L-threonine, L-thréonine, Thréonine, Treonina.
Threonine is used to treat various nervous system disorders including spinal spasticity, multiple sclerosis, familial spastic paraparesis, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease).
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).
Possibly Ineffective for...
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease). 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 to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Familial spastic paraparesis, a hereditary disorder. 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. 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.
- Spinal spasticity, a movement disorder caused by spinal cord damage. 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.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
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.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For a certain movement disorder due to spinal cord damage (spinal spasticity): 6 grams of threonine per day.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Blin, O., Desnuelle, C., Guelton, C., Aubrespy, G., Ardissonne, J. P., Crevat, A., Pouget, J., and Serratrice, G. [Anomaly in the neurotransmitter amino acids in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a therapeutic application]. Rev.Neurol.(Paris) 1991;147(5):392-394. View abstract.
Blin, O., Serratrice, G., Pouget, J., Aubrespy, G., Guelton, C., and Crevat, A. [Short-term double-blind vs placebo trial of L-threonine in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis]. Presse Med. 9-30-1989;18(30):1469-1470. View abstract.
Bromberg, M. B., Fries, T. J., Forshew, D. A., and Tandan, R. Electrophysiologic endpoint measures in a multicenter ALS drug trial. J.Neurol.Sci. 2-15-2001;184(1):51-55. View abstract.
Harper AE, Benton DA, Winje ME, Monson WJ., and Elvehjem CA. Effect of threonine on fat deposition in the livers of mature rats. J.Biol.Chem. 1954;209(1):165-170. View abstract.
Hauser, S. L., Doolittle, T. H., Lopez-Bresnahan, M., Shahani, B., Schoenfeld, D., Shih, V. E., Growdon, J., and Lehrich, J. R. An antispasticity effect of threonine in multiple sclerosis. Arch.Neurol. 1992;49(9):923-926. View abstract.
Hsieh JTC , Wolfe DL , Connolly S , Townson AF , Curt A , Blackmer J , Sequeira K , and Aubut J. Spasticity after spinal cord injury: an evidence-based review of current interventions. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation (TOP SPINAL CORD INJ REHABIL) 2007;13(1):81-97.
Parton, M., Mitsumoto, H., and Leigh, P. N. Amino acids for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / motor neuron disease. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2003;(4):CD003457. View abstract.
Parton, M., Mitsumoto, H., and Leigh, P. N. WITHDRAWN: Amino acids for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis / motor neuron disease. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2008;(2):CD003457. View abstract.
Rose, W. C. II. The sequence of events leading to the establishment of the amino acid needs of man. Am.J.Public Health Nations.Health 1968;58(11):2020-2027. View abstract.
Rose, W. C., HAINES, W. J., WARNER, D. T., and JOHNSON, J. E. The amino acid requirements of man. II. The role of threonine and histidine. J.Biol.Chem. 1951;188(1):49-58. View abstract.
Shakespeare, D. T., Boggild, M., and Young, C. Anti-spasticity agents for multiple sclerosis. Cochrane.Database.Syst.Rev. 2003;(4):CD001332. View abstract.
Testa, D., Caraceni, T., Fetoni, V., and Girotti, F. Chronic treatment with L-threonine in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a pilot study. Clin.Neurol.Neurosurg. 1992;94(1):7-9. View abstract.
van der Schoor, S. R., Wattimena, D. L., Huijmans, J., Vermes, A., and van Goudoever, J. B. The gut takes nearly all: threonine kinetics in infants. Am.J.Clin.Nutr. 2007;86(4):1132-1138. View abstract.
Blin O, Pouget J, Aubrespy G, et al. A double-blind placebo controlled trial of L-threonine in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. J Neurol 1992;239:79-81. View abstract.
Growdon JH, Nader TM, Schoenfeld J, Wortman RJ. L-threonine in the treatment of spasticity. Clin Neuropharmacol 1991;14:403-12. View abstract.
Lee A, Patterson V. A double blind study of L-threonine in patients with spinal spasticity. Acta Neurol Scand 1993;88:334-8. View abstract.
Roufs JB. L-threonine as a symptomatic treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Med Hypotheses 1991;34:20-3. View abstract.
Tandan R, Bromberg MB, Forshew D, et al. A controlled trial of amino acid therapy in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: I. Clinical, functional, and maximum isometric torque data. Neurology 1996;47:1220-6. View abstract.