Lysine Rich Foods

It is very important to consume lysine-rich foods on a daily basis, so as to supply the body with the necessary lysine required for the body to carry out various functions. Foods like eggs, meat, fruits, nuts, (and many)vegetables, etc. are high in lysine content.
Proteins are the building blocks of our body, which are made up of 20 different amino acids. Of these 20 amino acids, half are known as essential amino acids, while the rest are called non-essential amino acids. The non-essential amino acids are produced by the body itself, which is why we do not need to furnish the body with them additionally. On the other hand, essential amino acids are those amino acids that are not produced by the body and need to be provided to the body, on a timely basis by eating foods rich in them. One such essential amino acid required by the body is Lysine, or L-lysine, which needs to be attained from lysine rich foods.

What is Lysine?

Lysine plays a significant role in overall growth of the body and also helps in carnitine (component that helps lower cholesterol) production. Moreover, it also helps absorb calcium from the body, thereby helping in retaining calcium. This helps strengthen the bones and teeth and prevent osteoporosis. Lysine plays a significant role in collagen formation, which happens to be an important component of connective tissues like the skin, cartilage and the tendon. This is because lysine produces allysine, a derivative in the body, which aids in collages and elastin production.

Let’s not forget how lysine is important for muscle building, injury recovery and the production of enzymes and hormones. It is also known to be effective in treating cold sores and herpes simplex infections. During times of physical stress and strain, as in the case of an athletes body, intense training sessions and workouts causes the body to use up more lysine. Loss of too much lysine can result in cannibalization of body muscle tissues, thus, athletes need to have lysine supplements to avoid any such circumstances.

List of Lysine Rich Foods

The different food items rich in lysine content are as follows:

For Vegetarians

➢ Legumes (Lentils, beans, peas)
➢ Soybean products (Tofu, soy milk)
➢ Fenugreek seeds
➢ Seaweed (Spirulina)
➢ Sprouts
➢ Cheese (Parmesan, Gruyere, Edam, Gouda)
➢ Plain skim yogurt
➢ Dried fruit (Figs)
➢ Brewer’s yeast
➢ Tomato, carrot or orange juice
➢ Fruits (Pears, apricots, mangoes, bananas and apples)
➢ Vegetables (pumpkin, peas, beets,cauliflower, celery)
➢ Nuts (cashew nuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans)

For Non Vegetarians

➢ Eggs
➢ Fish (sardines, cod, flounder)
➢ Beef
➢ Chicken
➢ Pork
➢ Turkey
➢ Shellfish (Shrimp, Oysters)
➢ Liver

While the above-mentioned list consists of food items high in lysine, there are some from the list which contain more arginine content than lysine. During conditions like cold sores, these arginine levels have to be kept under control. Thus, even though lysine is present in nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc. they have to be avoided for faster recovery from cold sores. Shellfish should also be avoided. Consume more of dairy, soybean and meat products to counter the high arginine levels.

Symptoms of Lysine Deficiency

When one does not consume enough lysine rich foods, a lysine deficiency may develop. The symptoms of lysine deficiency are as follows:
Hair Loss
Appetite Loss
Inability to concentrate
Fatigue and lethargy
Bloodshot eyes
Kidney stone formation
Reproductive disorders
Stunted growth
Is Lysine safe?

Lysine is a safe amino acid that helps build, heal and restore the body parts. However, people taking lysine supplements need to be cautious. With lysine supplement intake, there lies the danger of an overdose. This overdose triggers side effects like diarrhea, stomach cramps, gallstone formation, rise in blood cholesterol levels, etc. When had in appropriate amounts, lysine is safe and only benefits the body in several ways.

