Lysozyme Background and Benefits
Lysozyme is a collective term for a group of enzymes that are also known as glycoside hydrolases. Additional names for these enzymes include N-acetylmuramide glycanhydrolase and muramidase. The primary biochemical function of lysozyme is to split the bond between N-acetyl-D-glucosamine and N-acetylmuramic acid. Many species of bacteria have these bonds in their cell walls, providing lysozyme with antibacterial properties.
The Scottish biologist Alexander discovered lysozyme in 1922, although its antibacterial effects had been known since 1909. Fleming made his discovery when he treated bacteria cultures with the nasal mucous of a patient who had a head cold. He observed that the mucous inhibited the growth of the bacteria. Fleming named lysozyme after the Latin word “lys” meaning to break or split.
The British biologist David Chilton Phillips determined the chemical structure of lysozyme by 1965. This work was also instrumental in explaining how enzymes catalyze chemical reactions. Lysozyme was synthesized in the laboratory for the first time in 2007.
Lysozyme has many applications in both foods and dietary supplements. Hen egg whites are the primary commercial source of lysozyme. Egg whites are also the most abundant dietary source of lysozyme, which comprises about 0.5 percent of the albumin in egg whites.
Uses of Lysozyme
The most significant uses of lysozyme in health supplements derives from its unique properties. Additional benefits include bladder health support, healthy inflammation management and support for wound repair.
Lysozyme may attack the polysaccharides in the cell walls of many bacteria. It’s most effective against gram-positive bacteria such as Streptococci and Staphylococci species.
Healthy inflammation management
Lysozyme can neutralize some acidic compounds that are released by inflammatory processes. This property may allow lysozyme to manage some types of unhealthy inflammation.
Wound repair support
Lysozyme may support phagocytosis, which can aid in wound repair. It may also help with other necrotic and degenerative processes.
Bladder health support
Some preparations of lysozyme can help manage coliform infections of the bladder. This use is often combined with standard antibiotic therapy.
Signs You May Need Lysozyme
Lysozyme is an essential component of the immune system, so increased infection and susceptibility to cold and flus indicates a need for lysozyme. Lung infections in newborns and frequent diarrhea in infants are also associated with low lysozyme levels. Lysozyme may also help other types of infection by gram-positive bacteria. Conjunctivitis is another sign that you may need lysozyme.