Lysine is an essential amino acid, which means that it must be obtained through the diet in adequate quantities to meet the body's needs. Lysine plays an important role in the formation, maintenance and repair of collagen (an important component of bones and connective tissues including muscle, skin, tendon, and cartilage). It is therefore also important for those recovering from surgery or sports-related injuries. Lysine is also involved in the production of antibodies, which strengthens the immune system. It is well-known for its anti-viral properties, especially against the herpes virus. Studies have shown that supplemental L-lysine in combination with vitamin C and flavonoids can effectively fight and/or prevent herpes outbreaks. Lysine, when combined with arginine stimulates the release of human growth hormone, which boosts metabolic function and increases the rate at which fat is burnt for energy. Growth hormone also has an anabolic effect, promoting protein formation and tissue growth. Good sources of lysine include cheese (particularly parmesan), eggs, fish (such as cod and sardines), soy products (particularly tofu), nuts, red meat and yeast.  (For more detailed information, please visit ISM’s searchable database: Nutraceutical Search.)



The pathogenesis of hemangiomas is still largely unknown and the current therapy, such as systemic corticosteroid, vincristine, and interferon-alpha, is toxic and remains unsatisfactory. A nutrient mixture (NM) containing lysine, proline, ascorbic acid and green tea extract has shown significant anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor effect against a number of cancer cell lines…….. results suggest that NM may have therapeutic potential in treating infantile hemangioendotheliomas and, perhaps, other cutaneous vascular tumors.

o      Roomi, MW, Kalinovsky, T, Niedzwiecki, A & Rath, M (2009). Antiangiogenic properties of a nutrient mixture in a model of hemangioma. Exp Oncol. 31(4).

Cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women, once metastasized, leads to poor prognosis. We investigated the antitumor effect of a nutrient mixture (NM) containing lysine, proline, arginine, ascorbic acid, and green tea extract on human cervical cancer cells Hela (CCL-2) and DoTc2 4510 by measuring cell proliferation (MTT assay), modulation of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and MMP-9) expression (gelatinase zymography), and cancer cell invasive potential (Matrigel)…….. Our results suggest that the mixture of lysine, proline, arginine, ascorbic acid, and green tea extract has potential in the treatment of cervical cancer by inhibiting critical steps in cancer development and spread.

o      Roomi, MW, Ivanov, V, Kalinovsky, T, Niedzwiecki, A & Rath, M (2006). Suppression of human cervical cancer cell lines Hela and DoTc2 4510 by a mixture of lysine, proline, ascorbic acid, and green tea extract. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 16(3),1241-7.

Five-year survival is limited to 60% in renal cancer patients at diagnosis. Due to the cancer's resistance to conventional treatments and associated high morbidity, we investigated the antimetastatic effects of a specific nutrient mixture (NM) containing lysine, proline, arginine, ascorbic acid and green tea extract on human renal adenocarcinoma cell line 786-0 by measuring: cell proliferation, modulation of MMP-2 and -9 secretion, and cancer cell invasive potential…….. Our results support a potential role for the nutrient mixture tested in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, by inhibition of MMP-2 and MMP-9 secretion and invasion.

o      Roomi, MW, Ivanov, V, Kalinovsky, T, Niedzwiecki, A & Rath, M (2006). Anticancer effect of lysine, proline, arginine, ascorbic acid and green tea extract on human renal adenocarcinoma line 786-0. Oncol Rep. 16(5), 943-7.

AIMS: Bladder cancer, the fourth highest incident cancer in men and tenth in women, is associated with a high rate of recurrence, even when treated in situ, and prognosis is poor once the cancer metastasizes to distant sites. Based on anticancer properties, we investigated the effect of a mixture of lysine, proline, arginine, ascorbic acid, and green tea extract on human bladder cancer cells T-24 by measuring: proliferation, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression, and cancer cell invasive potential……… Our results suggest that our nutrient mixture is an excellent candidate for therapeutic use in the treatment of bladder cancer, by inhibiting critical steps in cancer development and spread, such as MMP secretion and invasion.

o      Roomi, MW, Ivanov, V, Kalinovsky, T, Niedzwiecki, A & Rath, M (2006). Antitumor effect of ascorbic acid, lysine, proline, arginine, and green tea extract on bladder cancer cell line T-24. Int J Urol. 13(4), 415-9.

