Lysine plays several roles in humans, most importantly proteinogenesis, but also in the crosslinking of collagen polypeptides, uptake of essential mineral nutrients, and in the production of carnitine, which is key in fatty acid metabolism. Lysine is also often involved in histone modifications, and thus, impacts the epigenome.
"Due to its importance in several biological processes, a lack of lysine can lead to several disease states including defective connective tissues, impaired fatty acid metabolism, anaemia, and systemic protein-energy deficiency. In contrast, an overabundance of lysine, caused by ineffective catabolism, can cause severe neurological disorders."
Good sources of lysine are high-protein foods such as eggs, meat (specifically red meat, lamb, pork, and poultry), soy, beans and peas, cheese (particularly Parmesan), and certain fish (such as cod and sardines). Lysine is the limiting amino acid (the essential amino acid found in the smallest quantity in the particular foodstuff) in most cereal grains, but is plentiful in most pulses (legumes). A vegetarian or low animal protein diet can be adequate for protein, including lysine, if it includes both cereal grains and legumes.
* Amino acids which are essential amino acids which cannot be made by the human body and, therefore, must be obtained in the diet.
Tillery, Enger and Ross