Let’s talk about a specific supplement that I get many questions about. L lysine. There are a lot of speculations regarding this amino acid. And many people ask me whether or not they should take L lysine for acne. Or as an anti-aging supplement to reduce wrinkles.
In this post, I’ll explain what science knows so far and if you really should consider L lysine as a supplement.
I will also give examples of some food sources that are naturally rich in L lysine. And also explain why I love to eat pea protein every day due to its high content of Lysine as well as other skin beneficial amino acids.
This is what I’ll cover:
- What is L lysine?
- L lysine for acne, is it effective?
- Can L lysine help reduce wrinkles?
- Other benefits of L lysine?
- Best food sources of L lysine
*Please note, this post contains affiliate links, and I may receive a small commission if you purchase through any of those links. It doesn’t cost you any extra and I only recommend products I truly love and use myself. You can read my full disclosure here.
What is L lysine?
Lysine is an essential amino acid. Meaning you have to get it from your diet since your body cannot produce it on its own.
L lysine just means the molecule is in its natural form.
The amount of Lysine we need on a daily basis is about 30 mg per kg bodyweight. For a person of 70 kg that would mean an intake of at least 2100 mg of Lysine per day. And for me who is only 54 kg, my daily need is 1620 mg.
L lysine for acne, is it effective?
To this date, the research on L lysine as a treatment for acne is very limited. That does not mean that supplementing with this amino acid won’t have any effect (and countless people are swearing by it). But it means that the evidence from a scientific view is scarce.
What studies have shown so far though, is that l lysine not just helps with producing collagen in the skin. But it also promotes the production of something called carnitine. A transport molecule that helps to convert fatty acids to energy. And this ability is believed to help reduce excess sebum. Which is a key factor in the development of acne.
L lysine has also been shown to play an important role in wound healing. Which in turn is important in order to avoid getting acne scars.
The conclusion regarding L lysine and acne is that you should always make sure to get enough of this amino acid daily. But it’s still unclear if more supplementation in addition to what your body needs, really has an impact.
If you are prone to acne, I recommend you read this post. It’s mostly about how to get rid of large cystic pimples. But it will be helpful for other kinds of acne too.
Tip: I also have a post about Bakuchiol. A very interesting skin care ingredient that is worth trying out if you suffer from acne.
Can L lysine help reduce wrinkles?
Lysine is required for the production of the protein called collagen. Which among other things gives your skin structure and firmness. And since a lack of this protein will lead to wrinkles, lysine does play an important role for youthful skin.
Whether or not lysine can reduce wrinkles if taken in excess is still not shown. But it’s definitely important to get enough of it in order to not impair the collagen production in the skin.
Tip: See my post about Chlorella skin benefits to learn about a very interesting supplement for anti aging.
Other benefits of L lysine?
Lysine may help against herpes outbreaks in doses of at least 3 g per day. But the research is quite scarce. If you are troubled with herpes simplex, getting some extra Lysine from supplements might be worth trying. But always discuss this with your doctor.
Another great benefit of Lysine is that it helps protect your bones. Which is truly important from an anti aging point of view. Since bone loss in the face will worsen both nasolabial folds and marionette lines.
Best food sources of L lysine
Foods high in lysine are meat, fish, dairy, beans, lentils, quinoa, amaranth, and nuts. The foods that don’t have very high amounts of lysine are all grains (except for quinoa and amaranth).
If you want to be on the safe side and add a good supplement of L lysine, then this is an example. The link goes to Iherb, my favorite store for supplements. And it will give you 10 % off your first order. Or 5 % off if you are a returning customer.
I am personally very fond of pea protein. Which also happens to be a superior source of L lysine. As well as other skin beneficial amino acids. I mix it with fruits and berries, as a great snack two times per day.
I get so much L lysine daily that there is no need for me at all to supplements with it. If you’re curious about why pea protein is such a great option for the skin, keep reading.
The benefits of pea protein for skin
Pea protein is a high-quality protein powder made from yellow peas. It contains all nine essential amino acids but is relatively low in methionine. Which I’ll come back to.
When it comes to lysine, one large scoop (30 g) gives you about 1500 mg of this amino acid. That covers 93 % of my daily need. And since I actually eat a large scoop two times daily. Plus a lot of other protein-rich foods. You may see why I don’t feel a need for any supplementation of L-lysine.
As mentioned above. L lysine plays an important role in the production of collagen. And it’s therefore crucial to get enough (and with a margin) of this amino acid daily. In order to keep your skin young and smooth.
Besides being high in lysine. Pea protein is also high in Arginine which also promotes the production of collagen. And it’s high in Glycine, which is one of the main building blocks in collagen.
Pea protein actually has about twice as much Arginine and Glycine as for example dairy protein (casein and whey) and eggs.
In other words, pea protein is a collagen-boosting protein powder that I just love to eat every day!
Other benefits of the pea protein are that it is easy-digestible, allergy-friendly, rich in iron, and a great source of the branched amino acids that are helpful in muscle growth.
I mentioned above though that it’s relatively low in the amino acid called methionine. But Methionine is easily found in many other protein sources and is high in all grains and most nuts.
Personally, I prefer the plain pea protein powder since I know for sure I get enough methionine throughout my day. So one of my favorite brands is this one. There are different flavors but I prefer unflavoured. Since I mix it with fruits and berries.
Both links go to iherb and will give you a 5-10 % off.
Tip: For more in-depth tips about protein intake for optimal skin, see this post.
Does pea protein cause acne?
No, pea protein is one of the safest protein powders to ingest for people concerned about acne. On the contrary, Pea protein has actually been shown to have both anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Meaning it can help protect your skin from inflammatory conditions such as acne, as well as from free radicals.
The protein powders that are associated with increased acne are mostly those produced from dairy. In particular, whey protein is shown to increase insulin as well as sebum production. Which may be the reason why many people notice more acne after taking that kind of protein supplement. But more research is needed.
- L Lysine is an essential amino acid that you need to get daily from your diet.
- L Lysine is important for healthy collagen production, wound healing, and to control excess sebum in your skin.
- This amino acid is also important for keeping your bones healthy and strong.
- There is no evidence that getting more than your daily need will help with acne or more collagen production. But it’s important to get the 30 mg/kg body weight needed per day. If not, you will experience a loss in collagen production which will lead to more skin aging than needed. And impaired wound healing (which could lead to more acne scars).
- The best sources of Lysine are meat, dairy, fish, legumes, nuts quinoa, and amaranth. While most grains (except for quinoa and amaranth) are low in this amino acid.
- My personal favorite source of this amino acid is pea protein. Since it has a high content of not just L Lysine but also Arginine and Glycine which are just as important for healthy collagen production.
- L lysine might help with herpes outbreaks if taken as supplements with 3g/day. But always consult with your doctor.
That’s it! Hope you’ve found this post helpful!
A few words of advice. If you’re troubled with acne you may also have a disrupted skin barrier. I suggest you read my post about skin barrier repair to learn more about how to reset your skin back to normal.
I also recommend you read my post about how to treat cystic acne. This post will be helpful for any kind of acne issues as well.
For anyone concerned about skin aging and want to learn how to get younger-looking skin naturally. Then I have tons of information on this blog. I suggest you start by reading the basics of how to prevent wrinkles.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or any own experience with L lysine that you want to share. Would love to hear!
Until next time, love your skin!