L-lysine, also called lysine or amino acid K, is an essential amino acid that is important for proper growth of the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
Where Do You Get L-Lysine?
Protein foods contain ample amounts of lysine. Most people get enough lysine in their diets, although vegans may be deficient if they don't eat enough beans, peas and lentils.
Herpes and Shingles
You can treat mouth and genital sores caused by the herpes simplex virus and shingles caused by the herpes zoster virus with lysine supplements. The supplements may make recovery faster and reduce the risk of recurrent herpes breakouts.
The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that some forms of lysine in combination with anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, may help lessen the pain of migraine headaches, menstrual periods and episiotomy.
L-lysine helps the body absorb calcium from food and prevents calcium loss in the urine. For this reason, some researchers believe that L-lysine may help prevent bone loss that leads to osteoporosis.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends working with a health care provider if you want to take L-lysine. It has no documented side effects if taken in recommended supplemental doses.