Vitamins For Dummies
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Dietary sources of glutamic acid — a nonessential amino acid — are animal and vegetable proteins. This nutrient is found in high concentrations in the human brain.

Proline derives from glutamic acid. Proline is one of the main amino acids your body uses to build collagen, which makes up the tough, elastic fibers of scar tissue and is the main structural material of your body — bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin all contain collagen. Dietary sources of proline are eggs and dairy products.

Proline promotes healthy bones, skin, and cartilage. Amino acid mixtures and tissue-building formulas commonly contain this amino acid. Proline is helpful in tissue repair following injury (especially burns) and after surgery.

If you read labels, don’t be confused by different words for glutamic acid, sometimes called glutamine or glutamate, which are essentially similar forms with the same function.

Key uses of glutamic acid include the following:

  • Practitioners prescribe glutamine to help gastrointestinal healing.

  • Glutamine also helps reduce cravings for sugar and alcohol, probably by providing energy for brain function.

  • Practitioners prescribe this amino acid for neurological and mental disorders.

Avoid glutamic acid supplements if you are pregnant, and never take them without the advice of your health practitioner in any circumstances. Do not give glutamic acid supplements to infants or children.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is derived from glutamic acid and serves as a flavor enhancer. It is hidden in many processed and restaurant foods under the label “natural flavor or natural coloring.” Some scientists say that MSG should be on the label, because it is a brain stimulant to which many people react. Children, especially, should not consume MSG regularly.

Chow mein lovers beware! Chinese chefs in particular commonly use a generous amount of MSG to enhance the flavor of their dishes.

Some medical researchers feel that lysine, proline, and vitamin C supplements are effective in reversing hardening of the arteries. Always take vitamin C with proline for healing injuries and strengthening tissues, because it is necessary for building collagen.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., is an holistic health expert whose many books include Herbal Remedies For Dummies??. Elson Haas, M.D., is the author of Staying Healthy with the Seasons and The Detox Diet.

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