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5 benefits of proline and side effects

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Discover the 5 benefits of proline and its side effects.

Even if there is currently no standard criteria used to diagnose ” proline deficiency, ” certain people can benefit from consuming more of the amino acid.

The body makes some of its proline, plus it’s found in “complete protein” foods, but your need for amino acids like proline increases as you age or if you have certain health problems.

People with poor skin health, slow healing, joint pain, gastrointestinal problems, and a high risk of heart disease may benefit from getting more of this amino acid.5 benefits of proline and side effects


Of all the amino acids that make up collagen, the health-promoting effects of proline have probably been the most researched.

What are other benefits of proline? In addition to its anti-aging effects and ability to repair damaged skin, other functions of proline include supporting the immune system, improving antioxidant status, improving intestinal health and nutrient absorption, supporting metabolism, and protecting the cardiovascular system.

What is proline

Proline is a type of imino acid, very similar to an amino acid, that is often described as the “building blocks of protein.” What type of amino acid is proline?

It is considered to be a “non-essential amino acid” because the human body can synthesize some on its own, as opposed to other amino acids that must be obtained from someone’s diet.


For example, glutamate can be used to synthesize proline, although getting it directly from food sources helps increase your levels.

What are the main roles of proline? Proline’s functions include helping to form collagen, regenerate cartilage, form connective tissue, repair skin damage, and wounds, heal the intestinal lining, and repair joints.

The structure of proline is unique because it is the only proteinogenic amino acid (the type that biosynthetically forms proteins) with a secondary amine.

Not only does it help with the “building” of proteins, but it also has a role as a catalyst in many organic reactions.

The role of proline in collagen formation

One of the reasons proline is so important is because, along with the amino acid glycine, it is the primary amino acid involved in collagen synthesis. Is that how it works:

Proline is converted to hydroxyzine and hydroxyproline to help form collagen, which is the most abundant protein found in the human body and the main component that forms connective tissue.

Collagen is made up of smaller branched-chain amino acids. It is formed by linking and coiling branches of amino acids (primarily the glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine types) that together create longer collagen fibers that form tissue.

Proline amino acids make up about 15 percent of collagen, and the combination of proline, glycine, and hydroxyproline make up more than 50 percent of collagen’s total amino acid content.


Thanks to proline, our bodies can build enough collagen to support our overall health, as collagen is found almost everywhere in the body, including muscles, teeth, skin, bones, organs, joints, etc.

The amino acids that makeup collagen have specific benefits for different parts of the body. For example, proline is especially helpful for skin health and wound healing (as well as having many other benefits), while glycine can help promote restful sleep, balance blood sugar, and repair tendons.

5 Health Benefits of Proline

The benefits of proline include:

•Helps heal wounds and repair skin

•Supports digestive health

•Helps prevent joint pain

•Supports the cardiovascular system

•Supports a Healthy Metabolism and Fights Inflammation


1.- Helps to heal wounds and repair the skin

A primary function of proline is to help repair damage to the skin, such as wounds, incisions, and burns.

It is involved in all three phases of the “wound healing cascade” as it stimulates cell migration and contributes to the development of new tissue.

Studies have found that during the early phases of wound healing, proline levels in wound fluids are at least 50 percent higher than plasma levels, suggesting the active import of proline into the site. of the wound.

Proline does this by supporting collagen synthesis, or the formation of new collagen. Collagen is an essential part of wound healing because it gives our skin structure and strength.

Studies have found that collagen supplements, which contain proline, can improve skin barrier function, induce hyaluronic acid synthesis, and promote fibroblast growth and migration.

Since your body produces less collagen as you age and this affects the appearance of your skin, consuming more collagen-forming amino acids can be effective in keeping your skin looking younger.

Proline may also help prevent or treat cellulite naturally. It can help tone, firm, and tighten the skin, which is why collagen supplements are commonly used for their many anti-aging effects.

2.- Supports digestive health

Collagen protein has become one of the best supplements for improving gut health, treating leaky gut syndrome, and thereby supporting overall immune system function. What is the use of proline when it comes to supporting digestive health?


The amino acids found in collagen can help strengthen the tissues that line the GI tract, which is beneficial for nutrient absorption and the prevention of autoimmune responses.

Studies have found that proline and other amino acids found in collagen support the gut and gut-associated lymphoid tissue by enhancing the body’s immune defense and ability to protect against foreign antigens and pathogens.

Each amino acid has unique properties that affect gut health, including maintaining the integrity, growth, and function of the intestines; normalizing the secretion of inflammatory cytokines; improving T cell numbers, and regulating the secretion of IgA cells.

3.- Helps prevent joint pain

One reason aging is often associated with increased joint pain is that from around the age of 30 we start to produce less collagen.

