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Lysine

Lysine

Description

Lysine is an amino acid not produced by the body, but essential to the growth of protein molecules in the body. It is necessary for tissue repair and growth, and for producing antibodies, enzymes, and hormones. Lysine is found in other protein sources, such as red meats, chicken, and turkey. Most individuals have an adequate intake of lysine; however lysine levels may be low in vegetarians and low-fat dieters. Without enough lysine or any other of the eight essential amino acids , the body cannot build protein to sustain muscle tissue.

General use

The body only uses L-lysine to build protein. Since amino acid molecules are asymmetrical, each amino acid exists as both a right- and left-handed form, distinguished as "D" and "L" respectively. As a supplement, L-lysine is used to treat the herpes simplex virus, help prevent osteoporosis and cataracts , and boost the immune system.

Herpes simplex virus remedy

In the 1950s, scientists discovered that foods containing certain amino acids could encourage or discourage the growth of the herpes virus. When added to the herpes virus, the amino acid arginine increases the growth of the virus. Lysine, on the other hand, suppresses it. Since the virus can cause cold sores, canker sores , and genital sores, L-lysine supplements increase the ratio of lysine to arginine in the body, curing the outbreak of the virus. Avoiding foods with arginine and eating foods with a higher lysine content will also help alleviate the symptoms of the virus.

Foods containing arginine:

  • gelatin
  • nuts
  • chocolate

Foods containing lysine:

  • milk
  • soybeans
  • meat
  • lentils
  • spinach

Other uses

Lysine also promotes the body's absorption of calcium , helping to prevent osteoporosis. It slows the damage to the eye caused by diabetes, and it may help cure atherosclerosis . Since it is used to slow the herpes simplex virus, its antiviral properties may help treat chronic fatigue syndrome, hepatitis , and HIV.

Preparations

L-lysine is best taken as a single supplement and not in combination with other amino acids. Such combinations are touted as nutritional supplements that build more muscle and are often used by athletes and bodybuilders. However, too much protein strains the functions of the liver and kidneys and can cause other health problems. The single supplement should be taken on an empty stomach because larger amounts of the amino acid can build up in the blood and brain, enhancing its health benefits. Supplements are best used by individuals suffering from a herpes outbreak or by vegetarians and low-fat dieters. Postmenopausal women can take lysine to encourage absorption of calcium by the body.

Precautions

Supplemental combinations of amino acids are not recommended to build muscle. Excessive build-up of protein in the body can cause kidney and liver problems.

Some consumers are sensitive or allergic to soybeans, a popular food used by vegetarians to replace the natural supply of lysine found in many meats. However in 2002, researchers announced progress in creating soybeans that could be tolerated by consumers with those sensitivities by shutting off a gene in soybean seeds believed responsible for causing the allergies .

Side effects

None reported.

Interactions

None reported.

Resources

BOOKS

Atkins, Robert C. M.D. Dr. Atkins'Vita-Nutrient Solution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.

Carper, Jean. FoodYour Miracle Medicine: How Food Can Prevent and Cure Over 100 Symptoms and Problems. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Duke, James A. The Green Pharmacy. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1997.

PERIODICALS

Gramling, Jack. "Lysine Helped CFIDS Sufferer Gain Control of his Life." Medical Update (October 1995): 1-2.

Krieter, Ted. "A Microbiologist Who Stopped Her Fever Blisters." Saturday Evening Post (November-December 1995): 54-56.

"Lysine and Cold Sores." Medical Update (January 1995): 1.

"New Soybeans Could Help Consumers with Soy Allergen." On the Plate (August 31, 2002).

Stauth, Cameron. "Beating Chronic Fatigue." Saturday Evening Post (November-December 1995): 50-54.

OTHER

"Lysine." Medicaldictionary.net. http://www.medicaldictionary.net/lysine.htm (July 24, 2000).

Jacqueline L. Longe

Teresa G. Odle

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lysine

lysine (lī´sēn), organic compound, one of the 20 amino acids commonly found in animal proteins. Only the l-stereoisomer appears in mammalian protein. It is one of several essential amino acids needed in the diet; the human body cannot synthesize it from simpler metabolites. Young adults need about 23 mg of this amino acid per day per kilogram (10 mg per lb) of body weight. Lysine is found in particularly low concentrations in the proteins of cereals; wheat gluten, for example, is relatively poor in lysine. This deficiency in lysine is the reason for the failure of diets in some parts of the world that employ cereal protein as a sole source of essential amino acids to support growth in children and general well-being in adults. Attempts to develop lysine-rich corn have been partly successful. Once lysine is incorporated into protein, its basic side chain often provides a positive electrical charge to the protein, thereby aiding its solubility in water. Its side chain has also been implicated in the binding of several coenzymes (pyridoxal phosphate, lipoic acid, and biotin) to enzymes. It also plays an important role in the functioning of histones. The amino acid was first isolated from casein (milk protein) in 1889, and its structure was elucidated in 1902.

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lysine

lysine An essential amino acid of special nutritional importance, since it is the limiting amino acid in many cereals. Can be synthesized on a commercial scale, and when added to bread, rice, or cereal‐based animal feeds, it improves the nutritional value of the protein.

Not all of the lysine in proteins is biologically available, since some is linked through its side‐chain amino group, either to sugars (see Maillard reaction), or to other amino acids. These linkages are not hydrolysed by digestive enzymes, and so the lysine cannot be absorbed. Available lysine is that proportion of the protein‐bound lysine in which the side‐chain amino group is free, so that it can be absorbed after digestion of the protein.

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lysine

ly·sine / ˈlīˌsēn/ • n. Biochem. a basic amino acid, NH2(CH2)4CH(NH2)COOH, that is a constituent of most proteins. It is an essential nutrient in the diet of vertebrates.

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"lysine." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"lysine." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/lysine

"lysine." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/lysine

lysine

lysine An aliphatic, basic, polar (see POLAR MOLECULE) amino acid that is of limited occurrence in plant proteins (but generally abundant in animal proteins).

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"lysine." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"lysine." A Dictionary of Plant Sciences. . Retrieved May 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/lysine

lysine

lysine An aliphatic, basic, polar amino acid that is generally abundant in animal proteins, but is of limited occurrence in those of plants.

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"lysine." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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lysine

lysine (ly-seen) n. an essential amino acid. See also amino acid.

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"lysine." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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lysine

lysine See amino acid.

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"lysine." A Dictionary of Biology. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 May. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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