Generally non-vegetarian people do not encounter lysine deficiencies. It’s the vegans that do not get adequate amount of lysine from their diet. They can easily solve this problem by consuming lysine supplements. Lysine rich foods are to be consumed on a daily basis so as to furnish the body with a constant supply of lysine. Lack of appropriate levels of lysine simply results in several health problems, moreover, having excess of it also triggers side effects. Maintaining the balance is the key to good health. People taking supplements should only take them after consulting their health care provider.
By Priya Johnson
Last Updated: February 23, 2012

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Fenugreek – 6 Reasons Why This Herb and Spice Belongs In Your Medicine Cabinet  

fenugreek428 2 Fenugreek   6 Reasons Why This Herb and Spice Belongs In Your Medicine Cabinet

By John Summerly

Trigonella foenum in graecum (Fenugreek) is a traditional herbal plant used to treat disorders like diabetes, low lactation, respiratory ailments, wounds, inflammation, gastrointestinal ailments, detoxification of heavy metals, pain, colds and even cancer.

Fenugreek is used as an herb (dried or fresh leaves), spice (seeds), and vegetable (fresh leaves, sprouts, and microgreens). Sotolon is the chemical responsible for fenugreek’s distinctive sweet smell.

They contain alkaloids (mainly trigonelline) and protein high in lysine (Lysine is an essential amino acid needed for growth and to help maintain nitrogen balance in the body.) and L-tryptophan. Its steroidal saponins are thought to inhibit cholesterol absorption and synthesis. Trials have shown that fenugreek lowers elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood, but does not lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. The typical range of intake for cholesterol-lowering is 5-30 grams with each meal or 15-90 grams all at once with one meal. As a tincture, 3-4 ml of fenugreek can be taken up to three times per day. Due to the potential uterine stimulating properties of fenugreek, which may cause miscarriages, fenugreek should not be used during pregnancy.

Cuboid-shaped, yellow-to-amber colored fenugreek seeds are frequently encountered in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, used both whole and powdered in the preparation of pickles, vegetable dishes, daals, and spice mixes such as panch phoron and sambar powder. They are often roasted to reduce bitterness and enhance flavor.

It is recognized as a member of the pea family listed as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Fenugreek is high in iron and selenium and is a rich source of viscous fiber (about 27%) and protein (about 25%). Fenugreek contains generous amounts of choline and vitamin A, as well as biotin, inositol, lecithin, PABA and vitamins B1 , C and D. Fenugreek also supplies a sizeable amount of the amino acids arginine, histidine, leucine and lysine.


Scientists from the National University of Singapore, McMaster University (Canada), and Harvard University report that medium and high doses (at least 5 grams per day) of fenugreek seed powder were associated with significant reductions in fasting blood glucose levels in diabetics.

“Our systematic review and meta-analysis suggest that fenugreek seeds may contribute to better glycemic control in persons with diabetes mellitus with a similar magnitude of effect as intensive lifestyle or other pharmaceutical treatment added to standard treatment,” they wrote in the Nutrition Journal.

“Fenugreek is widely available at low cost and generally accepted in resource poor countries such as India and China where a large proportion of persons with diabetes in the world reside. Therefore, fenugreek may be a promising complementary option for the clinical management of diabetes.”

Studies have indicated a potential role of compounds in fenugreek to inhibit enzymatic digestion and the absorption of glucose from the gut, while there is also the potential for an amino acid derivative called 4-hydroxyisoleucine to stimulate glucose-dependent insulin.

“The fenugreek herbal product must be standardized and tested for the composition and can be administered in the form of capsules with a recommended dose of at least 5 g per day.

Results from clinical trials support beneficial effects of fenugreek seeds on glycemic control in persons with diabetes. Fenugreek significantly changes fasting blood glucose.

French scientists have also shown fenugreek stimulates general pancreatic secretion, of use for improving severe diabetes. A study in theEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed fenugreek lowered blood glucose and serum lipid levels in type I diabetes. An earlier study published in this same journal showed similar results in non-insulin-dependent diabetics. Experiments have shown a reduction in urinary glucose by 54%, along with decreased blood glucose and cholesterol levels when defatted fenugreek seed powder was added to the diets of diabetic participants. Other studies have further confirmed fenugreek’s hypoglycemic activity, as well as its hypocholesterolemic ability, due to the high amount of fiber, cellulose and lignin in the defatted portion of the seeds. Fenugreek’s rich supply of steroidal saponins, including diosgenin, have also been implicated as responsible for lowering cholesterol.


