The Amino Acids Section
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Proline is an amino acid needed for the production of collagen and cartilage. It keeps muscles and joints flexible and helps reduce sagging and wrinkling that accompany UV exposure and normal aging of the skin.
Proline helps the body break down proteins for use in creating healthy cells in the body. It is absolutely essential to the development and maintenance of healthy skin and connective tissues, especially at the site of traumatic tissue injury. Proline and lysine (another one of the amino acids that is important to protein synthesis) are both needed to make hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, two amino acids that form collagen. Collagen helps to heal cartilage and to cushion the joints and vertebrae. For this reason, proline supplementation may prove beneficial for treatment of conditions such as osteoarthritis, persistent soft tissue strains, and chronic back pain.
The body needs proline to maintain muscle tissue as well. Decreases in proline levels have been noted in prolonged endurance runners and others following prolonged exercise. Serious athletes that subject their body to routine, rigorous workouts may want to take a supplement containing proline in order to avoid loosing muscle mass—the body begins to cannibalize its muscle for energy when glucose supplies run low. Proline is a nonessential amino acid. The body makes proline from glutamic acid, and deficiency is rare in healthy individuals with a healthy diet. However, people recovering from traumatic injury, particularly skin injuries such as severe burns, may want to supplement this amino acid. People with pain caused by insufficient cartilage or collagen formation could benefit from extra proline in their diet as well.
Meat, dairy, and eggs are the best natural sources of proline; vegetarians or those with a low-protein diet should seriously consider a combination amino acid supplement containing, among other amino acids, proline. Proline supplements are available in stand-alone capsules and tablets, but this amino acid is also often included in supplements marketed for treatment of specific conditions, such as herpes (in combination with lysine), arthritis, or back pain, or in supplements or sports drinks marketed for body builders and athletes. Proline may be in supplements used to promote cardiovascular health, usually in combination with vitamin C.
The recommended therapeutic dose is between 500 milligrams and 1,000 milligrams daily, in combination with vitamin C. People with liver or kidney disease should not take this or any other amino acid supplement without first consulting their physician. Getting too much of any one amino acid can throw the citric acid cycle out of balance, which makes the liver and kidneys work harder to eliminate toxins.
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