What is Lysine? (And 9 Ways To Get More of It)

what is lysine

What is Lysine? (And 9 Ways To Get More of It)3 min read


Lysine is one of the essential amino acids that your body requires to build proteins. Since they can’t produce essential amino acids, including lysine into your diet is the only way you can be sure you’re getting it. 

Lysine is very important in supporting your immune system. It may also improve athletic performance. People that have certain health conditions, like herpes simplex virus (HSV) – cold sores and diabetes, may also benefit from extra consumption in their diet.

The typical dosage varies on what you’re using it for. The typical dietary guideline is 1 gram or 1000 milligrams per day. Lucky for you, there are so many different ways to get lysine into your diet to ensure you aren’t mising out on this important nutrient. Keep reading find the best ones for you.

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Benefits of Lysine

what is lysine

Lysine is a hormone protein. These stabilize the basic functions of your body like sleep and metabolism. Amino acids help produce new hormones as cells are constantly broken down and restored. Antibodies, which fight viruses and infections in your body, are made of proteins. Key enzymes, which aid in your body’s natural processes like digestion, are also made of these proteins.

Lysine has been studied for its impact on several health conditions, including:


May bring down high blood pressure (Study)
Can help fight herpes outbreak (Study)
May help with symptoms of anxiety (Study)
May help insulin resistance (Study)

Plant-Based Foods Rich in Lysine

what is lysine

Animal products are the most well-known sources of lysine, but you can still get plenty of it from vegan or vegetarian sources. Many of the foods that have a high count also happen to be vital to a healthy diet. If that tells you anything. Here are some of the great plant-based sources:

Vegetables & Fruits

  • Avocados
  • Dried apricots
  • Beets
  • Leeks
  • Tomatoes
  • Pears
  • Potatoes


  • Tofu
  • Soybeans
  • Soy milk
  • Kidney beans
  • Navy beans
  • Black beans
  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Edamame

Nuts & Seeds

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Cashews
  • Macadamia Nuts


Grains usually aren’t rich in lysine, but there are a few notable exceptions:

  • Quinoa
  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Seitan

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Meat & Dairy Products

what is lysine

Animal products like fish and eggs are chock-full of lysine. Other animal-based sources include:

Dairy-Based Products

  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • Milk


  • Oysters
  • Shrimp
  • Snails


  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken

Other Sources of Lysine

what is lysine


Spirulina is a type of algae that is prepared to be safe for human consumption. Supplements of spirulina and spirulina powder also contain high amounts of lysine.


Lysine supplements are easy to find at most health food stores, over-the-counter pharmacies, and online. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you’re wanting to consume more lysine to treat a health condition.

Keep in mind that lysine supplements are not monitored by the FDA. Make sure to only buy these supplements from suppliers you trust.

This article itself is meant to serve as an educational guide on the benefits and sources of lysine, not a doctor’s note. 

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what is lysine
what is lysine
what is lysine
what is lysine

A psychology and creative-writing major at the University of Missouri. He loves to read and people-watch. He's a huge geek who is not afraid to show it.