Lysine for better bones?

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Scientific discoveries and ongoing research

. . . The original clue came over 30 years ago, when researchers discovered that the amino acid lysine given to rats appeared to boost calcium absorption. Now, in the first study of lysine's effect on calcium in humans, women with osteoporosis absorbed almost 20 percent more calcium (from a diet containing 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams calcium) after taking a lysine supplement. The women took only 800 mg. of supplemental lysine--far less lysine than an average adult eats in food every day. Head researcher Roberto Civitelli, M.D., of Washington University in St. Louis, speculates that lysine in supplements may have more impact, since, unlike lysine in food, our bodies can absorb up to 100 percent of it. For now, though, no one should take lysine supplements because the long-term effects are unknown. But Dr. Civitelli says it's possible you may absorb more calcium from calcium supplements by taking them with high-lysine foods: fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, legumes and nuts (Nutrition, NovemberDecember 1992).

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by Holly McCord, R.D., with Teresa A. Yeykal

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