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General Information

Lysine is one of the essential amino acids. This means that although the body needs lysine to make proteins, it cannot manufacture its own lysine. The body must get the lysine it needs from sources like meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and plants like soy and other legumes.

Common Name(s)

L-lysine, lys, lysine

Scientific Name(s)

L-2,6-diaminohexanoic acid

Scientific Name(s)

Lysine can be obtained from foods and supplements (for people using lysine for medical purposes) and it is available in capsules, tablets, chewable tablets/gummies, strips, powders, and liquids.

Typically, 1,000 mg orally (by mouth) 1 to 3 times per day is recommended to reduce the recurrence of HSV infection (e.g., cold sores).

Do not use lysine for more than 12 months at doses higher than 3 g per day without checking with your health care provider.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Lysine is used orally (by mouth):

  • as an essential amino acid for the maintenance of good health
  • to help reduce the recurrence of HSV infection (e.g., cold sores)
  • to help in formation of collagen

Lysine has also been used to:

  • treat metabolic disorders
  • treat lysine deficiency
  • increase calcium absorption
  • manage pain
  • manage type 2 diabetes
  • improve athletic performance
  • reduce stress and anxiety

The use of lysine to prevent or treat HSV infections such as cold sores has mixed results. There is limited evidence to support its use in this condition and other above-mentioned uses.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Lysine is likely safe when used at recommended doses (<3000mg/day) for up to 12 months. If you are unsure about the dose you are currently taking, please consult with your health care practitioner. Side effects may include cramping, stomach pain, and diarrhea. Rarely, it can cause kidney damage.

Lysine may increase absorption of calcium and decrease the loss of calcium in urine. To avoid calcium toxicity, check with your health care provider before using lysine if you are taking calcium supplements.

Use of lysine during pregnancy and breast-feeding is not recommended for purposes other than lysine deficiency. Consult a health care practitioner if you are considering taking lysine while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Do not use lysine if you:

  • are allergic to lysine
  • have kidney problems

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider.  Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.


  1. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products. Lysine.
  2. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Lysine.

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