The amino acid threonine is considered to be an essential amino acid as it is required to be present in dietary sources since the body cannot synthesize it on its own. The amino acid threonine is an important compound for the production of purines – these are compounds that break down uric acid, which itself is a by-product of protein digestion in the human body. Uric acid accumulation in the body can result in disorders such as gout, disorders like a different form of arthritis, and related health problems in different individuals. The presence of sufficient threonine levels in the body is also essential for the synthesis of the non-essential amino acid glycine in the human body.
The amino acid threonine is present mainly in the cardiac tissues of the heart, in skeletal muscles and in the tissues making up the central nervous system. The formation of the proteins elastin and collagen are dependant on the presence of high levels of threonine. Lipotropic actions and the functioning of the liver are also aided by the combined action of the amino acids threonine, methionine and the aspartic acid. The prevention of accumulated fatty tissues in the liver is also dependent on the presence of threonine. The production of anti-bodies in the body is also boosted by threonine; this action in its turn promotes the functioning of the immune system. The amino acid threonine is essential for proper utilization of dietary proteins, it is also necessary for the maintenance of an appropriate protein balance in the tissues of the body.
The discovery of the essential amino acid threonine by the American nutritionist William Cumming Rose in the 1930s was the last among the twenty amino acids called common proteinogenics.
Threonine is present in carrots, bananas, fish, eggs, dairy products and meat as well as meat products. Other foods that enclose threonine in lesser concentration include wheat germ, seeds, vegetables, beans and nuts. Research findings have shown that healthy adults’ average need for threonine is 15 mg/ kilogram of the weight of the body daily.
Dietary supplements of threonine are used to treat diverse disorders that can develop due to the presence of neurological or physical impairment of any kind. Threonine for example, is essential for the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain and the central nervous system and it maintains the general health of the nervous system, threonine is also of fundamental importance for the growth and continual activity of the thymus gland – a major component of the immune system.
Supplemental doses of threonine are also important for nervous system responses and in ameliorating serious diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease. People suffering from serious illnesses such as multiple sclerosis and depression are also benefited by prolonged dietary supplementation using this essential amino acid. Individuals suffering from clinical depression can also benefit from using dosages consisting of one gram of threonine two times daily – this supplementation generates a marked improvement in the affected person.
A good intake of threonine in the diet may also maintain the immunological response at an optimal level in all individuals susceptible to immunological problems. The production of anti-bodies is also actively aided by threonine in conjunction with the actions of amino acids alanine, the aspartic acid, cysteine and lysine – this stimulates and promotes the functioning of the immune system and protects the body against all kinds of threats. Threonine tends to decrease in the body with advancing age – thus older individuals may need supplementation, at the same time, total threonine levels in the body tends to increase in individuals faced with immunological stressors or those affected by severe physical trauma.
The health of the liver is also maintained by threonine – indeed this amino acid is essential for normal liver function. Threonine acts to maintain the general functional state of the liver in tandem with the amino acids aspartic acid and methionine – low levels of these three amino acids may hamper the functioning of the liver. Threonine may also have a minor role as an agent in the prevention of fat accumulation in the liver leading to the pathological conditions called “fatty liver” especially in times of choline deficiencies. Further studies are still being carried on to probe threonine’s potential to inhibit fat accumulation in the other vital organs besides the liver.
Threonine is also useful in the treatment of patients who suffer from severe burn or physical trauma. A great deal of threonine is released in the urine of all patients who suffer from these conditions – supplementation may be required to replace the loss through urine. That the recovery process from these conditions is aided by an increase in consumption of supplemental threonine is supported by a variety of research projects.
Threonine also has several other health benefits.
This essential amino acid maintains the equilibrium ensuring that protein is not present in excess or there is a deficit of this nutrient. Threonine also makes protein utilizing amino acids that comprise the body tissues ranging from our hair to our feet. It also makes serine as well as glycine that are essential for building elastin and collagen. Threonine forms the vital elements that help us to have healthy connective tissues, skin, and arteries and also sustains the health of our heart.
Threonine is also essential for tooth enamel formation and it also helps in developing strong bones. Besides, this essential amino acid accelerates the healing pace.
It works together with aspartic acid and methionine in assisting the liver to get rid of excessive fats, thereby maintaining the health of our liver. At the same time, threonine also works to keep the blood sugar levels stable by aiding in maintaining equilibrium between insulin and glucose – something exceptionally beneficial for people with diabetes.
Threonine is responsible for producing antibodies, thereby helping in maintaining the health of our immune system in general. This essential amino acid is extremely necessary for sustaining a robust immune system. It also enhances the levels of glycine in our nerves with a view to stabilize them.
People who are confused and easily get emotionally charged will find threonine extremely beneficial for their condition. It works to alleviate anxiety as well as stress. In addition, threonine is effective for treating different types of depression.
Threonine is also essential for the occurrence of the Krebs cycle – a chemical procedure used by all the cells in the body to generate energy.
Side effects and cautions
A threonine deficiency tends to be evident only in the rarest of rare cases and primarily in vegetarians – this is because the primary foods of vegetarians, like grains, tend to have very low quantities of threonine.
When taken in dosage of anything between 2 and 4 grams every day for a maximum period of about 12 months the use of threonine appears to be safe. However, some people using this essential amino acid may suffer from negligible side effects like headache, stomach disorder, queasiness and skin rash.
However, there is very little information regarding threonine’s use by pregnant women as well as nursing mothers. Therefore, it is advisable that you ought to always remain on the safer side and avoid using this essential amino acid during these situations.