Background: Lysine affects diarrhea and anxiety via effects on serotonin receptors, enhanced intestinal repair, and sodium chloride-dependent opioid peptide transport.
Objective: The objective was to investigate the effects of lysine supplementation on morbidity, growth, and anxiety in children and adults of peri-urban areas of Accra, Ghana.
Design: In a double-blind randomized trial, the effect of lysine supplementation (1 g lysine/d) compared with that of placebo was examined in 2 groups of men, women, and children (n = 271). Primary outcomes included diarrheal and respiratory morbidity, growth, and anxiety and complement C3, C-reactive protein, serum cortisol, transferrin, and ferritin values. Independent-sample t tests, odds ratios, generalized estimating equations, 4-parameter sinusoid regression, and generalized linear models were used.
Results: Thirty percent of men, 50% of women, and 15% of children were at risk of lysine inadequacy. Supplementation in children reduced diarrheal episodes [19 lysine, 35 placebo; odds ratio (OR): 0.52; 95% CI: 0.29, 0.92; P = 0.046] and the total number of days ill (21 lysine, 47 placebo; OR: 0.44; 95% CI: 0.26, 0.74; P = 0.034). Mean days ill per child per week (0.058 ± 0.039 lysine, 0.132 ± 0.063 placebo; P = 0.017) were negatively associated with weight gain with control for baseline weight and study group (P = 0.04). Men had fewer coryza episodes (23 lysine, 39 placebo; OR: 0.60; 95% CI: 0.36, 1.01; P = 0.05), total number of days ill (lysine: 130; placebo: 266; OR: 0.51; 95% CI: 0.28, 0.93; P = 0.03), and mean days ill per person per week (lysine: 0.21 ± 0.23; placebo: 0.41 ± 0.35; P = 0.04). Serum ferritin (P = 0.045) and C-reactive protein (P = 0.018) decreased in lysine-supplemented women but increased in placebo-supplemented women.
Conclusion: Lysine supplementation reduced diarrheal morbidity in children and respiratory morbidity in men in Ghana.