Collagen is necessary for overall physical and mental health as it helps hold the body together and is necessary for maintaining the strength and flexibility of connective tissue.

Collagen loss can also be accelerated due to unhealthy diet, lifestyle, and habits, as these lead to higher levels of inflammation, oxidative stress, hormonal imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies.

Getting more of the amino acids that make up collagen, including proline, can help mitigate these effects by promoting the formation of new cartilage, aiding in muscle growth or maintenance, and even helping to improve bone density. Proline and other amino acids can strengthen cartilage by stimulating chondrocytes (cartilage cells).

Animal studies have found that proline supports tissue growth and performance.


It also aids in many immune system functions and may help improve antioxidant status, which means it may be beneficial in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, which can damage joints and connective tissue.

4.- Protects the cardiovascular system

Proline can help protect the heart and artery walls, such as by preventing fat from building up in the bloodstream and by controlling blood pressure. Amino acids are needed to form the tissue that builds blood vessels/arteries.

Acquiring more collagen-forming amino acids may be beneficial in reducing the risk of atherosclerosis (thickening or hardening of the arteries).

5.- Contributes to a Healthy Metabolism and Fights Inflammation

Proline plays a beneficial role in metabolic functions and the synthesis of other compounds. It acts as a signaling molecule and a cellular energy state sensor.

It can help modulate mitochondrial functions, influence cell proliferation or cell death, and trigger specific gene expression, which are all reasons plants need to recover from environmental stress.


Other beneficial effects of proline for energy production and health include:

•Increase metabolism and muscle mass.

•Help with energy production during physical activity


•Improve the use of antioxidants in the body.

•Facilitate the process of building healthy cells from DNA and RNA.

•Support the central nervous system.

A 2017 study on rats found that when the rats experienced inflammation, oxidative stress, and altered energy parameters in parts of their brains, the administration of proline was able to prevent some of these damaging effects.

The best sources of Proline

What foods are rich in proline?

It is found in higher concentrations in natural sources of collagen. The best sources of proline and collagen in the diet are bone broth and other high-protein foods, especially animal products, such as organ meats such as liver, grass-fed beef, and pasture-raised chicken, wild-caught fish, and eggshell membranes.

When you eat animals “nose to tail,” you consume proline and collagen from parts of the animal, including bone, connective tissue, and muscle tissue.

Concentrated collagen protein powder and gelatin are two other great sources of proline. Collagen powder is made from sources including chicken collagen, bovine/cow collagen, eggshell membrane collagen, and fish collagen.


Gelatin is a form of hydrolyzed cow collagen, which means that it is essentially a part of the degraded collagen that is primarily used in desserts or food manufacturing as it creates a gel-like texture.

Using bone broth or collagen powders/supplements can be helpful because it saves you a lot of time and effort. For example, slow-cooked bone broth is made over a day or two, but when you use concentrated bone broth protein powder, you can reap the benefits of bone broth almost instantly.

Chicken collagen contains glycine, glutamine, and proline, as well as chondroitin and glucosamine, two compounds that help rebuild cartilage. You can consume some by eating chicken cooked on the bone in its skin or by making chicken broth, soup, stew, and other tasty recipes with a variety of animal parts (organs, bones, etc.).

You can also get small amounts of proline by consuming fish collagen, such as eating fish pieces that contain small bones, tissue, or scales, or by making fish stock/broth, soup, and stew (such as with fish heads).

Another source is cage-free egg yokes. A great way to increase your proline/collagen intake is to add some collagen powder to scrambled eggs or an omelet.

Is proline found in plants? Yes, although eating plant foods like vegetables or fruits will not provide you with a very high amount. In-plant components such as pollen, and proline accumulation is a response to physiological stresses and is also involved in structure development.

Proline vs. Glycine vs. lysine

What is different about proline compared to other amino acids?

About a third of collagen is made up of glycine.


Glycine is an essential amino acid for many different muscular, cognitive and metabolic functions. It is one of the main amino acids used to form collagen and gelatin. The best sources of glycine are similar to proline sources, such as bone broth, collagen protein powder, and other protein foods.

One of the functions of glycine includes helping to break down and transport nutrients such as glycogen and fat to be used by cells for energy. It is known as an “anti-aging amino acid” because it helps maintain lean muscle mass and stimulates the secretion of human growth hormone. Glycine is used to treat many health conditions, including muscle wasting (sarcopenia), ulcers, arthritis, leaky gut syndrome, diabetes, kidney and heart failure, neurobehavioral disorders, and fatigue.

Lysine (or l-lysine) is an essential amino acid found in protein foods such as meat, beans, cheese, and eggs, and is also available in supplement form. Like proline, L-lysine aids in the growth and maintenance of bones and connective tissue by helping to form collagen. It is also very important in the creation of carnitine, which converts fatty acids into energy.