The high incidence of lung cancer and ineffective toxic action of current mono and doublet chemotherapy approaches result in poor patient survival. Further, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are implicated in neoplastic invasion and metastasis. Based on this, the authors investigated the effect of a dietary micronutrient mixture (NM) containing lysine, proline, arginine, ascorbic acid, and green tea extract on the tumor growth of human lung carcinoma cell A-549 xenografts in athymic nude mice……… Suppression of lung tumor growth in nude mice and inhibition of MMP secretion and Matrigel invasion suggest NM may act as an anticancer agent and as such warrants further investigation.

o      Roomi, MW, Ivanov, V, Kalinovsky, T, Niedzwiecki, A & Rath. M (2006). In vivo and in vitro antitumor effect of a unique nutrient mixture on lung cancer cell line A-549. Exp Lung Res. 32(9), 441-53.


Herpes simplex is a common viral infection of the skin or mucous membranes. The lesions caused by this infection are often painful, burning, or pruritic, and tend to recur in most patients. Short-term treatment with acyclovir can accelerate the healing of an acute outbreak, and continuous acyclovir therapy is often prescribed for people with frequent recurrences. While this drug can reduce the recurrence rate by 60-90 percent, it can also cause a wide array of side effects, including renal failure, hepatitis, and anaphylaxis. Safe and effective alternatives are therefore needed. There is evidence that certain dietary modifications and natural substances may be useful for treating active Herpes simplex lesions or preventing recurrences. Treatments discussed include lysine, vitamin C, zinc, vitamin E, adenosine monophosphate, and lemon balm.

o      Gaby, AR (2006). Natural remedies for Herpes simplex. Altern Med Rev. 11(2), 93-101.

L-lysine, an essential amino acid, inhibits normal replication of Herpes simplex virus (HSV), shortening the normal course and duration of the disease. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of a combination of L-lysine with botanicals and other nutrients in relieving the symptoms of facial and circumoral herpes………. Overall data indicated significant improvement in participants by the sixth day of treatment for all but two participants. There were no adverse effects reported during this study.

o      Singh, BB, Udani, J, Vinjamury, SP, Der-Martirosian, C, Gandhi, S, Khorsan, R, Nanjegowda, D & Singh, V (2005). Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes. Altern Med Rev. 10(2), 123-7.


BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown an effect of lysine fortification on nutrition and immunity of poor men, women, and children consuming a predominantly wheat-based diet. OBJECTIVE: To examine the lysine value of diets and the effect of lysine fortification on functional protein status, anthropometry, and morbidity of men, women, and children in rural Syria………. CONCLUSION: Lysine fortification of wheat flour demonstrated a positive effect on diarrheal morbidity in women. The effect could be attributed to an improvement in protein utilization but possibly also to a direct effect of lysine in gastrointestinal tract.

o      Ghosh, S, Pellett, PL, Aw-Hassan, A, Mouneime, Y, Smriga, M & Scrimshaw, NS (2008). Impact of lysine-fortified wheat flour on morbidity and immunologic variables among members of rural families in northwest Syria. Food Nutr Bull. 29(3), 163-71.

Fortification with lysine to improve the protein value of human diets that are heavily based on cereals has received support…….. we should now consider adding lysine to the flour consumed by the deprived people in the poorest regions of the world to improve both their nutrition and their resistance to disease.

o      Pellett, PL & Ghosh, S (2004). Lysine fortification: past, present, and future. Food Nutr Bull. 25(2), 107-13.

Lysine is a limiting amino acid in diets based on wheat as the staple. In experimental animals, prolonged dietary lysine inadequacy increases stress-induced anxiety. If observed in humans, such a result would have a strong implication for the relationship between nutrition and communal quality of life and mental health. As part of a 3-month randomized double-blind study, we tested whether lysine fortification of wheat reduces anxiety and stress response in family members in poor Syrian communities consuming wheat as a staple food. In the lysine-fortified group, the plasma cortisol response to the blood drawing as a cause of stress was reduced in females, as was sympathetic arousal in males as measured by skin conductance. Lysine fortification also significantly reduced chronic anxiety as measured by the trait anxiety inventory in males. These results suggest that some stress responses in economically weak populations consuming cereal-based diets can be improved with lysine fortification.

o      Smriga, M, Ghosh, S, Mouneimne, Y, Pellett, PL & Scrimshaw, NS (2004). Lysine fortification reduces anxiety and lessens stress in family members in economically weak communities in Northwest Syria. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 101(22), 8285-8.