L-Threonine Background and Benefits
L-threonine is an essential amino acid in humans, meaning that it cannot be synthesized in the body. The chemical formula for L-threonine is HO2CCH(NH2)CH(OH)CH3, and its DNA codons are ACA, ACC, ACG and ACU. L-threonine is one of the 20 common proteinogenic amino acids for humans, which are used to construct proteins. It is also a polar amino acid and one of the two proteinogenic amino acids that contain alcohol groups. The American nutritionist William Cumming Rose discovered threonine during the 1930s, making it the last of the common proteinogenic amino acids to be discovered.
Threonine can be prepared in the laboratory by reacting mercury acetate with crotonic acid. This procedure yields a racemic mixture of threonine, meaning that it produces both D-threonine and L-threonine. However, only L-threonine is biologically active for humans. Many plants and some microorganisms can synthesize L-threonine by using homoserine and alpha-aspartyl-semialdehyde to produce aspartic acid. Aspartic acid can then be reduced to yield L-threonine.
Humans must obtain L-threonine from dietary sources. It is primarily found in animal protein such as beef, poultry and fish. Dairy products also contain significant levels of L-threonine, especially cottage cheese. Vegetable sources of L-threonine include black beans, lentils and sesame seeds. L-threonine’s role as a precursor to the amino acid glycine is one of its most significant biological functions.
Uses of L-Threonine
L-threonine is often used to support the production of connective tissue. Additional benefits of L-threonine supplements include the support of bone and liver health as well as the immune system.
Liver health support
L-threonine may support liver health by helping to minimize the accumulation of fats around the liver.
Bone health support
L-methionine is essential for the production of collagen, which is a primary component in connective tissue such as skin and cartilage. Tendons, ligaments and bone also contain significant amounts of collagen.
Immune system support
L-threonine supports the immune system through its role in antibody production.
Connective tissue support
L-threonine plays an essential role in the production of collagen. This role means that L-threonine supplements may support the growth of healthy connective tissue, especially in the heart where L-threonine is more concentrated.
Signs You May Need L-Threonine
The most significant indication that you may need L-threonine supplements is if your diet is deficient in L-threonine. This is most likely to occur if you are a strict vegetarian, as the best sources of L-threonine are animal proteins. The best vegetable sources include grains and leafy vegetables, although they have much less L-threonine than meat. The most common signs of an L-threonine deficiency include a fatty liver, digestion difficulties and emotional agitation.
Other Ingredients That May Be Of Interest
L-glutathione - L-glutathione is a tripeptide that is involved with many enzymatic reactions in the body. It also has strong antioxidant properties that help to prevent damage caused by reactive chemicals such as free radicals and heavy metals.
L-methionine - L-methionine is an amino acid that is essential for all multi-celled animals. It is often used to promote healthy liver functions and red blood cell production.