Proline is an amino acid*.
The molecular formula of proline is C5H9NO2
Amino acids generally are explained further in the column on the rightin further detail below. Briefly, there are two types of amino acid:
- Those that can be synthesized by the body itself (non-essential amino acids), and
- those that, although necessary for the healthy growth or maintenance of the body, cannot be produced by the body itself.
This second type of amino acids are called essential amino acids, and are also referred to as indispensible amino acids in some textbooks.
Proline is a "non-essential" or "dispensible" amino acid because, although its presence in an appropriate quantity is important for good health, the human body can produce this chemical from an excess of certain other amino acids in the body. Therefore it is not essential as a part of the diet.
Proline is an important chemical in many physiological functions including creating collagen and facilitating the absorption of nutrients in the intestines, which are part of the digestive system.
For further information about amino acids in general, see Amino Acids.