Lysine for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Potential Benefits

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Lysine, also called L-lysine, is an essential amino acid. "Essential" means that your body doesn't produce it, so you get it through diet and supplementation.


While more research needs to be done to confirm these findings, some studies have linked lysine to:

  • Suppression of herpes viruses
  • Increasing calcium absorption, which may be helpful in osteoporosis
  • Lowering glucose levels
  • Alleviating migraines
  • Lessening anxiety
  • Aiding in wound and fracture healing

Lysine has not been researched specifically in connection with fibromyalgia (FMS) or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). However, it is somewhat popular in people with these conditions.

A look at the above list of possible effects illustrates why. Research shows that some cases of ME/CFS may be linked to human herpesvirus-6, which causes roseola in babies. Some researchers have hypothesized about a possible link between herpes simplex 1 (the cold sore virus) and FMS.

Additionally, studies show that FMS may be a risk factor for osteoporosis, making fracture healing important. Also, some people with these conditions report slow healing.

Some healthcare providers believe people with FMS and ME/CFS are especially prone to diabetes, making glucose control beneficial for us. Many of us have frequent migraines, and a change in headache type or severity is part of the diagnostic criteria for ME/CFS. Anxiety is a common symptom of FMS and ME/CFS.

A single supplement that could help with all of these problems is bound to tempt us to try it. Anecdotally, some people say lysine helps alleviate symptoms while others say it's had no effect on them.

Until controlled studies are performed and replicated, we won't be able to say for sure whether it is effective in FMS and ME/CFS.


When taken as a supplement, a typical dosage of lysine is 1g per day, possibly increasing to 3g daily during a herpes outbreak. This dosage level is believed to be safe in healthy adults.

Lysine supplementation may not be appropriate for those on diabetes medications (because of its effect on glucose) or who take calcium supplements.

Lysine must be taken on empty stomach or before meal to provide maximum bioavailability and absorption.

Dietary Sources

Many foods contain lysine, including:

  • Red meat, pork, and poultry
  • Dairy products
  • Some fish, including cod and sardines
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Soybeans
  • Legumes

Side Effects

High doses of lysine may cause gallstones, kidney dysfunction or kidney failure.

Typical doses are linked to some digestive side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

Lysine counteracts the essential amino acid arginine, so if you're taking arginine supplements adding lysine may be counterproductive.

To avoid negative interactions, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you're considering new supplements.

More Supplements for Immune Function

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Singh, M., Rao, D. M., Pande, S., Battu, S., Dutt, K. R., & Ramesh, M. Medicinal uses of L-lysine: Past and futureInternational Journal of Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences.

  2. Chapenko S, Krumina A, Logina I. Association of Active Human Herpesvirus-6, -7 and Parvovirus B19 Infection with Clinical Outcomes in Patients with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue SyndromeAdvances in Virology. 2012;2012:1-7. doi:10.1155/2012/205085

  3. Upala S, Yong WC, Sanguankeo A. Bone mineral density is decreased in fibromyalgia syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysisRheumatology International. 2016;37(4):617-622. doi:10.1007/s00296-016-3625-x

  4. Lichtenstein A, Tiosano S, Comaneshter D, Amital H, Cohen AD, Amital D. Cross-sectional analysis of the associations between fibromyalgia and diabetes mellitusReumatologia. 2018;56(5):275–278. doi:10.5114/reum.2018.79496

  5. Penn I-W, Chuang E, Chuang T-Y, Lin C-L, Kao C-H. Bidirectional association between migraine and fibromyalgia: retrospective cohort analyses of two populationsBMJ Open. 2019;9(4). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026581

  6. Galvez-Sánchez CM, Duschek S, Reyes Del Paso GA. Psychological impact of fibromyalgia: current perspectivesPsychol Res Behav Manag. 2019;12:117–127. Published 2019 Feb 13. doi:10.2147/PRBM.S178240

  7. Mailoo VJ, Rampes S. Lysine for Herpes Simplex Prophylaxis: A Review of the EvidenceIntegr Med (Encinitas).

  8. Rossi M, Jacobs B. Herpes Simplex VirusIntegrative Medicine. 2018. doi:10.1016/b978-0-323-35868-2.00020-7

By Adrienne Dellwo
Adrienne Dellwo is an experienced journalist who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has written extensively on the topic.