The Amino Acids Section
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Lysine is an essential amino acid that is well known for its antiviral properties. It helps prevent outbreaks of herpes and cold sores, and is needed for hormone production and the growth and maintenance of bones in both children and adults.
Lysine is involved in the production off antibodies for a strong, healthy immune system, which may be part of the reason it is so effective at fighting herpes viruses. Lysine also helps prevent the bodyís absorption of the amino acid arginine, which the herpes virus must have in order to replicate. Studies have shown that taking supplemental L-lysine in combination with vitamin C and flavonoids can effectively fight and/or prevent herpes outbreaks. Results of a six-month trial involving more than 50 people indicate that lysine is far more effective than a placebo in preventing cold sores. Lysine supplements have also been used to prevent eruptions of shingles, a blistering condition that is caused by the herpes varicella-zoster. Lysine also helps herpes and cold sores heal more quickly. This amino acid promotes the formation of both collagen and muscle protein, and may help speed recovery from surgery and sports injuries as well.
Lysine is one of the essential amino acids, which means it cannot be manufactured in the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. Good sources of lysine include cheese, eggs, fish, lima beans, milk, potatoes, red meat, soy products, and yeast.
Most people get enough lysine from their diet, but there have been recorded cases of lysine deficiency, particularly in those that have a low-protein diet or eating disorder. A lysine deficiency may include symptoms of bloodshot eyes, hair loss, an inability to concentrate, irritability, lack of energy, poor appetite, reproductive disorders, retarded growth, and weight loss.
People suffering from conditions caused by any form of herpes virus may benefit greatly from lysine supplementation, but should first consult their healthcare professionalómost nutritionally oriented physicians will combine lysine therapy with conventional antiviral medications such as acyclovir or valacyclovir.
Lysine supplements are available in stand-alone supplements or in combination supplements, particularly those marketed for treatment of herpes outbreaks. It comes in tablet, capsule, powder, and liquid forms. The usual dose is 500 to 1000 milligrams each day in capsules, although those with herpes generally take as much as 6 grams each day to control their symptoms.
Doses of more than 10 grams each day may cause stomach cramps or diarrhea. In very large doses (10 to 30 grams a day), lysine increases the toxicity of aminoglycoside antibiotics, such as gentamicin, neomycin, and streptomycin.
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