L-lysine can help repair the digestive system, lower cholesterol levels, and be helpful for calcium absorption, which protects against blood clots and other problems.

Other benefits attributed to l-lysine include the treatment of cold sores, anxiety, diarrhea, and even the development of cancer. The best dietary sources of L-lysine are beef, chicken, turkey, fish such as tuna, navy beans, pumpkin seeds, and eggs.

Arginine is another amino acid found in collagen. It is found in protein foods, including beef and other types of red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Arginine may offer benefits for heart health, exercise performance, mental abilities, and much more.

How to Get Proline in Your Diet + Recipes

1.- Drink bone broth

To consume more proline, it’s ideal to drink real bone broth almost daily, which also provides many other nutrients beyond amino acids. Bone broth is one of the best ways to not only get more collagen into your diet, but also get minerals, electrolytes, and beneficial compounds like chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, and hyaluronic acid.

To get the most benefits, aim to consume eight to 16 ounces of bone broth per day. You can make your homemade bone broth using traditional recipes that take one to two days or by consuming dried or powdered bone broth protein/powder. Bone broth can be consumed neat, added to shakes or smoothies, or used in all sorts of sweet and savory recipes like marinades, stews, or even shakes and smoothies.


2.- Take collagen powder/collagen supplements

You can also use collagen protein in smoothies, shakes, or other recipes. I recommend a multi-collagen powder that contains multiple types of collagen, such as types 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10. Each type of collagen has unique functions and benefits, so it’s best to supplement with more than one type.

Collagen is tasteless, odorless, and easy to mix into all kinds of recipes; Plus, it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free. Add some to baked recipes like muffins, bars, or pancakes to boost protein content. You can also use collagen powder just like gelatin to thicken smoothies, desserts, or recipes that have a gel-like texture. Always make sure you buy a collagen powder derived from healthy grass-fed or grass-fed animals (ideally organically raised).

3.- Eat enough protein and an overall healthy diet

You’ll get the most benefit from consuming proline and other amino acids found in collagen if you eat a nutrient-rich diet that includes plenty of protein and plenty of antioxidants. This helps maintain higher levels of collagen and prevent collagen degradation because it decreases inflammation and free radical damage (also called oxidative stress).

You can increase the amount of proline you absorb and use by eating foods that serve as “cofactors for collagen,” such as plenty of fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, fresh herbs, and spices; various sources of “clean” protein; and foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, copper, and iron.

History of proline

Imino acid proline was first isolated by a researcher named Richard Willstätter in the early 1900s. It was named after pyrrolidine, which is one of the components found in proline.

In humans, this amino acid is synthesized from glutamic acid and other amino acids. It is a constituent of many proteins, especially collagen, so proline supports skin, tendons, bone, and other types of connective tissue.

Today it can be taken in isolated supplement form, which is usually labeled as l-proline. Some of the reasons someone might choose to take proline supplements are if they are dealing with joint/connective tissue pain or various skin issues. While proline supplements have their uses, I recommend getting proline from bone broth or collagen protein, which provides not only proline but other amino acids and nutrients as well.

Proline has been shown to play an important role in plant response to various environmental stresses. It has natural osmoprotective properties (helps organisms survive extreme osmotic stress), so it can be found in a variety of pharmaceuticals or used for biotech applications.


Osmoprotectants are small organic molecules with neutral charges and low toxicity. They help plants overcome adverse environmental conditions by regulating cellular homeostasis.

Some studies have found that proline-treated plants show increased antioxidant enzyme activities, photosynthetic activity, nutritional status, plant growth, and oil content.


There is no set daily requirement or upper limit for proline at this time. Because it is a natural amino acid, there is not much risk of consuming too much from your diet. If you eat high-protein foods, you probably already get a decent amount of proline from your diet, however, consuming more in supplement form is still safe for most people.

Always look for high-quality collagen, gelatin, or bone broth supplements sold by reputable companies. Buy organic, grass-fed produce whenever possible.

It is not known whether proline supplements are always safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding at high doses. If you have trouble digesting protein, have kidney or liver disease, or are pregnant, it’s a good idea to discuss proline supplementation with your doctor first.

Final thoughts

Proline is an unconditional amino acid, meaning the body makes some of it on its own while more is obtained from high-protein foods.

Its functions include repairing skin damage, supporting the immune system, healing joints, improving antioxidant status, improving intestinal health and nutrient absorption, supporting metabolism, and protecting the cardiovascular system.

One of the most important functions of Proline includes the formation of collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body that provides the structure and strength of connective tissue.


The best sources of proline and collagen in our diet are bone broth, collagen powder, gelatin, and other protein-rich foods such as liver, organ meat, grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, farm-caught fish nature, egg yolks, and eggshell membranes.


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