Lysine (Lys or K)


    • It is an essential amino acid, which means that the human body cannot synthesize it.
    • Lysine is an alpha-amino acid with the chemical formula HO2CCH(NH2)(CH2)4NH2. Its codons are AAA and AAG.
    • L-Lysine is a base, as are arginine and histidine. The epsilon-amino group often participates in hydrogen bonding and as a general base in catalysis.
    • Common posttranslational modifications include methylation of the epsilon-amino group, giving methyl-, dimethyl-, and trimethylglycine. The latter occurs in calmodulin. Other posttranslational modifications include acetylation.


    • O-Glycosylation of lysine residues in the endoplasmic reticulum or Golgi apparatus is used to mark certain proteins for secretion from the cell.

More common:

    • Deficiency in people who do not consume animal products.


    • Urine or blood test.


    • Competes with arginine for absorption and use by the body, if taking will get less than optimal results from arginine, and vice versa. Excess arginine antagonizes lysine.


    • There is preliminary research suggesting that it may have some anti-osteoporotic activity.
    • Collagen contains hydroxylysine which is derived from lysine by lysyl hydroxylase.
    • Lysine is highly concentrated in muscle compared to most other amino acids.


  • Supplemental L-lysine has putative anti-herpes simplex virus activity as it can decrease outbreaks of the herpes simplex virus, which is responsible for cold sores and genital herpes.
    • Lysine is particularly useful in therapy for marasmus (wasting) and herpes simplex. It stops the growth of herpes simplex in culture and has helped to reduce the number and occurrence of cold sores in clinical studies. Dosing has not been adequately studied, but beneficial clinical effects occur in doses ranging from 100 mg to 4 g a day. Higher doses may also be useful, and toxicity has not been reported in doses as high as 8 g per day.
    • Diets high in lysine and low in arginine can be useful in the prevention and treatment of herpes. Some researchers think herpes simplex virus is involved in many other diseases related to cranial nerves such as migraines, Bell's palsy, and Meniere's disease.
    • Proteins of the herpes simplex virus are rich in L-arginine, and tissue culture studies indicate an enhancing effect on viral replication when the amino acid ratio of L-arginine to L-lysine is high in the tissue culture med
    • When the ratio of L-lysine to L-arginine is high, viral replication and the cytopathogenicity of the herpes simplex virus have been found to be inhibited.

Dietary Sources:

    • Dietary supplement, nutrient. Found widely in protein hydrolysates, e.g. casein, egg albumen, fibrin, gelatin, beet molasses.
    • Flavoring agent for a variety of foods.
    • Lysine is high in foods such as wheat germ, cottage cheese, and chicken. Of meat products, wild game and pork have the highest concentration of lysine.
    • Fruits and vegetables contain little lysine, except avocados.

L-Lysine Supplementation:

  • Requirements for this amino acid are probably increased by stress.
  • Normal lysine metabolism is dependent upon many nutrients including niacin, vitamin B6, riboflavin, vitamin C, glutamic acid, and iron.
  • Normal requirements for lysine have been found to be about 8 g per day or 12 mg/kg in adults. Children and infants need more- 44 mg/kg per day for an eleven to-twelve-year old, and 97 mg/kg per day for three-to six-month-old.
  • Lysine toxicity has not occurred with oral doses in humans. Lysine dosages are presently too small and may fail to reach the concentrations necessary to prove potential therapeutic applications. Lysine metabolites, aminocaproic acid, and carnitine have already shown their therapeutic potential.
  • Thirty grams daily of aminocaproic acid has been used as an initial daily dose in treating blood clotting disorders, indicating that the proper doses of lysine, its precursor, have yet to be used in medicine.
  • Competes with arginine for absorption and use by the body, if taking will get less than optimal results from arginine, and vice versa. Do not take Lysine at the same time, they can interfere with each other.

Health Effects:

    • Chronically high levels of lysine are associated with at least 5 inborn errors of metabolism including D-2-Hydroxyglutaric Aciduria, Familial Hyperlysinemia I, Hyperlysinemia II, Pyruvate carboxylase deficiency and Saccharopinuria.
    • Several inborn errors of lysine metabolism are known. Most are marked by mental retardation with occasional diverse symptoms such as an absence of secondary sex characteristics, undescended testes, abnormal facial structure, anemia, obesity, enlarged liver and spleen, and eye muscle imbalance.
    • Lysine also may be a useful adjunct in the treatment of osteoporosis.
    • Although high protein diets result in loss of large amounts of calcium in urine, so does lysine deficiency. Lysine may be an adjunct therapy because it reduces calcium losses in urine.
    • Lysine deficiency also may result in immunodeficiency.
    • Low lysine levels have been found in patients with Parkinson's, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, asthma, and depression. The exact significance of these levels is unclear, yet lysine therapy can normalize the level and has been associated with improvement of some patients with these conditions.
    • Abnormally elevated hydroxylysine have been found in virtually all chronic degenerative diseases and coumadin therapy. The levels of this stress marker may be improved by high doses of vitamin C.
    • If you are low in Lysine, you might end up deficient in carnitine and also may lead to calcium loss, which could increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. L-lysine may facilitate the absorption of calcium from the small intestine.

Route of Exposure:

    • Absorbed from the lumen of the small intestine into the enterocytes by an active transport process.


    • The quantification of some lysine, typically obtained from an individual with the intention of using the measurement in some diagnostic process.

Genes Involved:

    • PARK2 rs992037