First I want to welcome all new subscribers to the newsletter and to give sincere thanks to long term subscribers who
have been so patient while I took care of my own health issues this summer. Although I am not back full time, I do want
to get this August newsletter to you - in part because I have some information that is quite new.
Every so often I get an email from someone who says. "I have been doing this or that (sometimes including taking
a prescribed pharmaceutical drug) but the urine test still shows that I am losing much more calcium than I should and my
physician does not have any new suggestions. Can you help me?"
As usual when someone asks specific medical advice I explain that I am not allowed by law to give medical advice. But in
this case I can not even say, why don't you read the pages about such and so BECAUSE up until now I have not known
of any way to address this sort of problem.
But that may be changing. Here is new information of use to anyone who has been losing bone density. It has to do with an
amino acid called LYSINE.
Now I should tell you that I have never read a book about Osteoporosis or Osteopenia that had a chapter about lysine. In fact I only came across this amino acid when I was researching cardiac issues. It seems that Linus Pauling (of Vitamin C fame) had advised a friend who was finding himself with angina when doing he fitness walking to take Vitamin C and lysine.
Pauling suggested that he take a total of 10grams of Vitamin C and 5 grams of Lysine in divided doses through the day. After a few months the friend was able to walk much further without chest discomfort.
OK. This interested me so I began researching lysine. I wanted to find out if there were formal studies that supported
this anecdote. But in the midst of that research I began to read some interesting things about lysine and
bones. It seems that Lysine helps your body absorb calcium AND it decreases the amount of calcium that
is lost in urine. Thus it can have a direct effect on bone building AND a person with low lysine is likely to find it
difficult to build new bone since they may be excreting excessive amounts of calcium - a mineral use in building new bone. Lysine also plays a role in the formation of collagen which is important for bones as well as connective tissues.
I have spent hours reading studies about lysine. I shall put a page about it on the web site in the next month --- but
wanted to give readers of the newsletter a 'heads up' about it as soon as possible.
Remember lysine is an essential amino acid and it is not something to 'play around with' so you want to understand what you are doing.
1. Your body does not make lysine. You need to obtain it from external sources.
2. Before you decide to go out and buy some lysine tablets, you really want to think about it. Lysine is often used
to treat cold sores but that is always a limited use. To be taking lysine tablets on a regular basis could
upset the balance of your amino acids. Since Amino acids are powerful and you do not want to inadvertently
upset the balance by taking more of one than another. Either seek medical supervision for taking supplements or
obtain your lysine from food - rather than taking supplements.
3. Food sources of lysine. Persons eating a 'traditional diet' usually obtain enough lysine but that may not be the case for persons eating the diet common in the Western Industrialized world.
Lysine is in in most cereal grains and legumes. Meals that combine cereal grains and legumes, such as beans and rice, beans and tortillas, hummus on bread, Indian dal with rice,
falafel with pita bread provide complete protein in diets that are, by choice or by necessity, vegetarian. Lysine is also found in soy, eggs and meats (beef, lamb, pork, and poultry), cheese (particularly Parmesan), and certain fish (such as cod and sardines).
If you are concerned about on-going bone loss or real slowness in building greater bone density despite doing weight bearing exercises, nutritional changes and/or prescription drugs, you might think about your dietary intake of lysine. Add some meals with beans and grains each week. They taste good....and are far less expensive than many other meals. Increased lysine may make a difference.
Oh, and lest I get a stack of emails asking about the urine test mentioned in this newsletter, that test was discussed
in the March 2010 issue.....you can read it by clicking on 'back issues link' OR by doing a site search from the web site.
Next month I hope to provide information about another amino acid that some recent studies say stimulates our OSTEOBLASTS
(the cells that BUILD new bone). The only reasons I am not adding it to this month's newsletter is that I want to be 'super sure' of anything I report and I still have a number of studies to review.
I hope your August is going well. Expect to hear from me in September. Until then - I remain,