L-lysine, also known as lysine, is an essential amino acid that is important for the health of both cats and humans. It is not naturally produced by the body and must be obtained through the diet. L-lysine has several health benefits for cats, including antiviral properties, aiding in the absorption of calcium, anti-inflammatory effects, and skin health.
Lysine is commonly used to treat and prevent feline herpes virus infections in cats. The virus is highly contagious and is spread through respiratory secretions, such as saliva and nasal discharge. Feline herpes virus is a common cause of upper respiratory infections in cats and can also cause eye problems. When a cat is infected with the virus, it can cause inflammation of the lining of the nose, throat, and eyes. This can lead to symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, discharge from the eyes and nose, and eye irritation. In severe cases, the infection can cause damage to the cornea, which can lead to vision problems.
L-lysine helps to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks by inhibiting the replication of the virus. It is thought to work by blocking the action of another amino acid called arginine, which is necessary for the virus to replicate.
L-lysine helps with the absorption of calcium in cats. Calcium is an essential mineral that is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. It is important for the health of bones and teeth, as well as for muscle function and nerve transmission.
L-lysine helps to increase the absorption of calcium in cats by increasing the production of a hormone called calcitriol. Calcitriol is a hormone that is produced by the kidneys and is responsible for regulating the absorption of calcium from the small intestine. This can be especially important for growing kittens, as they have an increased need for calcium to support the development of their bones and teeth.
Calcitriol is made from vitamin D, which is converted to its active form in the body by the action of UVB radiation on the skin. L-lysine helps to increase the production of calcitriol by increasing the conversion of vitamin D to its active form.
It is also thought that l-lysine may help to increase the absorption of calcium by increasing the production of proteins that are involved in the uptake of calcium from the small intestine.
Anti Inflammatory & Skin Health Benefits
Inflammation is a normal immune response that occurs in the body as a way to protect against injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of health problems.
L-lysine helps to reduce inflammation in cats by inhibiting the production of certain molecules that are involved in the inflammatory response. It also has the ability to modulate the activity of certain immune cells, which helps to reduce inflammation. Lastly, l-lysine benefits skin health in cats is by increasing the production of collagen, a protein that is important for the structure of the skin.
L-lysine is usually given to cats orally in the form of a supplement or as a treat, or it can be applied topically as an ointment. It is generally considered to be safe for use in cats and is well tolerated.
Interested in learning more?
Read: Dog Probiotics (And Cat Probiotics).
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Thomasy, S.M. and Maggs, D.J. (2016), A review of antiviral drugs and other compounds with activity against feline herpesvirus type 1. Vet Ophthalmol, 19: 119-130.
Zani, B. G., & Bohlen, H. G. (2005). Transport of extracellular l-arginine via cationic amino acid transporter is required during in vivo endothelial nitric oxide production. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 289(4), H1381-H1390.