Anxiety is a normal emotion. However, when there are excess and disproportionate levels of this emotion, it may progress into a medical disorder. While treatment for anxiety usually involves prescription medications and behavioral therapy, some users claim the amino acid L-threonine works. What is L-threonine for anxiety and what are the risks involved?
What is Anxiety?
Before that, here is a quick review of anxiety. As mentioned, anxiety is an emotion that is regularly felt, but an excessive amount of this emotion is diagnosed as a mental health disorder. Anxiety causes an individual to feel excessive amounts of worry, apprehension, fear, and nervousness.
An individual with anxiety has trouble behaving and processing emotions. Moreover, there are physical symptoms that may manifest. Mild anxiety causes unsettling and vague behavior. On the other hand, severe anxiety affects an individual’s activity of daily living.
More than 40 million individuals in the US are affected by anxiety and the spectrum of disorders under this mental disorder.
The symptoms that manifest for anxiety vary per diagnosis. However, the common symptoms associated with a general anxiety disorder are the following.
- Uncontrollable and Constant Feelings of Worry
- Difficulties Concentrating
- Heightened Irritability
- Difficulties Falling and Staying Asleep
Individuals may experience extreme symptoms that affect daily life. Some may find it exceptionally challenging to work or even get out of bed due to these symptoms.
Doctors usually recommend a combination of treatments that involve prescription medications, behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy. When anxiety manifests alongside depression or alcohol dependence, treatment for these conditions is put first before treating the mental health disorder.
Amino Acids and Anxiety
While the treatment methods mentioned above are the common ways utilized, recent studies claim that the use of amino acids can help treat anxiety. How so? Amino acids taken as supplements claim to balance the brain’s chemistry. This, in turn, alleviates panic attacks, anxiety, worry, and fear.
Amino acids are also helpful in alleviating problems that exacerbate or contribute to anxiety. These problems may include addictions or sugar cravings. Apart from easing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorders, amino acids balance an individual’s brain chemistry which leads to good energy, mental focus, and all-around good mood.
Amino Acid: Threonine
For the treatment of anxiety, the specific amino acid needed is threonine, which is considered an essential amino acid. By essential, it means it is not synthesized by the body and must come from food sources or supplements.
Threonine helps in the production of serine and glycine, two other amino acids that are vital in collagen, elastin, and muscle tissue production. Furthermore, the body needs threonine in the production of antibodies. It is also required by the body’s central nervous system to help ward off various forms of depression.
When there is a deficiency of threonine, an individual manifests irritability, and severe mood swings. Additional symptoms that an individual may exhibit include fatty liver, digestive problems, and confusion.
Sources and Dosage
Threonine can be found in grains, leafy green, mushrooms, dairy products, and meat. There are also supplements of this amino acid available. However, the L-variant of this amino acid is one that occurs naturally and is one that an individual should consider as a supplement. When taking it as a supplement, four grams daily is the recommended amount.
Side Effects and Risks
Side effects noted when taking L-threonine supplements include skin rash, nausea, headache, and an upset stomach.
The product is deemed safe to consume as long as the dosage of four grams daily for as long as 12 months is followed. However, studies are claiming that L-threonine may cause a decrease in lung function in individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Further research is needed to verify the claims.
As for pregnant and breastfeeding women, L-threonine supplements for the treatment of anxiety is ill-advised. It is best to speak with the attending healthcare professional before starting on this supplement.
Self-Treatment for Anxiety
Supplements, prescription medications, and behavioral therapy may help an individual with anxiety. However, some lifestyle changes and actions may help. The methods mentioned below may work for individuals with short-term and mild anxiety disorders.
Managing stress limits likely triggers one’s anxiety attacks. When it comes to work or school deadlines, organize files and data ahead of time. Do not make procrastination a habit. Furthermore, create a list of things to do and organize it in terms of urgency. This makes overwhelming tasks appear easy and manageable. Also, make sure to take time off from work and school, especially if there is a great need for it.
Regular exercise not only helps improve one’s physique but the act itself releases chemicals in one’s brain which are responsible for positive feelings. Regular physical exercise also keeps one safe from the risk of heart disease and obesity.
Practice the habit of replacing negative ideas and thoughts in one’s head with positive views. Make it a mental habit to stay positive despite the cycle of negative emotions. For this task to be easy, jot down all negative thoughts lingering in the head. Next to these negative thoughts, write down positive, tangible ideas that can work against them. Doing so can help an individual create a mental picture of successfully overcoming negative ideas.
Activities that soothes the mind and body can help fight symptoms of anxiety. Such methods include yoga, long baths, deep breathing exercises, and meditation. Listening to calming music may also help.
Reliable Network of Support
Battling anxiety is tough, especially if an individual is faced with a slew of negative emotions. Facing the battle on one’s own can be difficult and challenging. This is where a reliable support group comes in handy. Speak with members of the family one is close to, or talk with friends who understand the current situation. The aid of a support group can help an individual in the battle against anxiety. Other than family and friends, there are the services of a support group available online or in the local area of residence.