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L-Lysine Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Functions

Discover the Function, Sources and Benefits of the Health Supplement Ingredient L-Lysine, or 2,6-Diaminohexanoic Acid

Lysine – also known as L-lysine, Lys or (S)-2,6-diaminohexanoic acid – is an essential amino acid. This means that while lysine is important for maintaining good health, it is not manufactured by the body; therefore, it must be consumed through dietary sources or supplements. L-lysine can be found in high-protein foods and in select health and bodybuilding supplements, including HGH 30,000 Nanograms pills, HGF MAX, and CytoSport and Multi-Pro whey protein mixes.

Functions of L-Lysine

As an essential amino acid, L-lysine serves as a building block of protein and promotes proper growth. It plays an important role in producing carnitine and forming collagen within the body. Carnitine aids in converting fatty acids into energy and helps to lower cholesterol, while collagen supports bone health and tissue repair, particularly in the case of tendons, cartilage and skin. L-lysine also appears to help the body absorb calcium, and it has antiviral effects. Some evidence suggests it may stimulate human growth hormone (HGH) production, thereby serving as a natural HGH releaser.

Sources of L-Lysine

Dietary sources of L-lysine include protein-rich foods such as red meat, pork, poultry, certain types of fish (such as cod and sardines), eggs and cheese. Plant-based sources include tofu and other forms of soy, nuts and legumes (including beans, peas and lentils). L-lysine may also be consumed in natural dietary supplements.

L-Lysine Benefits and Uses

Some evidence suggests L-lysine acts as a natural HGH releaser, or HGH secretagogue. Because of this potential to stimulate HGH production, L-lysine supplements are often taken to improve athletic performance and enhance muscle growth. Furthermore, lysine’s role in bone health and collagen formation means that it can help athletes recovering from injury by supporting bone and tissue repair.

One of the most common uses of L-lysine leverages its antiviral properties to prevent outbreaks of cold sores and genital herpes resulting from the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It appears to work by blocking the activity of arginine, which stimulates HSV replication. Because L-lysine helps the body absorb calcium and promotes collagen production, researchers believe it may also help prevent bone loss due to osteoporosis.

Side Effects of L-Lysine and Potential Interactions

L-lysine supplements are generally considered safe for adults; no side effects have been reported by healthy users at standard dosages. However, excessive doses may contribute to gallstones or renal dysfunction. Individuals with kidney or liver disease are advised to confer with a doctor before taking L-lysine supplements. In addition, anyone using aminoglycoside antibiotics (such as gentamicin, neomycin or streptomycin) should be aware of possible interaction with L-lysine, which may increase the risk of nephrotoxicity.

More detailed safety information on L-lysine dosages, side effects and interactions can be found on the University of Maryland Medical Center website. As with any medication or health supplement, it is best to consult your physician before taking dietary supplements containing L-lysine.

L-Lysine Research and Studies

Numerous studies have examined the use of L-lysine to treat medical conditions such as the herpes simplex virus (HSV), osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. Researchers have reported that L-lysine appears to reduce the occurrence, severity and healing time of HSV infections and to minimize the associated symptoms, including cold sores and mouth ulcers. Animal studies have indicated that L-lysine may be effective in preventing and treating osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease; however, further human studies are needed.

Several studies suggest that L-lysine has the ability to enhance secretion of human growth hormone (HGH), thereby contributing to improved muscle mass and strength. Researchers emphasized that HGH production varied according to such factors as the training status, sex, age and diet of the individual. Many athletes and bodybuilders contend that L-lysine improves performance and strength; and while definitive human studies have yet to be published, animal studies have repeatedly shown that L-lysine produced greater muscularity in swine and other monogastric animals. Other research has examined the effects of L-lysine on wounds, bone fractures and muscle injuries. The findings suggest that lysine plays a positive role in bone and tissue repair; therefore, it may have the potential to help athletes recover from injuries and intense workouts.

For additional L-lysine research, refer to the PubMed site sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

HGH.com Supplements With L-Lysine

Athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts who wish to reap the benefits of L-lysine can find this essential amino acid in these natural health and bodybuilding supplements from HGH.com:

HGF MAX – Purity Select HGF MAX capsules are formulated to boost HGH production with a proprietary blend of ingredients, including L-lysine and other amino acids. This powerful dietary supplement can help build muscle, improve muscle tone, increase stamina and accelerate metabolism.

HGH 30,000 Nanograms – Purity Select’s popular HGH pills are designed to enhance growth hormone production through a combination of L-group amino acids, including L-lysine. HGH 30,000 Nanograms capsules help support muscle growth, burn fat, boost energy, and provide other health benefits.

CytoSport Vanilla Whey Protein – One serving of low-lactose, low-fat, CytoSport whey protein contains 10 grams of L-lysine and 18 grams of protein. This vanilla-flavored drink mix is intended to help athletes develop lean muscle mass and hasten recovery from intense training.

