Amino acids are some of dermatology’s most fascinating ingredients, among which L- lysine is one of the most multi-beneficial yet mysterious. An essential amino acid, L- lysine is believed to play a role in diverse processes such as promoting speedy wound healing and encouraging calcium absorption. But just how much do you know about this spectacular amino acid?
What is L-lysine?
L-lysine is an essential amino acid that must be obtained through the diet or supplements, as the body cannot make it. Foods that are high in protein often are good sources of lysine, and include red meats, pork, poultry, cheeses, eggs, certain fish like cod and sardines, and soybeans. For vegans and vegetarians, legumes, beans, and peas are the best sources of lysine. While most individuals obtain sufficient L-lysine from their diet, vegans, athletes, and burn victims may have lysine deficiencies and suffer from anemia, dizziness, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea, and reproductive disorders, among other detriments. If you follow a special diet or exercise regimen, it is best to consult with your physician to ensure that your diet does not have any nutritional deficiencies.
When taken orally, L-lysine is believed to help the body absorb calcium and decrease the amount of calcium lost in urine. Given calcium’s role in bone health, some researchers and practitioners in the medical field believe that L-lysine may be of benefit in treating osteoporosis, although no research has yet confirmed this relationship in humans. Similarly, recent research suggests that L-lysine paired with L-arginine may encourage more activity in bone-building cells and increase collagen production. Among L-lysine’s more popular uses is for treating cold sores and genital herpes, although clinical evidence surrounding these claims is still inconclusive. L-lysine purportedly may alleviate stress and anxiety when taken orally, in addition to canker sores and diabetes. However, these later claims are not supported by sufficient clinical evidence. This essential amino acid is also thought to play a role in the body’s production of carnitine (an amino acid), antibodies, hormones, and enzymes, in addition to the formation of collagen.
How Might L-lysine Benefit Me?
Clinical research investigating L-lysine’s benefits as a topical agent is regretfully sparse. Nevertheless, L-lysine is believed to be quite a versatile ingredient when it comes to skin health. For example, a recent clinical trial examined the effects of a topical treatment containing L-lysine on wounds infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Wounds treated with the L-lysine-containing treatments healed 5 days earlier than the control wounds, in addition to lessening the wounds’ bacterial load within 24 hours after application. These findings suggested that L-lysine may promote speedy wound healing by inhibiting wounds’ hyper-inflammatory responses. Results from the same study found that wounds treated with the L-lysine-containing serum showed complete reepithelization, ordered collagen fibers, and a notable decrease in inflammatory cell infiltration. Although more clinical trials are required to confirm this relationship, there is promising evidence that topically-applied L-lysine may promote wound healing and fight against certain infections.
L-lysine is also believed to play a role in treating herpes simplex virus infections. In guinea pig models, research findings suggested that L-lysine may exhibit an immunodolatory(capable of affecting immune function) effect on herpes simplex virus infection sites. Past research findings also suggested that topical application of L-lysine-containing therapies could improve symptoms of facial and circumoral herpes, such as crusting, oozing lesions, tenderness, itching, and swelling.
What Products Should I Use that Contain L-lysine?
If you are looking to add an L-lysine-containing product to your skincare routine, make sure to consult with your dermatologist to determine if you may have an allergy or an otherwise adverse reaction to this amino acid. After consulting with your dermatologist, we suggest using the amino acid-packed products in the AminoGenesis skincare line. Are you looking for a cleanser that can offer more than just clean skin? Then you should try the AminoGenesis Really Really Clean Moisturizing Facial Cleanser that helps to neutralize oxidative free radicals, fight signs of aging, and offer your skin a thorough cleansing. If you are in need of a luxurious yet efficacious all-body moisturizer, then we suggest trying the AminoGenesis Cocoon: for All Over Body Use. If you have any questions about what product to use (or just want to say “hello!”), feel free to email usand we will respond to your email as quickly as possible.
What Else Should I Know about L-lysine?
It would appear that L-lysine is safe for most individuals to use. However, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should refrain from using L-lysine, as there is not enough evidence confirming L-lysine’s safety in this population. Individuals with kidney disease should consult with a dermatologist before taking L-lysine supplements, as there is some evidence of a relationship between taking lysine supplements and kidney disease. Pairing lysine with calcium supplements may increase calcium absorption and potentially lead to complications in some individuals. Children with intolerance to lysinuric protein may suffer from stomach cramps and diarrhea if taking lysine supplements, so make sure to consult with your physician before taking lysine supplements or adding more lysine to your diet. Additionally, taking excessive amounts of lysine may lead to gallstones, renal dysfunction and renal failure, among other complications.
Although more research must be conducted in order to understand L-lysine’s role in human health, recent research is quite promising. When applied as a topical agent, L-lysine is believed to encourage speedy wound healing and even fight against the herpes simplex virus. L-lysine isn’t found in too many skincare products as of yet, but if you are eager to introduce L-lysine into your skincare routine, we suggest trying the AminoGenesis line of products.
Resources and Further Reading
Ayala, E., and D. Krikorian. “Effect of L-lysine Monohydrochloride on Cutaneous Herpes Simplex Virus in the Guinea Pig.” Journal of Medical Virology 28.1 (1989): 16-20. PubMed. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Choi, H. R., Y. A. Kang, S. J. Roo, J. W. Shin, J. I. Na, and K. C. Park. “Stem Cell Recovering Effect of Copper-free GHK in Skin.” Journal of Peptide Science 18.11 (2012): 685-90.PubMed. Web. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
“Lysine.” Lahey Hospital and Medical Center. Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, n.d. Web.
“Lysine.” University of Maryland Medical Center. University of Maryland Medical Center, n.d. Web. <https://umm.edu/health/
“Lysine: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. <http://www.webmd.com/
Mao, S. N. “L-lysine.” Ask Dr. Mao. Ask Dr. Mao, n.d. Web. <http://www.askdrmao.com/
Sahu, K., M. Sharma, H. Bansal, A. Dube, and P. K. Gupta. “Topical Photodynamic Treatment with Poly-l-lysine–chlorin P6 Conjugate Improves Wound Healing by Reducing Hyperinflammatory Response in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa-infected Wounds of Mice.” Lasers in Medical Science 28.2 (2013): 465-71. Springer Link. Web. <http://link.springer.com/
Singh, B. B., J. Udani, S. P. Vinjamury, C. Der-Marirosian, S. Gandhi, R. Khorsan, D. Nanjegowda, and V. Singh. “Safety and Effectiveness of an L-Lysine, Zinc, and Herbal-Based Product on the Treatment of Facial and Circumoral Herpes.” Alternative Medicine Review 10.2 (2005): 123-27.A Natural Healing Center. Web. <http://www.anaturalhealingcen