Lycine like arginine is an essential amino acid and must be obtained from food. Animal proteins such as red meat and poultry are good sources, but lysine is also found in dairy products, eggs, grains and legumes. Of importance to vegetarians is the fact that the processes involved in the manufacture of cereal products, such as the dry heating in toasting and puffing, may render much of the amino acid unavailable and this reduction in lysine content may be nutritionally significant.


  • Antagonizes arginine and helps control herpes virus attacks
  • Important for the production of antibodies, enzymes and hormones
  • Promotes tissue development and repair and helps recovery from trauma, surgery and sports injury
  • Provides blood vessel protection, acting together with proline and vitamin C to prevent vessel deterioration and arteriosclerosis
  • Together with isoleucine and valine, two other amino acids, it helps reduce blood sugar levels

For herpes and cold sores, lysine supplements should be combined with a low arginine diet (see arginine above). Cereal processing may cause lysine deficiency, which may result in anemia, bloodshot eyes, hair loss, loss of concentration, irritability and retarded growth.

Animal studies have shown that high lysine dosages have caused elevated cholesterol levels and gallstones.