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Lysine is an essential amino acid and may be classified as a nutritional sports ergogenic Lysine 2 Canadian Academy of Sports Nutrition caasnaid. Oral intake of lysine is theorized to increase growth hormone levels. The proposed ergogenic effect of lysine is attributed to its ability to increase GH and insulin. Lysine aids in absorption of calcium and may have a positive effect in the treatment of osteoporosis. It is also required for collagen formation.

Lysine, with the help of vitamin C and vitamin B6, plays a role in the formation of carnitine, an amino acid that burns fat and can increase endurance in athletes. Lysine deficiency may result in tiredness, fatigue, and growth retardation.

One of the interesting effects of lysine is its ability to fight cold sores (herpes viruses). It is claimedthat lysine reduces the viral growth and can ameliorate cold sores. In one study in 1984 conducted by the Mayo Clinic, it was shown that lysine reduced the recurrence of cold sores. Some studies claim that lysine can prevent recurrence by 96-99%. While herpes virus can be inhibited by lysine, it depends on the presence of arginine for its replication and growth.

For dietary changes and supplementation in cold sores, see "Cold Sores" under the section of "Medicinal Nutrition".

Non – Athletic Benefits of Lysine:

The following conditions may benefit from lysine:

  1. Cold sores.
  2. Shingles (Zona).
  3. Herpes of the genitalia.
  4. Osteoarthritis.
  5. Osteoporosis.

Dosage and Side Effects:

There is no standard dosage for lysine. To prevent recurrence of herpes virus, it is recommended using 1 to 3 grams per day. Athletes can use 2 to 3 grams in divided dosage, one hour before exercise and at bedtime.

Athletes involved in high intensity training need high amounts of lysine.

Though there is in no side effects at suggested doses, abdominal cramps and transient diarrhea have been reported in those taking higher doses. Furthermore, some studies have linked high doses of lysine with increased risk of gallstones and elevated levels of cholesterol. They need more investigation to be proved.