Multi-Pro Chocolate Whey Protein – With 1.9 grams of L-lysine and 24 grams of protein per serving, this complete protein supplement is formulated to build muscle, decrease body fat and improve immune system health.

Champion Nutrition Amino Shooter + Creatine – This pre-workout drink mix features nine amino acids, including 1,100 milligrams of L-lysine, yet contains no fat, carbs or cholesterol. It is designed to preserve hard-earned muscle while providing added energy for a more effective workout.

References (Function, Sources, Benefits/Uses and Side Effects/Interactions):

Bond, Owen. “What Does Lysine Do for Your Body?”; published in the “Food and Health” section on Livestrong.com; February 2, 2014. <http://www.livestrong.com/article/362472-what-does-lysine-do-for-your-body>

National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. “L-lysine”; Compound Summary for CID 5962 in PubChem Open Chemistry Database; accessed April 27, 2015. <http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/L-lysine>

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. “Amino Acids”; published in the “Medical Reference Guide” section; last updated April 23, 2014. <http://umm.edu/system-hospital-sites/shore-health/health/medical/ency/articles/amino-acids>

University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. “Lysine”; published in the “Medical Reference Guide” section; last updated May 7, 2013. <http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/lysine>

WebMD and Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. “Lysine”; published under “Vitamins & Supplements”; accessed April 27, 2015. <http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-237-lysine.aspx?activeingredientid=237&activeingredientname=lysine>

Research Sources:

Chromiak, Joseph A. and Jose Antonio. “Use of Amino Acids as Growth Hormone-Releasing Agents by Athletes.”; Nutrition; July/August 2001. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12093449>

Dort, Junio; Nadine LeBlanc; et al. “Beneficial Effects of Cod Protein on Inflammatory Cell Accumulation in Rat Skeletal Muscle after Injury Are Driven by Its High Levels of Arginine, Glycine, Taurine and Lysine”; PLoS One; October 4, 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24124612>

Fini, Milena; Roberto Giardino; et al. “Role of Lactose, Arginine and Lysine Combination in Fracture Healing: An Experimental Study”; Annali Italiani di Chirurgia; January/February 1996. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8712622>

Fini, Melena; Paola Torricelli; et al. “Effect of L-Lysine and L-Arginine on Primary Osteoblast Cultures From Normal and Osteopenic Rats”; Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy; May 2001. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11393808>

Flodin, Nestor W. “The Metabolic Roles, Pharmacology, and Toxicology of Lysine”; Journal of the American College of Nutrition; February 1997. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9013429>

Fürst, Peter. “Dietary L-Lysine Supplementation: A Promising Nutritional Tool in the Prophylaxis and Treatment of Osteoporosis”; Nutrition; January/February 1993 .<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8467115>

Griffith, Richard S.; David E. Walsh; et al. “Success of L-Lysine Therapy in Frequently Recurrent Herpes Simplex Infection: Treatment and Prophylaxis”; Dermatologica; 1987. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3115841>

Liao, Shengfa F.; Taiji Wang; and Naresh Regmi. “Lysine Nutrition in Swine and the Related Monogastric Animals: Muscle Protein Biosynthesis and Beyond”; SpringerPlus; March 27, 2015. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25830085>

Morales-Trejo, Adriana; Héctor García-Villalobos; et al. “Effect of L-Lysine on Expression of Selected Genes, Serum Concentration of Amino Acids, Muscle Growth and Performance of Growing Pigs”; Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition; October 29, 2014. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25354230>

Ozden, Feyza Otan; Ahmet Yasar Turanli; et al. “Clinical Success of Lysine in Association With Serumal and Salivary Presence of HSV-1 in Patients With Recurrent Aphthous Ulceration”; Journal of Experimental and Integrative Medicine; January 2011 <http://www.scopemed.org/?mno=6571>

Shimomura, Akihiro; Isao Matsui; et al. “Dietary l-Lysine Prevents Arterial Calcification in Adenine-Induced Uremic Rats”; Journal of the American Society of Nephrology; March 20, 2014. <http://jasn.asnjournals.org/content/early/2014/03/19/ASN.2013090967.full>

Spallotta, Francesco; Chiara Cencioni; et al. “Enhancement of Lysine Acetylation Accelerates Wound Repair”; Communicative & Integrative Biology; September 2013. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24265859>

Suminski, Richard R.; Robert J. Robertson; et al. “Acute Effect of Amino Acid Ingestion and Resistance Exercise on Plasma Growth Hormone Concentration in Young Men”; International Journal of Sport Nutrition; March 1997. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9063764>

Tomblin, Jr., Frankie A. and Kristy H. Lucas. “Lysine for Management of Herpes Labialis”; American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy; February 15, 2001. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11225166>




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