The Amino Acids Section
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Threonine is an essential amino acid that promotes normal growth by helping to maintain the proper protein balance in the body. Threonine also supports cardiovascular, liver, central nervous, and immune system function.
Threonine is needed to create glycine and serine, two amino acids that are necessary for the production of collagen, elastin, and muscle tissue. Threonine helps keep connective tissues and muscles throughout the body strong and elastic, including the heart, where it is found in significant amounts. It also helps build strong bones and tooth enamel, and may speed wound healing or recovery from injury.
Threonine combines with the amino acids aspartic acid and methione to help the liver with lipotropic function, or the digestion of fats and fatty acids. Without enough threonine in the body, fats could build up in the liver and ultimately cause liver failure.
Threonine supports the immune system by aiding in the production of antibodies, and because it is found largely in the central nervous system, may be helpful in treating some types of depression. Threonine supplementation may also be useful for treatment of Lou Gherigs Disease, also know as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), because it increases glycine levels in the central nervous system (administering glycine is ineffective, since it cannot cross into the central nervous system). Research indicates that symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), another disease that affects the nerve and muscle function, may be lessened with threonine supplementation. One 1992 study showed that 7.5 grams of threonine taken daily decreased spastcity among study participants.
Threonine is an essential amino acid, which means it must be obtained from dietary sources. Dairy foods, meat, grains, mushrooms, and leafy vegetables all contain threonine, so threonine deficiency is not likely if you have a balanced diet. However, strict vegetarians or vegans may want to consider threonine supplementation, since meat is by far the more superior source of this amino acid—the threonine content of grains is very low. Symptoms of threonine deficiency include emotional agitation, confusion, digestion difficulties and fatty liver. Threonine is available in protein supplements such as protein powder/bars and amino acid tablets. The standard dose is between 103 and 500 milligrams per day. Exceeding the recommended doses of threonine can disrupt liver function, and cause the formation of too much urea, and consequently ammonia toxicity, in your body.
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