What is L-Proline?
Proline is an amino acid, one of the twenty DNA-encoded amino acids. Its codons are CCU, CCC, CCA, and CCG. It is unique among the 20 protein-forming amino acids because the amino group is secondary.
The Ls are essential amino acids, meaning that they are components which cannot be produced by the body and, therefore, must be obtained from a diet or through supplementation.
L-Proline is biosynthetically derived from the amino acid L-glutamate and its immediate precursor is the imino acid (S)-1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate (P5C).
L-Proline is an essential amino acid and precursor, along with vitamin C, for collagen. Collagen is a building block of tendons, ligaments, arteries, veins and muscles (heart muscle). It is important in the healing of wounds, the building of cartilage, and important in supporting flexible joints and muscles. The amino acid also helps in reduces sagging, wrinkling, and aging of skin due to sun exposure.
L-Proline breaks down protein to help create healthy cells. The amino acid is essential for healthy skin. It is also essential for creating healthy connective tissues. It also maintains muscle tissue. 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. 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.
L-Proline can be made in the body, but low protein/vegetarian diets may not always promote optimal production.
Because the body, when its glucose levels drop too low, “eats” muscles for energy, L-Proline deficiencies may occur in endurance runners and others who do prolonged exercises; these individuals, in order to prevent muscle loss, may benefit from L-Proline supplementation.
Those who have suffered from traumatic injuries--in particular, skin injuries, and severe burns--and people with pain resulting from insufficient cartilage or collagen formation could also be L-Proline deficient.
Anyone wondering if he or she would benefit from L-Proline supplementation should consult a physician.
Because excessive amino acids can disrupt the citric acid cycle balance, and to make the liver and the kidneys work harder to eliminate wastes, those with liver and/or kidney disease consult their physicians before using an L-Proline supplement.
Supplemental L-Proline is available as stand-alone capsules, and tablets, and is often found in sports drinks.
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