Top 10 Foods Highest in Lysine

Written by Daisy Whitbread, MScN
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Top 10 Foods Highest in Lysine

Lysine is an essential amino acid involved in the creation of collagen (1) and retention of calcium. (2)

Lysine may also help alleviate herpes simplex infections, and reduce the risk of Parkinson's, hypothyroidism, kidney disease, asthma, and depression. (2)

A deficiency of lysine can lead to tiredness, inability to concentrate, irritability, bloodshot eyes, retarded growth, hair loss, anemia and reproductive problems. (2,3)

Excess amounts of the amino acid arginine antagonizes (blocks) the effects of lysine on the body, and can create a lysine deficiency. Further, lysine needs adequate amounts of vitamin B1, B2, B6, vitamin C, glutamic acid, and iron to be absorbed. (2)

High lysine foods include lean beef, chicken, pork, fish, shellfish, tofu, cheese, milk, beans, lentils, and peas. The recommended daily intake for lysine is 30mg per kilogram of body weight or 13.6mg per pound. A person weighing 70kg (~154 pounds) should consume around 2100mg of lysine per day. (5)

Below is a list of the top 10 foods highest in lysine with the %RDI calculated for someone weighting 70kg (154lbs). For more high lysine foods see the extended list of lysine-rich foods.


List of High Lysine Foods

A steak on a plate

#1: Beef (Skirt Steak)

Lysine
per 6oz Steak
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
5619mg
(268% RDI)
3305mg
(157% RDI)
2466mg
(117% RDI)

More Red Meat High in Lysine

-127% RDI in 3oz lamb roast
-105% RDI per 3oz top round steak
-105% RDI per 3oz buffalo steak

See all meats high in lysine.
A roast chicken

#2: Lean Chicken Breast

Lysine
in a 6oz Breast
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
5241mg
(250% RDI)
3083mg
(147% RDI)
3927mg
(187% RDI)

More Poultry High in Protein

-272% RDI in a roasted chicken leg
-229% RDI in 6oz of ground turkey
-180% RDI in 6oz of turkey breast
-154% RDI per cup of light chicken meat
-136% RDI in a roasted chicken thigh

See all meats high in lysine.
A pork chop

#3: Lean Pork Chops

Lysine
in a 6oz Chop
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
4687mg
(223% RDI)
2757mg
(131% RDI)
2828mg
(135% RDI)

More Pork Products High in Lysine

-170% RDI per cup of lean ham -128% RDI per rack of pork ribs -100% RDI in a 3oz pork brautwurst -98% RDI per 3oz roast pork tenderloin -94% RDI per 3oz of ground pork

See all meats high in lysine.
Tuna Fillet

#4: Tuna

Lysine
in a 6oz Fillet
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
4670mg
(222% RDI)
2747mg
(131% RDI)
2986mg
(142% RDI)

More Fish High in Lysine

-208% RDI per 6oz salmon fillet
-187% RDI per 6oz snapper fillet
-187% RDI per 6oz tilapia fillet
-180% RDI per 6oz cod fillet
-177% RDI per 6oz mackerel fillet

See all fish high in lysine.
King crab legs

#5: King Crab

Lysine
in 1 Crab Leg
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
2257mg
(107% RDI)
1684mg
(80% RDI)
3472mg
(165% RDI)

More Shellfish High in Lysine

-173% RDI in 20 small clams
-118% RDI per dungeness crab
-93% RDI per 3oz of lobster
-90% RDI per 3oz of octopus
-88% RDI per 3oz of shrimp

See all fish high in lysine.
A block of tofu

#6: Firm Tofu

Lysine
per Cup
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
2225mg
(106% RDI)
883mg
(42% RDI)
1226mg
(58% RDI)

More Soy Products High in Lysine

-91% RDI per cup of boiled soybeans (edamame)
-35% RDI per 1 oz handful of dry roasted soybeans
-18% RDI per tblsp of soy protein powder
-15% RDI per cup of soymilk
A bowl of Cottage Cheese

#7: Lowfat Ricotta Cheese

Lysine
per 1/2 Cup
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
1678mg
(80% RDI)
1353mg
(64% RDI)
1961mg
(93% RDI)

More Cheese High in Lysine

-45% RDI per oz of grated parmesan
-40% RDI per oz of romano
-37% RDI per oz of gruyere
-36% RDI per oz of gouda
-36% RDI per oz of provolone
A glass of milk

#8: Milk

Lysine
per 16oz Glass
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
1382mg
(66% RDI)
282mg
(13% RDI)
1659mg
(79% RDI)
-60% RDI per cup of non-fat yogurt.

See all dairy products high in lysine.
Navy Beans

#9: Canned Navy Beans

Lysine
per Cup
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
1381mg
(66% RDI)
527mg
(25% RDI)
933mg
(44% RDI)

Other Beans and Lentils High in Lysine

-57% RDI per cup of white beans
-56% RDI per cup of split peas
-55% RDI per cup of red kidney beans
-51% RDI per cup of pinto beans
-50% RDI per cup of black beans

See all beans and lentils high in lysine.
Green Peas

#10: Green Peas

Lysine
per Cup Cooked
Lysine
per 100g
Lysine
per 200 Calories
502mg
(24% RDI)
314mg
(15% RDI)
748mg
(36% RDI)

Other Vegetables High in Lysine

-16% RDI per cup of cooked spinach
-12 RDI per cup of sweet potatoes
-10% RDI per cup of mushrooms

See all vegetables high in lysine.

See All 200 Foods High in Lysine

More Lysine Rich Foods

FoodServingLysine
#1 Soybean Sprouts
(Source)
1 cup25% RDI
(526mg)
#2 Toasted Wheat Germ
(Source)
per oz25% RDI
(525mg)
#3 Hard Boiled Eggs
(Source)
1 egg22% RDI
(452mg)
#4 Quinoa
(Source)
per cup21% RDI
(442mg)
#5 Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
(Source)
per 1 oz handful19% RDI
(394mg)
#6 Hemp Seeds
(Source)
per oz17% RDI
(362mg)
#7 Oatmeal
(Source)
per cup15% RDI
(316mg)
#8 Brussels Sprouts
(Source)
per cup cooked9% RDI
(181mg)
#9 Brown Rice
(Source)
per cup8% RDI
(172mg)
#10 Almonds
(Source)
per 1oz handful8% RDI
(161mg)

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Data Sources and References

  1. Collagen Structure and Stability
  2. PubChem on Lysine
  3. Canadian Drug Database on L-Lysine
  4. U.S. Agricultural Research Service Food Data Central
  5. World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Report Series – Protein And Amino Acid Requirements In Human Nutrition ISBN 978 92 4 120935 9

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