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Proline sources, health benefits and uses

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 by

Proline is a non-essential amino acid that was discovered in 1900 by German organic chemist Richard Willstätter, who isolated and obtained it while studying N-methylproline. Unlike other amino acids, proline has a secondary amino group and contains a pyrrole ring which is similar to the composition of cytochromes and hemoglobin. In addition to being the third most abundant amino acid in the human body, proline is one of the most important ones because of its role in collagen and cartilage production and its prevention of arteriosclerosis.

Due to being a non-essential amino acid, proline deficiencies are extremely rare, though they can occur in persons who are either on a low-protein diet or engage in prolonged and intense bouts of exercise. Serious athletes are those who are most at risk of experiencing proline deficiency, which will usually manifest through slower-than-normal healing of wounds and fractures. This can be avoided by upping one’s intake of dairy, soy products, and meat, and proline supplements if necessary.

Too much proline can place unnecessary strain on the kidneys and liver because the citric acid cycle goes out of balance, so be sure to consult a professional before using proline supplements. People who suffer from kidney or liver diseases should take proline supplements only under strict medical supervision.

Medicinal uses for proline

As was previously mentioned, proline is largely known for reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. Arteriosclerosis takes place when the arteries thicken and stiffen from arterial wall fat build-up, resulting in the arteries having difficulty expanding and contracting. Proline keeps this from happening by enabling the arterial walls to release the built-up fat into the bloodstream and decreasing the size of the blockages.

Moreover, proline can greatly lower the risk of developing such health ailments as chronic back pain, osteoarthritis, and soft tissue sprains because of its role in collagen formation. Reduced amounts of collagen in the body have been linked to these conditions as collagen is responsible for cushioning joints, healing cartilage, and acting as a shock absorber throughout the body. The amount of proline being produced by the body increases when injuries occur and wound healing is required, such as in post-surgery recovery. An absence of proline can result in slow wound healing, and even soft tissue strains and tears, so proline supplements can be given during periods of injury to promote collagen production.

Body systems supported by proline

Because proline supports collagen production, it is responsible for healthy skin as well. Decreased collagen production will often show through thinner, less fibrous, and more wrinkled skin. Proline ensures that this doesn’t happen; proline can improve skin texture and promote new skin cell formation as well.

Since proline prevents arteriosclerosis from happening, it can support the health of the heart. In addition to preventing plaque formation, proline strengthens arterial walls and protects the endothelium, which are the tissues that line the interior surface of blood vessels.

Where to learn more


Proline is a non-essential amino acid that is most notable for its contribution towards a healthy heart and skin. It can reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, osteoarthritis, and chronic back pain, and encourage speedier wound healing.

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