l-Lysine supplementation does not affect the bioavailability of copper or iron in rats

J Trace Elem Med Biol. 2016 Dec;38:194-200. doi: 10.1016/j.jtemb.2016.02.005. Epub 2016 Feb 24.


l-lysine (Lys) is an essential amino acid that is added to foods and dietary supplements. Lys may interact with mineral nutrients and affect their metabolism. This study examined the effect of dietary Lys supplementation on the bioavailability of copper (Cu) and iron (Fe). Weanling male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed one of five diets (20% casein) for 4 weeks containing normal Cu and Fe (control) or low Cu or Fe without (LCu, LFe) or with (LCu+Lys, LFe+Lys) addition of 1.5% Lys. Final body weights, body weight gains and food consumption of the rats did not differ (P≥0.05) among diet groups. Rats fed the low Cu or Fe diets showed changes in nutritional biomarkers compared to control rats, demonstrating reduced Cu and Fe status, respectively. Hematological parameters, serum ceruloplasmin activity and Cu and Fe concentrations in serum, liver, kidney and intestinal mucosa were unaffected (P≥0.05) by Lys supplementation. These results indicate that in the context of an adequate protein diet, Lys supplementation at a relatively high level does not affect Cu or Fe bioavailability in rats.

Keywords: Bioavailability; Copper; Diet; Iron; Rat; l-Lysine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Copper / administration & dosage
  • Copper / pharmacokinetics*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Iron / administration & dosage
  • Iron / pharmacokinetics*
  • Lysine / administration & dosage
  • Lysine / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Lysine