For vegetarians, legumes (beans, peas and lentils) are the best sources of lysine.

Benefits of lysine:

It is required for growth and bone development in children, as it helps in the absorption of calcium and also maintains the correct nitrogen balance in the body and to prevent obesity.

Furthermore it is needed to produce antibodies, hormones, enzymes, collagen formation as well as repair of tissue.

It is also essential for the patients recovering from injuries and recovery after operations as it helps in the building of muscle proteins.

Lysine also helps to maintain the healthy blood vessels.

It also seems to assist in fighting herpes and cold sores.

Lysine is an essential amino acid in the production of carnitine, which helps to convert fatty acids into energy and also helps to maintain the blood cholesterol.

L-lysine can be used to treat mouth and genital lesions caused by herpes simplex virus as well as shingles caused by herpes zoster viruses.

Certain forms of lysine bound to anti-inflammatory medications may help relieve the pain following an episiotomy (a procedure performed during labor that involves cutting the vaginal area to enlarge the vaginal opening and facilitate delivery). These forms of lysine may also relieve migraine headaches and painful periods.

Deficiency symptoms of lysine

Deficiency of lysine in the diet can lead to the formation of kidney stones and other health related problems may develop including fatigue, nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite, agitation, bloodshot eyes, slow growth, anemia, and reproductive disorders.

As it helps in the absorption of calcium so deficiency of lysine can lead to defective bone development.

Generally, only vegetarians who follow a macrobiotic diet and certain athletes involved in frequent vigorous exercise are at risk for lysine deficiency

Symptoms of high intake

High intake of lysine may lead to the formation of gallstones and an elevation of cholesterol. But it is not proved in the human beings as yet.

Diarrhea and stomach cramps may be indicative in high dosage, but these are not consistent symptoms.

Who needed more?

Athletes, burn patients and people suffering from herpes and cold sores may need more lysine.

Older people could also require more lysine, as one study found older men required more of this nutrient than younger men.

Daily requirements

The daily requirement of lysine for different age groups is given below:


Birth to 4 months: 103 mg per kilogram of body weight per day

Children 5 months to 2 years: 69 mg per kilogram of body weight per day

Children 3 to 12 years: 44 mg per kilogram of body weight per day


13 and older: 12 mg per kilogram of body weight per day

Some experts suggest that adults may need up to 30 mg per kilogram of body weight per day.

Adults with herpes simplex should follow these guidelines:

To treat symptoms: 3,000 – 9,000 mg per day in divided doses

To prevent recurrences: 500 – 1,500 mg per day

Other information

Individuals with cardiovascular disease and those with elevated cholesterol and/or triglyceride levels should consult a medical practitioner before taking lysine supplements .

There are no reports in the scientific literature to suggest that lysine interacts with any conventional medications.

Lysine is involved in the browning reaction, or carmelization, in foods such as pastries, doughnuts, cookies and cereals. In this process, lysine and sugar stick together in a way that makes lysine difficult for the body to absorb. As a result, a diet high in cereals and baked goods, especially those that contain a lot of simple sugars, can result in low lysine intake.