Can You Take Too Much Lysine?

Taking L-lysine supplements can bridge the gap of not being able to get it from food sources

Lysine supplements

Lysine is an amino acid the body does not produce on its own but is essential for the human body to help it function properly. It plays a role in the growth and repair of body tissues. It is not like any other amino acid as people need to get it from other food sources and include it in their daily diet or by taking supplements. Can you take too much lysine from supplements? Taking health supplements has its benefits but consuming large quantities of any kind of supplement may have harmful side effects. It is always wise to consult your doctor before taking it in supplement form and discuss the safe dosage for you.

Why take L-lysine supplements?

The body needs this particular amino acid for healthy growth since it is the building block of protein. It is essential for the formation of bones, cartilage, and tendons as well as for collagen formation and calcium absorption. Since the body cannot make this amino acid on its own, one must include it in their diet from other food sources such as beans and legumes, fish, meat, and dairy products. Animal protein contains the highest amounts of L-lysine. Vegans who don’t consume adequate animal protein can resort to lysine supplements.

Taking L-lysine supplements can bridge the gap of not being able to get it from food sources but not knowing how much is enough may manifest some side effects from- dosage of daily supplements. 

Benefits Of Taking L-lysine

  • Helps in the absorption of calcium, iron, and zinc
  • Promotes collagen growth
  • Helps in the production of enzymes, antibodies, and hormones
  • Supports and boosts the immune system

Cold sores and Herpes Treatment

Cold sores or commonly known as fever blisters are symptoms of infection that usually appear on the lip corners. These fluid-filled blisters tingle with pain at its worst stage.

The herpes simplex virus types 1 hide in the spine when one is stressed and when the immune system is compromised, this is when a cold sore starts to develop.

Research indicates that these supplements reduce the recurrence of cold sores. Applying lysine cream fortified with herbs, vitamins, and zinc also help clear out cold sores in 40% of people on day 3.

Studies have shown that Lysine may help reduce and control cold sores and the herpes simplex type 1 virus strain during cold sore outbreaks. It is also known to help in the treatment of genital herpes by taking 1000mg -3000mg of lysine supplements daily.

Controls Hypertension

There have been studies that have proven lysine supplements can help regulate and reduce high blood pressure compared to people whose daily diets have insufficient sources of this amino acid. 

Diabetes Management

In one research, volunteer subjects have shown that lysine can slow down the rise of blood glucose after eating a meal. This may lead to more effective treatment of diabetes in the future. 

Stress Management

Some studies have also revealed that lysine blocks receptors that trigger a stress response in people. A supplement of 2.64 grams of lysine and arginine showed lowered stress-induced anxiety as well as reduced levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Improves Calcium Absorption

In other research cases, lysine is believed to increase calcium absorption in the digestive system and at the same time assist the kidneys in retain calcium in the body.

Those with osteoporosis supplementing with lysine were also found with reduced loss of calcium in their urine.

Collagen Production

Since lysine helps build and repair body tissue, it plays an essential role in wound healing. 

Lysine is important in the formation of collagen which provides the structure to both skin and bones. It increases the number of new cells to repair wounds and promotes the formation of new blood vessels. 

Tissue repair in wounds is a complicated process that requires the presence of vitamins, minerals. In one study, applying a gel with lysine to an ulcer wound reduced its infection and promoted faster healing.

Natural Food Sources of Lysine

Aside from taking lysine supplements, there is an abundance of food choices you can get your daily requirement for lysine. The following list of foods are the recommended sources of lysine :

  • Red meat
  • Chicken or any poultry
  • Eggs
  • Fish 
  • Beans, lentils
  • Wheat germ
  • Soybeans
  • Nuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Spirulina 

How Much Lysine Do You Need A Day?

This amino acid is said to be most effective when taken with a glass of water on an empty stomach

For a person who weighs around 70 kilos, a daily dose of 800 – 3000 mg is recommended for a sufficient supplement intake. Here is a baseline of a person’s body weight in proportion to the amount of lysine recommended per day :

  • Adults: 12 mg /kg of body weight
  • Children 1 -12 yrs old: 44 mg /kg of body weight
  • Infants 3-6 months: 97 mg/ kg of body weight

It is always good to ask your doctor for the appropriate dosage for you as each person has different needs and health conditions. 

Some people may benefit from their higher dosage if they are recovering from burns, trauma, and injuries as well as those who engage in high-intensity exercises. Those diagnosed with herpes symptoms can take up to 9 mg per day. Do remember that anything above the recommended dosage for each person can have harmful side effects.

Side Effects

Although taking lysine supplements are very safe — an increase of dosage above 10 -15 mg a day for an individual who has not been prescribed for such can suffer from side effects such as 

Diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps. There have been some reports associating lysine supplements with the occurrence of kidney problems and increased risk of high cholesterol and gallstones 

Drug Interactions

Lysine is known to interact with another amino acid called arginine that supports the circulatory system. Taking too much of this amino acid may interfere with the body’s ability to process arginine in the body.

Some antibiotics are also known to interact with lysine and may cause kidney damage. Aminoglycosides such as streptomycin, neomycin are some of these.

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