Lysine, or L-lysine, is an essential amino acid that the body cannot naturally make. Unlike amino acids, essentials amino acids must be obtained from the diet. Lack of lysine in the diet can lead to weak bones and poor collagen production.
Importance of Lysine
Lysine is necessary for development in children. In adults, it helps the body absorb calcium, which is used to maintain the balance of nitrogen. Lysine also helps prevent cold sores caused by the herpes type 1 virus.
Collagen is responsible for healthy, youthful skin. Wrinkles form when collagen production in the body is very low. As lysine is needed for producing collagen, a diet poor in lysine may augment the development of wrinkles.
Foods with Lysine
Lysine is found in a number of food sources, but it is most abundant in poultry, wheat germ, dairy products, fish and legumes. Lysine is also found in many vegetables and plants, including spinach and lentils. Eating foods with lysine may delay the onset of wrinkles.
Most people do not need to take a supplement because it is found in so many foods, but those who have had recurrent episodes of the herpes simplex infection are recommended to take a lysine supplement.
Too Much Lysine
Although it is not too common, taking too much lysine can lead to an increase in cholesterol and can also cause gallstones.