Overview

Threonine is an essential amino acid. Amino acids are the building blocks the body uses to make proteins. The "essential" amino acids are those that cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from the diet.

People use threonine for conditions such as a muscle control disorder marked by involuntary movements and muscle tightness (spasticity), multiple sclerosis (MS), inherited disorders marked by weakness and stiffness in the legs (familial spastic paraparesis or FSP), and Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS), but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

How does it work ?

Threonine is changed in the body to a chemical called glycine. Glycine works in the brain to reduce constant and unwanted muscle contractions (spasticity).

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS). Taking 2 grams to 4 grams of threonine daily for up to 12 months does not seem to slow the progression of ALS or reduce symptoms. There is also some evidence that threonine might actually worsen lung function in people with ALS.

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Inherited disorders marked by weakness and stiffness in the legs (familial spastic paraparesis or FSP). Early research suggests that taking 1.5 grams to 2 grams of threonine by mouth three times daily might improve some symptoms in people with familial spastic paraparesis. But the improvement does not seem to be very significant.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). Early research suggests that taking 2.5 grams of threonine by mouth three times daily for 8 weeks does not reduce muscle stiffness (spasticity) in people with MS.
  • A muscle control disorder marked by involuntary movements and muscle tightness (spasticity). Early research suggests that taking 2 grams of threonine by mouth three times daily modestly decreases muscle contractions in people with spinal spasticity caused by spinal cord injury.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of threonine for these uses.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Threonine is LIKELY SAFE when used in food amounts. It's been proposed that people need to get about 0.5 to 1 gram of threonine from their diet per day. This amount is considered to be safe. Threonine is POSSIBLY SAFE when used as a medicine. Doses of up to 4 grams of threonine daily have been used safely for up to 12 months. Some people experience minor side effects such as stomach upset, headache, nausea, and skin rash.

Special Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: Threonine is LIKELY SAFE when used in food amounts. It's been proposed that people need to get about 0.5 to 1 gram of threonine from their diet per day. This amount is considered to be safe. Threonine is POSSIBLY SAFE when used as a medicine. Doses of up to 4 grams of threonine daily have been used safely for up to 12 months. Some people experience minor side effects such as stomach upset, headache, nausea, and skin rash. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if threonine is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease):There is some concern that threonine might decrease lung function in patients with ALS. In one study, ALS patients taking 1 gram of threonine four times per day for 6 months had significantly reduced lung function compared to patients who did not receive threonine. More evidence is needed to determine if threonine was actually at fault.

Interactions ?

    Major Interaction

    Do not take this combination

  • Medications for Alzheimer disease (NMDA antagonists) interacts with THREONINE

    There is some concern that threonine might decrease how well a medication used for Alzheimer's disease works. This medication is called memantine (Namenda).

Dosing

The appropriate dose of threonine depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for threonine. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
View References

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.