Tag Archives: L-lysine

Lysine Deficiency in Vegans and Vegetarian Diet

Lysine is an amino acid that is very often found in deficient levels within vegetarians, and especially vegans. Lysine is found in abundance within meats and other protein foods, such as beef, turkey, pork, lamb, chicken, as well as fish and eggs. Since vegans and vegetarians do not typically consume animals or their products, the levels of lysine are sometimes dangerously low. How can this be helped?

Vegetarian foods that are highest in lysine

Although meat contains all 22 common amino acids, including lysine, it is not a product that vegetarians—and especially vegans–consume, Below are some suggestions for a high-lysine diet and the kind of protein foods that can provide this important amino acid.

Lysine from protein foods should include eating 1.0 to 1.1 grams/kilogram of body weight daily (for adults). This is especially important if you are over the age of 60. Vegetarian sources of lysine-containing foods, for the vegetarian that allows no mammals, but do allow some animal products, include these…

Ovo-vegetarians can eat eggs, which have all 22 amino acids, including plenty of lysine.

Pescetarians eat fish, which is also an excellent source, plus have heart-healthy oils for cardiovascular health.

Lacto-vegetarians eat milk / dairy products, which contain lesser amounts of this amino acid, but definitely more than vegetable sources.

Vegan foods high in lysine

There are definitely some high-lysine vegan foods that are available for people who do not eat any animal products whatsoever. Vegetable sources for lysine, which should be eaten daily, include:


Legumes include soybeans, and products of soybeans (such as tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy protein, etc.), and beans (garbanzo, pinto, black beans, and other dry beans) and their products (refried beans, hummus, falafel), and peas (split, green peas, black-eyed, etc.).

Nine essential amino acids cannot be produced by the body, so must be taken in via food or through supplementation. Legumes and seitan—per serving—have the highest amount of lysine. In fact, the highest vegan foods also include tempeh, tofu, soy meats, lentils, and seitan.

Lysine is also found in fairly decent quantities within quinoa and pistachios.

The US RDA recommendation for lysine from proteins is about 1g/kg protein for children, and .8g/kg for people aged 18-59, and up to 1.3g/kg protein for people over 60.

Lysine, since it is an amino acid, can also be taken as a dietary supplement from the health food store or drug stores. Overall, there is no reason why one has to give up their vegan or vegetarian lifestyle just because they are deficient in this aminio acid. There are ample ways to include it via foods or supplementation into your daily regimen.



Can L-Lysine Help Treat Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that is estimated to affect 300,000 Canadians, and the American numbers are staggering. Can the amino acid L-lysine help? 

Globally, up to 0.7 per cent of the population is diagnosed with the mental disorder. Characterized by impairment in an individual’s ability to think clearly and manage emotions, symptoms of schizophrenia can include delusions, paranoia, disorganized speech and thought processes, and auditory hallucinations. Individuals living with the disorder may encounter significant social or occupational obstacles.

Because both environmental and genetic factors contribute to the development of schizophrenia, researchers at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto examined if L-lysine could be an effective adjunctive treatment for the disorder.

Previous studies suggest that the brain’s nitric oxide signalling system can be a contributing factor in developing schizophrenia. Since L-lysine is an amino acid that interferes with nitric oxide production, researchers Caroline Wass et al. hypothesized that adjunctive L-lysine treatment would alleviate the severity of symptoms and improve cognition in persons living with schizophrenia.

Lysine is an amino acid that can be readily absorbed from the intestine and has high brain penetration. Previous research have tested lysine as treatment for osteoporosis and recurrent herpes infection.

The effect of L-lysine on the symptoms of schizophrenia

For the single-blinded, crossover study ten patients with schizophrenia were used. Six grams of L-lysine or a placebo was administered daily to the participants as an add-on to their usual antipsychotic medication. The treatment took the form of L-lysine dissolved into a soft drink, or only the soft drink alone for the placebo group.

The experimental trial continued over a period of four weeks and then treatment crossed over for another four weeks. Clinical assessments of symptom severity and functional outcome were made at baseline, after four weeks and at the end of the trial after eight weeks. Blood samples and cognitive performance tests were also taken.

After evaluating the data, researchers Wass et al. found that L-lysine treatments significantly increased the concentration of the amino acid in the blood without causing adverse side effects. There was significant decrease in the measure for psychosis severity, especially the symptoms of delusion and paranoia. Problem solving abilities and cognitive flexibility were also significantly improved after L-lysine treatment.

Based on these results, the researchers believe that L-lysine can have valuable potential as treatment for schizophrenia.



Can L-lysine Help Alleviate Migraines?

Migraines are a common chronic neurological disorder characterized by moderate or severe pulsating headache attacks along with a number of autonomic nervous system symptoms. These symptoms may emerge as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia), and/or increased sensitivity to sound (phonophobia). L-lysine clonixinate (lysine clonixinate) is a form of L-lysine amino acid and may be able to help with migraines.

Migraines can last anywhere from two to 72 hours and are usually treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or analgesic drugs such as ibuprofen and paracetamol, and antiemetic drugs for nausea. It is estimated that 15% of the population suffer from migraines.

Researchers at the Headache Center of Rio in Brazil evaluated the efficacy and safety of an intravenous administration of L-lysine clonixinate and dipyrone for the treatment of severe headaches. L-lysine clonixinate is a form of amino acid L-lysine that is derived from nicotinic acid and serves as safe anti-inflammatory and analgesic compound. Dipyrone is a fast-acting non-opiate analgesic drug that is a common form of migraine treatment for emergency departments of Brazil.

What is L-Lysine Good for?

For the experiment researchers Abouch Krymchantowski, Henrique Carneiro, Jackeline Barbosa and Carla Jevoux recruited 30 participants from 18 to 48 years who have complaints of migraines. The subjects were split into two groups and given either L-lysine clonixinate (21 mL of 0.9% saline and 4 mL of 200 mg L-lysine clonixinate) or dipyrone (23 mL of 0.9% saline and 2 mL of 1000 mg dipyrone) for treatment of their severe migraine attack. Saline solution was used to dilute the drugs since a burning sensation at the site of injection is a common effect of L-lysine clonixinate. At half-hour intervals after administration of the injection, headache intensity, nausea, photophobia and other side effects were measured and recorded.

After evaluating the data, researchers Krymchantowski, Carneiro, Barbosa and Jevoux found at 30 minutes after injection, 0% of the dipyrone group and 13% of the L-lysine clonixinate group were free of migraine pain. At the 60-minute mark, pain free participants had increased to 13% of the dipyrone group and 73% of the L-lysine clonixinate group.

By the end of the 90-minute treatment, 33% of the dipyrone participants were pain free while almost 87% of the L-lysine clonixinate participants were free from migraine pain. Both drugs were effective in relieving nausea and photophobia by the end of treatment but more side effects, especially burning at the site of injection, was reported for the L-lysine clonixinate group.

Based on these results, the researchers conclude that L-lysine clonixinate may be a better option for treating severe migraine attacks, particularly when other drugs have shown to be ineffective for the patient.