Lysine is an indispensable amino acid that is found in large quantities in muscle tissue. It is needed for proper growth and bone development, and it aids in calcium absorption. Lysine has the ability to enhance immune system function and is reported to be useful for fighting cold sores and herpes viruses.
It is required for the formation of collagen, enzymes, antibodies and other compounds. Together with methionine, iron and vitamins B1, B6 and C, it helps form carnitine, a compound that the body needs in the production of energy from fatty acids.
In terms of bodybuilding, lysine helps to speed recovery of damage caused by overtraining. It also plays an important role in hormone production, maintaining nitrogen levels and building muscle protein. Lysine's effect in strengthening bone tissue also plays a key role in exercise when taken as a supplement.
Mean dietary intake of lysine is 5.3 grams per day and the highest intake is about 12.6 grams per day in the general population. It is normally taken in divided doses before meals. It appears to be most effective when taken on an empty stomach with water. For increasing the release of growth hormone, lysine is recommended before sleep or before exercise.