Is Lysine An Essential Amino Acid?

If you’re picking dietary supplements then you might wonder if lysine is an essential amino acid. This is one of the 20 amino acids found in the human body. The different types of aminos are essential and non-essential.


Is lysine essential amino acid? This is one of the 20 aminos in the human body. They’re consumed from food and supplements. It’s important to get all 20 aminos and sometimes people have to get more NEAAs from food/supplements. Lysine is an important amino for different functions related to proteins, minerals, and the immune system. If you don’t consume enough lysine, it can cause various unwanted side-effects like fatigue and hair loss.

You can get lysine from various outside sources. They include pork/poultry, eggs, and soybeans. Another option is to take dietary supplements, although food is always the best source of nutrients, including amino acids. It’s critical to make sure you’re getting enough of all amino acids. This is important for body functions like building muscle mass. You’ll enough of all EAAs/NEAAs to build and repair muscles. This is critical to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. On the other hand, if you have an amino deficiency this can cause various health issues you’ll want to avoid.   

What Exactly is Lysine?

This is one of the 20 amino acids. We can get aminos from two main sources. In the case of non-essential aminos, our bodies make them so we don’t have to get them from outside sources. However, it’s different in the case of essential aminos. In that situation, you have to get the aminos from food/supplements.

Lysine is important for different body functions. For example, it’s critical for making a nutrient known as “carnitine.” This is important for the conversion of fatty acids to energy. It also helps to lower blood cholesterol. So, it’s especially important if you have high levels of total/bad cholesterol.

Most people consume enough of this amino. However, for those who don’t like vegans and athletes/weightlifters you can boost your level through dietary supplements. There are various symptoms you might experience due to lysine deficiency including:

  • Low appetite
  • Irritability
  • Anemia
  • Nausea
  • Red eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue   

If you’re vegan, you can consume food like peas and beans for a good source of amino acid. These foods are also high in other nutrients like protein and fiber.

Lysine is also used to treat various health conditions including:

  • Herpes (HSV)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Athletic performance

If you want to use lysine for these purposes, you should talk to your doctor first. He/She can guide you about whether or not it’s a good option for you. There are different issues to take up. For example, you’ll want to avoid “interactions” that could cause health issues when the supplement is combined with supplements/medicines.

There are some risks and side-effects to consider. One issue is lysine can boost the body’s calcium absorption. So, it’s something to consider if you’re already consuming big amounts of the mineral calcium.

The amino acid is generally considered to be a safe supplement. However, you should watch out for big amounts in certain situations. They include people with kidney/liver disease and pregnant/breastfeeding women.

Is Lysine an Essential Amino Acid?

Lysine is one of the 9 EAAs. This means you have to get the amino from food and supplements since the body doesn’t produce it.

You can get the amino acid from several kinds of food including:

  • Cheese (parmesan)
  • Eggs
  • Fenugreek seed
  • Fish (sardines and cod)
  • Meat (beef, pork, and chicken)
  • Soybeans (tofu and soybean flour)

It’s important to avoid lysine deficiency. That includes ones like fatigue, nausea, lack of focus, hair loss, red eyes, and anemia.

There are several possible health benefits from lysine including:

Blood Pressure 

One study showed that lysine might help to lower blood pressure. Little research has been done about this use of the amino acid. However, there seems to be some evidence that the supplement might help people who have hypertension. The research that’s been done seems to show that’s one of the possible benefits.


The amino acid might help to treat the herpes virus. It’s believed it can help to prevent how often you get cold sores. This happens due to a particular virus known as HSV-1. The supplement can also treat genital herpes, which is the other main type of herpes. It’s recommended herpes patients take up to 3000mg of lysine daily.

Muscle Mass 

Researchers believe that lysine might help to prevent muscle breakdown in seniors. This is a critical issue because muscle breakdown rates increase as people become older. The amino acid might also help people with mobility problems.


One small study shows that lysine might help to slow down blood sugar spikes right after eating. This could result in new treatments for people with type-2 diabetes. However, more research is needed about this possible use of the EAA.

Calcium Absorption 

This is critical for health benefits like strong teeth/bones. Early research shows that lysine might help to absorb calcium, which could provide these benefits.

Top Benefits of Essential Amino Acids

1. Muscle Growth

BCAAs have been trending in recent years as one of the go-to aminos for muscle building. They make up one-third of the 9 EAAs. However, studies show they’re some of the most critical ones in terms of building/repairing muscle mass. However, you’ll need enough of all the EAAs and NEAAs to achieve this goal.  

2. Energy

Interestingly, all 3 macronutrients are needed to fuel the body. However, they do this in different ways. Certain amino acids are critical for providing the body with energy. Carbs are critical for providing immediate energy. Stored fat can be broken down to fuel the body when carbs are low. Protein is also important to fuel the body and especially body parts like muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.

3. Blood Sugar

Some amino acids are also critical for controlling blood sugar levels. This helps to prevent insulin resistance and prediabetes/diabetes.

4. Neurotransmitters

These are signal-senders in the brain that are critical for body/brain communication. They’re important for different functions like appetite, mood, and sleep. Some EAAs are critical for fueling certain kinds of neurotransmitters. This is important to make sure there’s a good connection between the body and brain.

5. Muscle repair

This is a critical process after a tough workout. The body recovers/repairs itself through the “tear and repair” process that happens each time your body recovers from exercise like weight-training, for example. This involves rest/sleep to repair the tiny tears in the muscle fibers. It usually takes up to 3 days after a hard workout.

6. Other amino acids

One of the interesting functions of some EAAs is to make other amino acids. For example, some amino acids turn into other amino acids. In other cases, the aminos are important for producing other kinds of aminos. In both cases, it’s important to know issues like is lysine essential amino acid.

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