Foods Containing the Amino Acid Lysine


The amino acid lysine supports a healthy immune system, aids in herpes outbreaks and contributes to hormone production. It is impossible for the body to manufacturer this amino acid, therefore, you must incorporate it into your diet or take supplements. Take lysine to give your immunity the support it needs for fighting off viral infections and stay healthy.

Lysine Deficiencies

  • A lysine deficiency can cause hair loss, poor concentration, weight loss, bloodshot eyes, reproductive disorders, fatigue and lack of appetite. Generally, people on low protein diets or who suffer from eating disorders lack lysine in their diet.

Lysine and Arginine

  • Lysine and the amino acid arginine greatly influence the herpes virus. The virus is able to replicate and become active when you consume a diet high in foods containing arginine. On the other hand, lysine represses the metabolism of arginine and helps keep the virus at bay. Therefore, if you have the herpes virus, which is a lifelong condition, it is important to maintain a diet of foods with lysine to reduce herpes flare-ups.

Foods with Lysine

  • Many foods are good sources of lysine. Dairy products like yogurt, cheeses, butter, ice cream and milk are all high in lysine. Eat more vegetables and fruits like turnips, potatoes, tomatoes, celery, avocados, persimmons, apples, pineapples and apricots. Fish, like salmon, has 1550 mg of lysine compared to 1000 mg of arginine. Incorporate more chicken, fish, eggs, pork, soy products and meat into your diet. Also, consume beans and peas.

Foods with Arginine

  • Foods to avoid for reducing the symptoms of herpes are oats, whole grains, nuts, chocolate, white bread and gelatin. Check your daily multi-vitamins and nutrients to be sure you aren't getting a dose of arginine.


  • Most people do not know how much lysine to get in their diet to reap the benefits. Getting less than 1250mg a day will not help you combat the herpes virus so make sure you are getting more than 1250 mg a day (see Resources). If you are taking lysine supplements, get the kind that is pure lysine rather than synthetic. Add supplements of vitamin C and zinc for added defense against herpes. Regardless of whether you have herpes or not, a diet full of lysine-rich foods can support your immune system and help healthy bone growth.

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