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Lysine supplementation boosts muscle strength

We have no idea whether this study from India is relevant to strength athletes with a high protein intake, but we thought we'd bring it to your attention. You never know. According to the article that nutritionists at St John's Research Institute in India published a few years ago in Clinical Nutrition, supplementation with the amino acid lysine boosts muscle strength.

Lysine [structural formula shown below] is an essential amino acid. Lysine is the amino acid most quickly compromised in bodybuilders who are vegans. It's not only found in meat, but also in soya and other beans. An average adult needs about 40 mg lysine per kg bodyweight daily, but pregnant women or elderly people needing more protein require more lysine.

We found the table below on

Lysine supplementation boosts muscle strength

The researchers wanted to know how important lysine is for the muscles, so they performed an eight-week human study.

They did an experiment on forty men. Half of them were not well fed, but did consume 40 mg lysine per kg bodyweight. The other half of the men were well fed and consumed 55 mg lysine per kg bodyweight.

The researchers gave half of the men in each group extra lysine for the eight weeks that the experiment lasted. That gave them a daily intake of about 80 mg lysine per kg bodyweight. For a well-fed man weighing 80 kg that would mean about 2 g lysine per day.

The men's muscles did not grow as a result of the lysine supplementation, but the muscle strength of the well-fed men increased by 7.5 percent. The researchers used a hand grip dynamometer to measure the men's strength.

Lysine supplementation boosts muscle strength

The increase in strength in the men who were not well fed was not statistically significant.

The researchers were not able to elucidate how lysine supplementation boosts muscle strength, but in any case found no clear effects on muscle mass or on insulin metabolism.

Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;31(6):903-10.

Combination of L-lysine and L-arginine reduces stress and lowers cortisol levels 21.02.2014

Amino Acids