Citrulline malate is one of the most effective sports performance supplements for fighting fatigue, increasing strength, and improving recovery. You can find it as a standalone dietary supplement or as one of the ingredients in various pre-workout formulations (pre-workout cocktails). In this article you’ll find out its evidence based benefits, mechanism of action, dosage, and other helpful tips that will help you get the best out of this great supplement.
What is citrulline malate and how does it work?
Citrullinc malate is an amino acid produced in the body and found in watermelon that helps to stimulate the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a natural vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow to the muscles. More blood flow to your muscles results in improved energy and endurance along with a bigger “pump.” A “pump” is the swelling or enlargement that happens to your muscles during exercise.
Furthermore, citrulline improves the efficiency of the urea cycle. The urea cycle is a system in the liver that converts nitrogenous wastes into urea and eliminates them from the body. This is important for eliminating ammonia and toxic nitrogen metabolites. When you exercise, the generation of ammonia increases fatigue and reduces glycogen (the stores we use for energy). Improving the system for removing those waste products can improve exercise performance. As you exercise your muscles, they burn from lactic acid buildup. Citrulline is thought to help eliminate that burn, allowing you to perform longer and harder.
Types of citrulline supplements
There are two major forms of citrulline in dietary supplements:
- L-citrulline: This simply refers to citrulline by itself, with nothing else attached.
- Citrulline malate: This refers to the combination of citrulline and another compound called malate, which is important for energy production. Hence, malate helps supply the body with instantaneous and sustained energy during exercise.
While the two forms of may produce some similar effects, citrulline malate is more common in sports supplements.
Benefits of citrulline malate for bodybuilders, athletes and regular exercisers?
Here’s a rundown of the many benefits this supplement has to offer for hard-training athletes:
- Helps reduce muscle fatigue.
- Increases peak power and training volume (total repetitions completed) with an average increase of about 14% over 4 studies.
- Helps increase endurance.
- Relieves muscle soreness and improves recovery.
- Enhances nitric oxide production and leads to strength gains.
- Facilitates protein synthesis (decreasing amino acid breakdown).
- Helps the body make better use of essential amino acids during extremely strenuous exercise.
Citrulline malate versus arginine
Citrulline malate is metabolized by the kidneys, where about 80% is converted into arginine. Arginine is an amino acid found in dietary protein and produced in the body that is used to synthesize nitric oxide. While you can find supplements containing arginine, it’s a less-desirable ingredient than citrulline malate. Only about 20% of arginine is absorbed by the body, and it often causes gastrointestinal issues. As a result, arginine supplementation is less effective than citrulline malate.
Effective dosages of citrulline malate range from 6 to 8 grams. Many pre-workout products underdose citrulline malate because its a relatively expensive ingredient. That’s why we strongly suggest that you buy citrulline malate as a stand-alone dietary supplement.
Based on current information, citrulline is safe and well-tolerated even at higher doses. However, doses of greater than 10 grams are probably unnecessary.
Citrulline malate is a supplement compound composed of two major elements: (a) citrulline is a nonessential amino acid primarily found in melons, (b) malate (malic acid) which is an apple derivative believed to increase absorption rates and bioavailability.
Studies suggest that citrulline malate supplements can boost athletic performance in the context of both endurance and strength-based exercise (weight training performance). It also appears to be safe and there are currently no known side effects. In Europe, it has been used for over 20 years with great success by clinicians.
Try a citrulline malate supplement! There are other supplements with which you can stack citrulline malate. For example, creatine, BCAA amino acids, and stimulants can be used effectively with citrulline malate.
Citrulline malate can be a very useful tool in your arsenal of performance and recovery enhancing instruments, but only if you are willing to use it the way science has shown it to be effective. It is one of the few pre-workout supplements that we recommend you to try.
reducing muscle fatigue
increasing total repetitions completed
Relieving muscle soreness and improving recovery
achieving greater muscle pump effect