L-lycine is one of the essential amino acids that the body can’t produce and must be obtained through diet or a supplement. It’s the building block of all proteins and is thus necessary for the production of proteins in the body. Let’s explore What is L Lycine Good For?
It helps move fat within your cells to be burned for energy, promotes tissue growth and function, and enhances calcium uptake essential for collagen production. It also boosts the immune system and helps the body fight against viral infections.
L-lycine is naturally found in high protein foods like meat and dairy but can also be found in plant foods or as supplements.
This article provides more impressive health benefits of taking L-lycine, as proven by science.
Here is what Research Has to Say
1. It may treat or protect against cold sores
Also called fever blisters, cold sores are clustered fluid-filled lesions caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1).
They often appear on the corner of the mouth or on the lip, and they have a tingling, itching, or burning sensation. Cold sores may also appear in the nostrils, on the chin, or cheeks.
The herpes simplex virus is contagious and can easily spread from one individual to another through close contacts, like kissing. The virus may also be transmitted through sharing lip balm, towels, cosmetics, razors, toothbrushes, and utensils like drinking glasses.
Once you have the virus, you have it for life, but it’s most contagious when there is an active cold sore.
Research shows that more than 50 percent of Americans harbor this type of virus, even though most may not exhibit the symptoms.
But in the case of recurrent cold sores, L-lycine may prevent its replication and shorten the cold sore duration. It does so by inhibiting arginine, an amino acid needed for the virus to multiply.
A study found that 1000 mg of L-lycine taken daily resulted in fewer cold sores in people who initially experienced recurrent cold sores. It also found that L-lycine blood levels above 165 nmol/l reduced breakouts while a drop below 165 nmol/l resulted in increased breakouts.
2. It may help in the treatment of cancer
Conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy affect diseased cells and destroy the healthy ones leaving them weak and susceptible to other infections. This is why researchers are always trying to find natural cancer treatments or supplementation modalities to help ease the effects of cancer treatments.
One study found that L-lycine decreased mucositis (inflammation of the mucosal lining) induced by chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Another 2007 study by scientists at Florida State University found that L-lycine conjugates can identify and tear apart damaged DNA strands caused by cancer, leading to apoptosis and cancer-cell death.
3. It may improve calcium absorption
Different factors such as medications that may reduce calcium absorption, excessive calcium excretion in urine due to high sodium intake, too much caffeine that leaches calcium out of the bones, or dietary intolerance to high-calcium foods may contribute to calcium deficiency.
This can pose a health risk since the body needs calcium to build strong bones, strengthen your heart muscles, control blood pressure, promote nerve function, maintain healthy teeth and gums, reduce the risk of kidney stones, maintain optimal body weight, and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
That being said, L-lycine promotes calcium absorption in the gut and conservation of the absorbed calcium by the kidneys.
In one study, calcium supplementation showed an increase in calcium loss through urine. However, when an L-lycine supplement was introduced, the calcium loss was minimal.
4. It may promote wound healing
L-lycine is essential for collagen formation. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It helps hold the body together, providing structure and strength to the skin and skeletal muscles.
In the presence of a wound, collagen attracts fibroblasts and promotes the deposition of new collagen into the wound bed, which encourages tissue growth and healing. It may also stimulate new blood vessel formation, increasing perfusion to the wound, which further promotes healing
5. It may lower blood pressure
A study on hypertensive men and women with L-lycine deficiency found that blood pressure levels dropped significantly after L-lycine supplementation.
Top Food Sources
The best way to meet your L-lycine requirements is through foods containing the nutrient. These foods also provide other nutrients needed in the body and may help prevent overdose.
L-lycine is high in animal products but can also be found in plant foods such as:
- Roasted soybean – contains 2634 milligrams per 100 grams or 125 percent of the daily requirement
- Pumpkin seeds – Contains 1386 milligrams for every 100 grams or 66 percent of the daily requirements
- White beans – Contains 668 milligrams per 100 grams or 32 percent of the daily requirement
- Other plant foods to enhance your intake include potatoes, peppers, leeks, avocado, pears, dried apricots, kidney beans, chickpeas, cashews, and macadamia.
While consuming these foods, consider their organic versions as some, especially soy, is highly modified.
Supplementation, Dosage, and Side Effects
Instead of running into deficiencies, a supplement comes in handy when you know you’re not able to meet your requirements for a certain nutrient.
An average person should take between 800-3000 milligrams of L-lycine supplement daily.
If prone to cold sores, a daily intake of 1 gram of L-lycine supplement or applying an L-lycine-containing cream may be effective.
L-lycine supplements may have some side effects, such as diarrhea and abdominal pain in some individuals.
It may also not be suitable for someone with kidney issues as L-lycine supplements have been linked to kidney disease.
L-lycine is an essential amino acid necessary for the production of protein in the body.
It offers numerous health benefits, including protecting against cold sores, enhancing cancer treatment, improving calcium absorption, promoting wound healing, and decreasing blood pressure.
L-lycine can be obtained from white beans, soybeans, and pumpkin seeds among others, but it can also be taken as a supplement.
L-lycine supplements are considered safe within the recommended dosage. However, they may cause some side effects in sensitive individuals.
Also, ensure you consult your doctor if you have any underlying medical conditions before using an L-lycine supplement.
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