Fenugreek seeds are galactagogue, meaning they promote lactation. They are often used to increase milk supply in lactating mothers. Studies have shown that it is a potent stimulator of breast milk production and its use was associated with increases in milk production. 

When it comes to enhancing lactation, fenugreek is in the same class as
milk thistle, anise, fennel seeds, and marshmallow. Usual dose of fenugreek is one to four capsules (580-610 mg) three to four times per day, although as with most herbal remedies there is no standard dosing. The higher of these doses may be required in relactating or adoptive mothers. Alternatively, it can be taken as one cup of strained tea three times per day (1/4 tsp seeds steeped in 8 oz water for 10 minutes).

Fenugreek increases milk supply within 24 to 72 hours. Use during pregnancy is not recommended because of its uterine stimulant effects.


Cancer is the final outcome of a plethora of events. Targeting the proliferation or inducing programmed cell death in a proliferating population is a major standpoint in the cancer therapy and more herbs are being recognized for their potential to effectively stimulate apoptosis as effectively as drugs.

Proliferation of cancer is regulated by several cellular and immunologic processes. Fenugreek inhibits the proliferation by augmenting immune surveillance, silencing acute inflammation, and inducing mediated apoptosis of cancer.

In the journal Integrative Cancer Therapy researchers found that fenugreek along with other medicinal extracts reduced the number, incidence, and multiplicity of tumors, which was confirmed by the pathologic studies that showed regressed tumors.

Results of the study confirmed that fenugreek extract not only limits the rate of proliferation by inhibition of the processes integral to cancer development but also induce programmed cell death of cancer cells leading to fewer and regressed tumors.

Various animal experiments have shown fenugreek inhibits liver cancer cells. In China, fenugreek is employed as a pessary in the treatment of cervical cancer.


In open access, peer-reviewed journal Nutrition Research and Practice, researchers demonstrated that a diet supplemented with fenugreek seeds could offer protection from aluminum toxicity for the kidney, bone and brain, at the same time.

The researchers concluded that fenugreek seeds can be used as a regular nutrient to alleviate the side effects of aluminum ingestion, especially for anybody populations who are more susceptible to developing aluminum toxicity.

The known multiple pharmacological effects of fenugreek, including its antidiabetic, antioxidative, antineoplastic, anti-inflammatory, antiulcerogenic, antipyretic, antitumor and immunomodulatory effects assist in the detoxification process. The active components of fenugreek seeds behind their most common properties have been described as polyphenolic flavonoids, steroid saponins, and mainly galactomannans.


Fenugreek increases the production of mucosal fluids to help remove allergens and toxins from the respiratory tract. Fenugreek acts as an expectorant and antispasmodic to loosen phlegm and help stop chronic coughs. Research has also found that fenugreek induces perspiration to help lower fever, a quality which has been compared by some authorities with that of quinine. It is often included in lung-healing formulas for treating emphysema and lung congestion, as well as allergies, bronchitis, fever, hayfever and respiratory tract infection.


Fenugreek also stimulates the production of digestive fluids to enhance digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Fenugreek is even recommended during convalescence and in cases of anorexia to promote weight gain. Fenugreek provides anti-inflammatory properties which help soothe inflamed tissues, as confirmed by Belgian researchers. In fact, these soothing properties have been found to help stomach problems such as dyspepsia, gastric ulcers and gastritis. Fenugreek even acts as a mild laxative to relieve constipation.

In general, fenugreek encourages an overall improvement in health, weight gain, more efficient protein utilization, reduced phosphorous secretion, and increased red blood cell counts. It is a worthy medicinal herb in any kitchen or medicine cabinet.

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John Summerly is nutritionist, herbologist, and homeopathic practitioner. He is a leader in the natural health community and consults athletes, executives and most of all parents of children on the benefits of complementary therapies for health and prevention.