L-lysine is one of eight essential amino acids and is a building block of protein. It is important for good health. However, since it is an amino acid, the body is not able to produce it naturally. L-lysine must be introduced into the body through food or supplements. There are many foods rich in L-lysine that should be included in your daily diet.
L-lysine aids in physical development. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it plays an essential role in the production of carnitine, a nutrient responsible for converting fatty acids into energy and helping to lower cholesterol.
L-lysine is beneficial in helping the body absorb and conserve calcium. It also helps the body form collagen, which is necessary for healthy bones, tendons, cartilage and skin.
Select foods that are high in protein for the best choice of L-lysine foods. Red meats have the highest L-lysine content; however, pork and poultry also contain lysine. Parmesan cheese contains a beneficial amount of L-lysine. Other foods high in L-lysine include cod, sardines, nuts, eggs, soybeans, tofu, soy flour and fenugreek seed.
Foods to Avoid
There are some foods that can inhibit L-lysine absorption. Many baked goods make it difficult for the body to absorb necessary L-lysine. Foods like pastries, doughnuts, cookies and some cereals should be avoided, especially if you are suffering from a L-lysine deficiency. A diet high in these and similar simple sugars could prevent you from reaping the best benefits from L-lysine.
L-lysine deficiency is not a very common problem, yet people who are extremely athletic or strict vegetarians may find that they have this condition. Signs for L-lysine deficiency include kidney stones, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, agitation, bloodshot eyes, impeded growth, anemia and reproductive disorders. It is important to speak to a physician if any of these signs are evident before taking a L-lysine supplement.
Athletes low in L-lysine should add more sources of meat protein into their diet if they find that they are L-lysine deficient. Vegetarians should add legumes like beans, peas, lentils and soy into their diet to increase L-lysine intake.
Eating foods rich in L-lysine can help relieve several conditions; however, taking a L-lysine supplement may provide more relief for these conditions. L-lysine can be beneficial in the treatment of herpes, shingles, osteoporosis, inflammation, episiotomy pain, migraine relief and painful periods.