Lysine, also known as L-lysine, is an important amino acid that your body needs for healthy growth and development of body tissues. Lysine is essential for production of collagen, the primary building block of the cartilage, tendons, bones and skin. Lysine is also required for absorbing calcium from foods. It is involved in production of the amino acid carnitine. Deficiency of lysine causes lethargy, loss of appetite, anemia, irritation, dizziness and nausea. Depletion of the lysine reserve of the body causes stunted growth in children and fertility problems in adults. Insufficient intake of lysine rich foods causes deficiency of this important nutrient. Lysine is an essential amino acid. Unlike non-essential and conditionally essential amino acids, your body cannot synthesize essential amino acids. Therefore, consuming foods that contain lysine is the only way to meet the lysine requirement of your body. Your exact requirement of lysine depends upon your body weight. According to the World Health Organization, an average person needs 13.6 mg of lysine for each pound of body weight. To prevent deficiency of lysine, add the following lysine rich foods to your diet.
Chicken is an excellent source of lysine. 100 grams of cooked chicken contains about 3 grams of lysine, which is sufficient to meet the recommended lysine need of an average healthy person. Moreover, the saturated fat free portions of chicken supply all the other essential amino acids your body needs.
Red meat is a rich source of lysine. From 100 grams of beef you will get more than 3.5 grams of lysine. Lamb and pork are other rich sources of lysine. However, along with protein, red meat also contains saturated fats. Hence, eat red meat occasionally or consume the lean portions to meet your recommended lysine need.
Parmesan cheese is a good source of lysine. You can get about 0.15 gram of lysine by consuming one tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese. Although parmesan cheese is the best source of lysine among the different types of cheese, you can get a significant amount of the amino acid by consuming other types of cheese also.
Fish is a healthy source of lysine. From a 3 ounce serving of cooked tuna you can get enough lysine to meet your daily recommended allowance of the amino acid. Salmon, cod, mackerel and haddock are especially rich in lysine.
Egg is another good source of lysine, worth including in your daily diet. From a whole egg you will get 456 mg of lysine, which is more than a fifth of the daily amount of lysine recommended for an average person.
For vegans, roasted soybeans are an excellent source of lysine. 100 grams of roasted soybean contains enough lysine to meet your entire daily recommended lysine need. Other soy products such as tofu, soy flour and tempeh are other good sources of lysine you can add to your diet.