The bulk of citrulline benefits for athletic performance and health result from its capacities to increase nitric oxide (NO) synthesis and bring vasodilation.
If you are regularly involved in strenuous exercise or concerned about your cardiovascular health, then you might find citrulline to be of potential value.
Citrulline is an amino acid that is considered to be “non-essential.”
This means that your body produces a sufficient amount, and dietary intake is not essential.
One can obtain citrulline from food, or manufactured by the body from ornithine, another amino acid obtained from food.
This is achieved through a biochemical process called the urea cycle.
The urea cycle helps rid the body of ammonia, which is a waste product of protein digestion.
After your digestive system metabolizes citrulline, enzymes in your liver cells convert it to another amino acid called arginine.
Other enzymes in the body will then act to convert arginine into nitric oxide in a process that also yields new citrulline molecules.
Nitric oxide (NO), is a vasodilator that can help protect you from cardiovascular problems by lowering blood pressure and improving blood and nutrient flow to your vital organs.
Although our body can make citrulline, research suggests that consuming extra citrulline may offer more health benefits.
Citrulline Benefits for Bodybuilding
Research shows that using citrulline during exercise might enhance performance.
There have been tests on animals that were fed citrulline, and the result showed that these animals were able to perform strenuous tasks for longer periods of time.
The animals also had lower levels of blood ammonia and lactate, than the animals that were not given citrulline.
Several studies put forward that supplementation with citrulline may improve the health of your arteries and heart.
A study done in the “Cardiology Journal” in 2010 that involved people with heart failure, found that when citrulline malate was consumed during a two-month period, performance on the treadmill increased and overall blood pressure decreased, which resulted in increased heart function.
When citrulline malate is taken before a strength training session, the lower blood pressure allows the user to experience a bigger “pump” during the workout.
This is possible because the delivery of the blood to the muscle tissues is increased, which causes a greater cellular volume of the muscle.
Muscle soreness from an anaerobic weightlifting exercise was reduced by ~40% after a day and ~42% after 2 days for those taking 8g of citrulline.
Intake of Citrulline delayed fatigue by enhancing more reps performed per set for each set
Another study that gave 6g per day of citrulline for 22 days found reduced reports of fatigue from men who usually complained of fatigue.
In 2015, two double-blind, randomized trials that utilize 15 trained female weightlifters, who were between 20 and 26 years of age.
The effects of daily 8 g doses of citrulline malate (CM) plus 8 g of dextrose, were compared to those of 8 g daily doses of dextrose alone (which was used as a placebo agent in these studies).
One hour after supplement administration, all subjects performed 6 sets of bench press and 6 sets of leg press.
The exercises were performed to failure at 80% of given subjects’ one-rep maximums.
Upon a muscular failure in each of the twelve sets performed, RPE (rating of perceived exertion), the number of repetitions, and heart rate were recorded.
- There was a decrease in RPE during upper-body exercise
- There was an enhanced performance in both upper and lower body exercises
- There were no significant effects on heart rate during exercise periods
These studies and results only promote the suggestion that acute supplementation with citrulline can help to improve athletic performance in events that require sustained muscular endurance.
According to information on WebMD, there are currently no side effects associated with L-citrulline, however, it may affect the way certain drugs work in your body.
Doctors recommend that you do not take L-citrulline supplements if you are already taking Nitrates for heart disease, or erectile dysfunction drugs such as Cialis, or Viagra.
Consult with your doctor first, before starting supplementation with L-citrulline or citrulline containing supplements.
L-citrulline has the ability to boost nitric oxide production in the body, which helps your arteries relax and function better.
Boosted nitric oxide production, improves blood flow throughout the body, specifically to the muscle tissues.
This has been helpful for treating and preventing many diseases, such as reducing the risk of heart disease and easing the symptoms of mild-to-moderate erectile dysfunction.
It can also help people with blood vessel problems, such as slow wound healing due to diabetes.