Bleeding gums is a warning sign that you may have periodontal disease, or some other serious health condition. In most cases, intermittent bleeding of the gums is due to excess plaque buildup on the teeth at the gum line. However, you gums may also bleed if you are not getting enough L-lysine, an essential amino acid. L-lysine is not made in the body and must be supplied from the foods you eat. A lysine deficiency can affect the way vitamin C is used and cause anemia and other health issues that may lead to gingivitis.
Sources of L-Lysine
Since the body doesn’t manufacture lysine, you must get it from food or supplements. L-Lysine is an important amino acid and plays a role in vitamin C and calcium absorption as well as helping to lower cholesterol and keep it at healthy levels. It helps with collagen formation and strengthening connective tissue, cartilage and tendons. Foods rich in L-Lysine are proteins such as red meat, poultry, cod, sardines, soybeans and soy products, legumes, cheese, Brewer’s yeast, and nuts. L-Lysine is also available in dietary supplements.
Vitamin C and Lysine
Vitamin C and lysine are intricately connected chemically, and together are necessary for healthy gums. The body makes neither and both need to be sourced from the foods you eat. A vitamin C deficiency leads to the development of scurvy; a disease characterized by a breakdown of collagen in the gums that results in widespread bleeding. Early signs of scurvy are chronic swollen and bleeding gums accompanied by joint pain. Because lysine is necessary in the production of collagen, it’s important to consume foods and supplements that provide both nutrients daily. The main foods containing vitamin C are citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, melons, raw cabbage, potatoes and leafy green vegetables.
Herpes Simplex Virus
L-lysine is sometimes recommended to control and treat herpes simplex virus. Herpes sores may develop along the gum line, causing bleeding. It’s thought that regular dosing with L-Lysine may prevent or slow down breakouts of both genital and oral sores, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. L-Lysine provides antiviral properties, adds the university, and blocks the activity of Arginine — another essential amino acid, which is responsible for aggravating herpes and causing it to replicate. Taking L-Lysine orally and regularly is more effective for preventing a herpes than starting to dose once the has already begun. Dentist, Dan Peterson of Family Gentle Dental Care, recommends a diet of foods high in L-Lysine and low in Arginine for the prevention and treatment of herpes. If you’re prone, foods high in Arginine such as chocolate, peanuts and almonds should be avoided. The recommended dose is 1000 milligrams of L-Lysine in supplement form, three times a day.
L-Lysine for Veterinary Use
Cats are also susceptible to the herpes simplex virus. Although their symptoms are somewhat different from those in humans, veterinarians have found that L-Lysine is also helpful in stemming the virus in felines. Along with swollen, bleeding gums seen in cats with herpes virus, are upper respiratory problems, tearing of the eyes, coughing and sinus problems. L-Lysine may be helpful in the treatment of these cats.
Family Gentle Dental Care: Natural Dental Remedies
The National Academies Press: Vitamin C — Needs and Functions
Medline Plus: Bleeding Gums
University of Maryland Medical Center: Lysine
VetInfo: Infections Disease — Herpes Virus or Rhinotracheitis
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