What Are the Benefits and Side Effects of L-Lysine?


Quick Answer

Studies show that taking the amino acid, L-lysine, can reduce the occurrence of herpes simplex outbreaks, relieve symptoms during flare-ups, and speed healing, reports PubMed. Possible side effects include diarrhea, stomach upset and abdominal pain.

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Full Answer

Daily doses of 1 to 3 grams are used to treat herpes, and the average individual requires 800 to 3,000 milligrams a day, adds Drugs.com. High doses of L-lysine appear safe for adults and children but should be used primarily during times of herpes simplex, or cold sore, breakouts, advises Drugs.com. The amino acid is thought to be helpful in treating osteoporosis because it increases calcium absorption in the intestines and prevents the kidneys from excreting the crucial mineral. Lysine may be effective in treating angina and anxiety. It lowers glucose and increases muscle mass. Lysine is an effective detoxifying agent for patients withdrawing from heroin, and while more research is needed, it may be effective in treating migraines.

The human body cannot manufacture the essential amino acid, therefore lysine must be obtained from food sources or in supplement form. Foods high in lysine include dairy products, meats, beans and brewer’s yeast. Patients with liver and kidney conditions should not take lysine, nor should individuals with already high lysine concentrations in the blood or urine.

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