An interesting study concludes that foods fortified with Lysine can reduce anxiety and stress in people whose diets are Lysine-deficient. This reflects the importance of the relationship between amino acid nutrition and mental health and more specifically, Lysine and stress.
The amino acid Lysine is a vital building block for all protein in the body. Lysine plays a major role in calcium absorption; building muscle protein; recovering from surgery or sports injuries; and the body’s production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.
This important amino acid is found in many foods, and is easily consumed as part of a balanced diet. High protein foods such as such as eggs, meat (specifically red meat, lamb, pork, and poultry), soy, cheese (particularly Parmesan), and certain fish (such as cod and sardines) contain Lysine.
However, Lysine deficiencies can be found in communities consuming wheat as a staple food. Lysine is the limiting amino acid (the essential amino acid found in the smallest quantity in the particular foodstuff) in most cereal grains.
Lysine and stress — reduction through fortification
As part of a three-month wheat fortification trial, dietary data were collected on five impoverished communities in northwest Syria, who depended mainly on wheat for their dietary supply of protein.
The study, reported by Nevin Scrimshaw, Miro Smriga, Shibani Ghosh, et al, from the Food and Nutrition Program, United Nations University, hypothesized that fortifying a lysine-deficient diet in poor communities would reduce anxiety and stress, and improve the quality of life. In other words, they believed that there was a genuine connection between Lysine and stress.
The study found that people on the lysine fortification diet reported significantly reduced chronic anxiety. Results indicate that not only long-term anxiety but also acute stress response is lessened by lysine fortification.
It is hoped that stress-related problems, which range from high anxiety to infectious diseases, will be solved by offering lysine fortified foods to other impoverished populations with no other source of dietary protein.
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