A naturally occurring amino acid that your body produces on its own, L-proline may be taken in supplemental form to lower the buildup of arterial deposits and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, this amino acid may also help your body build collagen, which is a primary structural tissue in connective tissue. L-proline supplements have no known side effects.
Why Take Proline
Your body already produces enough of the amino acid proline, so it seems unnecessary to take it supplementally. Having an abundance of this amino acid, a building block of protein, in your system, though, can improve the health of your joints, the appearance of your skin and robustness of your immune system. L-proline is readily available in meat, dairy and eggs; if your diet is low in these protein sources, you may have trouble producing optimal levels of this amino acid. Some people also have an issue metabolizing, and thus utilizing, L-proline; vitamin C deficiency can cause this challenge.
Hard research supporting the use of proline supplements to improve skin tone and joint vitality is lacking. Leon Chaitow, in the book "Amino Acids for Therapy," examined the role of proline in the conversion to hydroxyproline, a building block of collagen. He suggests that supplements might help with soft tissue strain, wound healing, hypermobile joints and the sagging skin associated with aging. Chaitow recommends taking between 500 and 1,000 milligrams daily, along with supplemental vitamin C.
Too much proline can give you an elevated amino-acid intake. This causes your body to create protein waste that must be expelled by the liver and, especially, the kidneys -- putting a lot of strain on these organs. Most people can handle the additional amino acids, but if you have liver or kidney disease, consult with your doctor before adding any supplemental amino acid to your diet.
If you want to increase your intake of L-proline, consider boosting your dietary sources of this amino acid rather than taking a supplement. Cottage cheese, cream cheese, beef, lamb, poultry, fish and gelatin are all sources. Bone broth -- made from stewing together animal bones and vegetables for hours -- also contains significant amounts of proline, along with other valuable nutrients.