Lysine: Cold Sores, Strong Bones, and Muscle Gains

Building the physique you want to see in the mirror requires a lot of things. Getting the right amino acids into your body is one such requirement. But do you know which ones you need? And why they're important? Most people's answer may have something to do with "because they are the building blocks of muscle", but it's actually a little more complicated than that.

Take Lysine, for example. It's an essential amino acid, which means that you have to ingest it in order to reap its benefits; your body cannot synthesize it on its own the way it can with so many other proteins. And if you don't get enough of it, it can seriously handicap your gains. Below, we'll help explain exactly how beneficial lysine is for the human body.

The Many Benefits of Lysine

Lysine is most famous for its ability to help repress the activity of the herpes virus in the human body. But that may come at a price (See below). Some other great things lysine does for your body include:

  • Improving bone health. You can make your muscles as big as you want, but you won't be able to lift a chubby-looking feather without strong bones (and tendons/ligaments). Lysine helps the body absorb calcium and store it where it's needed.
  • Fights/delays hair loss. Lysine, together with a few other important amino acids (including glycine) are the building blocks of keratin. And without keratin, you can't make new hair.
  • Reduces anxiety. Studies show that supplementing with lysine in both humans and cats can boost serotonin levels, making people and pets happier and more capable of dealing with emotional stress

Lysine and Arginine: "It's Complicated"

Lysine and Arginine have a complicated relationship. On the one hand, they need each other in order to help you meet your gym goals. A 2013 study from the University of Maryland showed that weightlifters who supplement with lysine and arginine produce more HGH (human growth hormone), even while at rest, than those who don't supplement at all.

On the other hand, they can get in each other's way. While lysine is good for inhibiting HSV activity in the body, arginine actually increases viral replication, potentially leading to more frequent and more severe outbreaks. But if you don't get enough arginine, it can compromise your immune system and your ability to fight other types of infections and diseases. So finding balance is key.

How to Get Your Lysine

Since lysine is an essential amino acid, you will have to ingest it somehow. Getting it through your food is the most efficient way to get the job done. The good news is that there are lots of delicious foods that are high in lysine, including beef, cheese, shrimp, nuts, eggs, and lentils.

But you may still struggle to get enough if you're relying on whole foods alone to hit your lysine quota. A healthy 150 lb. person should be getting at least 2 grams (that's 2,000 mg) per day; but if you weigh more than that, and especially if you work out frequently, you'll need more. A lot more. And the most efficient way to get what you need is from superior bodybuilding supplements like Growth Factor.