L-lysine is an essential amino acid that is not produced by the body. A lack of lysine in the diet can lead to a number of health conditions, including anemia, slow growth rate, mood swings, fatigue, lack of focus and weight and appetite loss. According to Phyllis Balch in her book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing," lysine is important in the formation of antibodies, hormones and some enzymes. It also balances nitrogen levels and aids in the utilization of calcium for bone growth. Lysine is often used as a supplement in the treatment of the herpes virus.
Increase the absorption of lysine-rich foods, such as like eggs, fish, dairy products, lima beans and red meat. Foods that are high in lysine are often also high in cellulose and protein, which can be challenging for a compromised digestive tract to assimilate. Supplementing with digestive enzymes will greatly enhance the digestion of nutrients from foods.
Supplement with vitamin C. Taking lysine with vitamin C can help to create a stronger immune response against herpes outbreaks. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and has the added benefit of enhancing the antioxidant power of vitamin E.
Choose a lysine supplement that has added vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 is sometimes added to supplements to increase the absorption and resulting effectiveness of the main ingredients. However, if you are already supplementing with vitamin B-6 make sure that you do not exceed the optimum daily allowance.
Always follow the label directions. If you are supplementing lysine, read the recommended dose and directions on the bottle. They will advise you whether to take lysine on an empty stomach or with a meal for better absorption and utilization.
Lysine may be taken topically and is available as creams and lip salves. Stay hydrated to increase the absorption of nutrients and maintain optimum body functions. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can improve immune system health and may reduce the need for lysine supplementation. When using digestive enzymes, keep in mind that they must be taken with each meal to aid in digestion. They are also not recommended for children.
If you are supplementing lysine to help prevent herpes virus outbreaks, avoid arginine and arginine-rich foods. Supplementation with lysine does not cure the herpes virus and does not prevent it from being contagious.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing;" Phyllis Balch; 2000
Based in Colorado, Jacqueline Lerche has been writing alternative health, natural science and environment-related articles since 2009. Lerche holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and an Environmental Affairs Certification from Colorado State University.