#HealthBytes: The importance of including lysine in the diet
Lysine is one of the nine essential amino acids and a building block of proteins. Lysine can't be produced by the body and is absorbed from the diet. It is found in protein-based foods such as meat, fish, eggs, and plant-based sources like quinoa, beans, etc. Here's more on its importance and why you should make a conscious attempt to consume foods containing lysine.
Collagen is a major component of connective tissues like bones and skin and plays an important role in wound healing. Lysine aids in the production of collagen at the site of a wound and speeds up the repair process. It also increases the number of new cells at a wound and also helps in the formation of new blood vessels.
Cold sores that appear on the lips or around the mouth are painful and often cause a burning, painful sensation. The sores are caused by HSV-1, a virus that triggers this response when the immune system is weak. Lysine helps inhibit HSV-1 from replicating by blocking the action of another amino acid, arginine, which is required by HSV-1 to thrive, hence curing the sores.
A one-week study conducted on 50 healthy individuals observed that lysine and arginine helped to block the receptors involved in stress response, thus significantly reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Though research is in its nascent stage, lysine is also believed to have the potential to improve schizophrenia, a life-altering mental disorder that affects an individual's ability to understand reality.
Lysine not only helps the body in absorbing calcium but also helps the kidneys hold onto it, thus reducing the amount of calcium lost in the urine. This also means that lysine helps in maintaining bone health and avoids conditions like osteoporosis. A study also shows that lysine prevents the buildup of calcium in blood vessels, a condition that can lead to heart disease.