Citrulline Malate Effects, Uses and Side Effects
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Citrulline malate effects appear to have a variety of synergistic properties with other popular peri-workout supplements, such as arginine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and are gaining a reputation as a potent “pump”/blood flow enhancer.
It can have benefits for athletic performance, cardiovascular efficacy, certain neurodegenerative conditions and more.
Citrulline is a nonessential alpha-amino acid that is organically produced in the rind and flesh of watermelon but is present in certain proteins and the urea cycle of mammals, including human beings.
It is usually present as a by-product of arginine oxidation or from the reaction of carbamoyl phosphate and ornithine.
Bodybuilders and other athletes commonly use citrulline malate to reduce muscular fatigue during intense workouts, and it is mostly used as an alternative to L-arginine, which has low oral bioavailability.
What is Citrulline Malate?
The non-essential amino acid L-citrulline and malic acid are combined to produce citrulline malate.
L-citrulline is an alpha amino acid that is non-proteinogenic. The body uses it as an integral intermediate in the urea cycle, instead.
Malic acid, on the other hand, is an organic dicarboxylic acid present in every living organism.
L-citrulline has a number of medicinal uses as well and has been researched for its effects on Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, erectile dysfunction (ED), impotence, lysinuric protein intolerance, and weak immunity.
It has also been studied for vascular disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, muscular fatigue, weakness, diabetes mellitus, postoperative pulmonary hypertension and more.
Physiological role of citrulline
Citrulline is primarily relegated to bolstering nitric oxide-dependent signaling, and also plays numerous physiological roles.
Citrulline is an important component of the urea cycle and manufactured by a variety of other amino acids in the liver.
The urea cycle is a process that facilitates the elimination of ammonia and other nitrogenous toxins from the blood. Most of this process takes place in the liver of mammals.
Nitrogen metabolites accumulate from digestion, absorption, and metabolism of proteins, and given that bodybuilders generally consume large amounts of protein, proper nitrogen metabolism is critical.
Positive Side Effects of Citrulline Malate
Citrulline gets most of the credit for citrulline malate’s positive effects, but both citrulline and malic acid provide exercise and other health benefits.
Increasing nitric oxide levels by taking citrulline involves several steps and processes. Citrulline first converts into arginine, another amino acid which directly increases nitric oxide levels.
The reason why arginine is not taken instead is that arginine has limited absorption in the digestive system. In contrast, citrulline absorbs easily, giving it an advantage over arginine.
Several clinical research confirms taking citrulline increases arginine and nitric oxide levels better than taking arginine.
Nitric oxide promotes healthy blood flow, which has several effects, like allowing nutrients and oxygen reach cells faster.
For men trying to combat sexual performance issues, better blood flow means harder erections.
Studies have revealed that about fifty percent of men with mild erectile dysfunction experienced significantly harder erections after taking citrulline malate for a month or so.
According to a study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, done in 2002, the malate in citrulline malate increases cells’ ability to go through the citric acid cycle.
The citric acid cycle transforms stored glycogen into more usable energy in the form of ATP. A 6-gram citrulline malate dosage used in the study increased ATP production by 34% and comes as no surprise.
The participants in this study felt significantly less fatigued after taking citrulline malate.
In another study showed that men who took citrulline malate performed 52.9% more reps of barbell bench presses than those who took a placebo.
Their muscles were also 40% less sore within 2 days, meaning citrulline malate decreased muscle recovery time.
Citrulline Malate Side Effects and Safety
There are no negative reported side effects from L-citrulline usage, but in rare instances, malic acid has been reported to cause transient nausea and diarrhea.
Furthermore, L-citrulline has antihypertensive mechanisms, and as such, should not be used in conjunction with drugs used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension).
Citrulline Malate should not be used with nitrates or PDE-5 inhibitors either, since this type of usage may result in low blood pressure (hypotension).
Women who are pregnant or nursing are advised not to use citrulline malate supplements since there is not enough available data to determine its safety in these groups.
In conclusion, it is best to speak with a doctor who knows about your health history before beginning to supplement with citrulline malate or any supplement.