic performance, reduce stress and build stronger bones.

This nutrient may also help reduce your risk of developing cold sores, diabetes-related complications and heart diseases.

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    • Collagen production
    • Bone strength
    • Insulin secretion
    • Production growth hormones
    • Production of carnitine
    • Lowers pancreatic inflammation
    • Lowers the risk of diabetes-related infections
    • Wound healing
    • Formation of new blood vessels
    • Production of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones
    • Immune system
    • Proper nitrogen balance and inhibits glycation(2)

    Deficiency Symptoms

    • Fatigue
    • Poor concentration
    • Irritability
    • Nausea
    • Bloodshot eyes
    • Hair loss
    • Anorexia
    • Anemia
    • Acne
    • Cold sores
    • Herpes virus
    • Inhibited growth
    • Problems with the reproductive system

    Complimentary Supplements

    • Vitamin C
    • Gelatin

    Food Sources

    • Avocados
    • Dried apricots
    • Mangoes
    • Beets
    • Leeks
    • Tomatoes
    • Pears
    • Green peppers
    • Red peppers
    • Potatoes
    • Kidney beans
    • Navy beans
    • Black beans
    • Cashews
    • Quinoa
    • Yogurt
    • Cheese
    • Butter
    • Milk
    • Shrimp
    • Oysters
    • Beef
    • Pork
    • Chicken


    • Consuming too much L-Lysine may lead to diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, gallstones and even renal dysfunction.
    • L-Lysine may bring down blood pressure.
    • Consult your medical professional before taking L-Lysine if you have past or current kidney issues.
    • Patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS should not take L-Lysine supplements and consume high-lysine foods only.
    • Lysine might inhibit the effects of some gastrointestinal agents including prucalopride and tegaserod.
    • Since lysine can increase your body’s ability to absorb calcium, you should ask a doctor about taking lysine if you’re already using calcium supplements.
    • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should speak to a doctor before taking lysine or any other supplements.


    (1) Essential amino acids are those that can not be synthesized by the body on its own and thus need to be acquired through your diet. 

    (2) Glycation events disrupt the normal function of protein and lipid structures in the body and are accelerated by elevated levels of sugar in the blood. 


    Supporting Research

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, The, 2009 Aug;2(1):314-320

    BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Jun 23;15:193

    Beauman JG. Genital herpes: a review. Am Fam Physician. 2005 Oct 15;72(8):1527-34. Review.

    Breau RH, Kokolo MB, Punjani N, et al. The effects of lysine anaolgs during pelvic surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Transfus Med Rev. 2014;28(3):145-55.

    Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. Rockville, MD: US Dept of Health and Human Services and US Dept of Agriculture; 2005.

    Fini M, Torricelli P, Giavaresi G, Carpi A, Nicolini A, Giardino R. Effect of L-lysine and L-arginine osteoblast cultures from normal and osteopenic rats. Biomed Pharmacother. 2001;55(4):213-220.

    Gaby AR. Natural remedies for Herpes simplex. Altern Med Rev. 2006 Jun;11(2):93-101. Review.

    J Am Coll Nutr. 1997 Feb;16(1):7-21

    J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2015;61 Suppl:S192-4

    Krymchantowski AV, Barbosa JS, Cheim C, Alves LA. Oral lysine clonixinate in the acute treatment of migraine: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2001;59(1):46-49.

    Nutr Metab (Lond). 2010; 7: 30

    Nutrition. 1992 Nov-Dec;8(6):400-5

    Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012.

    Rao M, Chinnasamy N, Hong JA, et al. Inhibition of histone lysine methylation enhances cancer-testis antigen expression in lung cancer cells: implications for adoptive immunotherapy of cancer. Cancer Res. 2011;71(12):4129204.

    Singh BB, Udani J, Vinjamury SP, et al., Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(2):123-7.

    StatPearls, “Biochemistry, Collagen Synthesis”

    Tfelf-Hansen P. The effectiveness of combined oral lysine acetylsalicylate and metoclopramide in the treatment of migraine attacks. Comparison with placebo and oral sumatriptan. Funct Neurol. 2000;15(Suppl 3):196-201.