Lysine for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Potential Benefits

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What Is Lysine?

Lysine, also called L-lysine, is an essential amino acid. "Essential" means that your body doesn't produce it, so you get it through diet and supplementation.

While more research needs to be done to confirm these findings, some studies have linked lysine to:

  • Suppression of herpes viruses;
  • Increasing calcium absorption, which may be helpful in osteoporosis;
  • Lowering glucose levels;
  • Alleviating migraines;
  • Lessening anxiety;
  • Aiding in wound and fracture healing.

Lysine for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Lysine has not been researched specifically in connection with fibromyalgia (FMS) or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). However, it is somewhat popular in people with these conditions.

A look at the above list of possible effects illustrates why. Research shows that some cases of ME/CFS may be linked to human herpesvirus-6, which causes roseola in babies. Some researchers have hypothesized about a possible link between herpes simplex 1 (the cold sore virus) and FMS.

Additionally, studies show that FMS may be a risk factor for osteoporosis, making fracture healing important. Also, some people with these conditions report slow healing.

Some doctors believe people with FMS and ME/CFS are especially prone to diabetes, making glucose control beneficial for us.

Many of us have frequent migraines, and a change in headache type or severity is part of the diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS.

Anxiety is a common symptom of FMS and ME/CFS.

A single supplement that could help with all of these problems is bound to tempt us to try it. Anecdotally, some people say lysine helps alleviate symptoms while others say it's had no effect on them.

Until controlled studies are performed and replicated, we won't be able to say for sure whether it is effective in FMS and ME/CFS.

Lysine Dosage

When taken as a supplement, a typical dosage of lysine is 1 g per day, possibly increasing to 3g daily during a herpes outbreak. This dosage level is believed to be safe in healthy adults.

Lysine supplementation may not be appropriate for those on diabetes medications (because of its effect on glucose) or who take calcium supplements.

Lysine in Your Diet

Many foods contain lysine, including:

  • Red meat, pork and poultry,
  • Dairy products,
  • Some fish, including cod and sardines,
  • Nuts,
  • Eggs,
  • Soybeans,
  • Legumes.

Lysine Side Effects

High doses of lysine may cause gallstones, kidney dysfunction or kidney failure.

Typical doses are linked to some digestive side effects, including nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

Lysine counteracts the essential amino acid arginine, so if you're taking arginine supplements adding lysine may be counterproductive.

To avoid negative interactions, be sure to talk to your doctor and pharmacist when you're considering new supplements.

More Supplements for Immune Function

Also see:

Sources:

Abate G, et al. Minerva Med. 1994 May;85(5):253-9. The effects of the carbocalcitonin + arginine-lysine-lactose combination in senile involutional osteoporosis.

Chapenko S, et al. Adv Virol. 2012;2012:205085. Association of active human herpesvirus-6, -7 and parvovirus b19 infection with clinical outcomes in patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome.

Gaby AR. Altern Med Rev. 2006 Jun;11(2):93-101. Natural remedies for Herpes simplex.

Huang M, Joseph JW. Islets. 2012 May 1;4(3):210-22. Metabolomic analysis of pancreatic beta-cell insulin release in response to glucose.

Krymchantowski AV, et al. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2001;59(1):46-49. Oral lysine clonixinate in the acute treatment of migraine: a double-blind placebo-controlled study.

Mirmiranpour H, et al. Thromb Res. 2012 Sep;130(3):e13-9. Investigation of the mechanism(s) involved in decreasing incread fibrinogen activity in hyperglycemic conditions using L-lysine supplementation.

Olama SM, et al. Rheumatol Int. 2012 Feb 4. Serum vitamin D level and bone mineral density in premenopausal Egyptian women with fibromyalgia

Singh BB, et al. Altern Med Rev. 2005;10(2):123-7. Safety and effectiveness of an L-lysine, zinc, and herbal-based product on the treatment of facial and circumoral herpes.

Sinha S, Goel SC. Indian J Orthop. 2009 Oct-Dec; 43(4): 328–334. Effect of amino acids lysine and arginine on fracture healing in rabbits: A radiological and histomorphological analysis.

Smriga M, et al. Biomed Res. 2007 Apr;28(2):85-90. Oral treatment with L-lysine and L-arginine reduced anxiety and basal cortisol levels in healthy humans.

Yunus MB. Pain Res Treat. 2012;2012:584573. The prevalence of fibromyalgia in other chronic pain conditions.

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