citrulline malate

Citrulline malate is currently one of the most popular pre-workout ingredients worldwide. It has gained popularity among athletes due to its ability to increase athletic performance. Due to this, it has become a common ingredient in many different pre-workout products. Unfortunately, many pre-workout products do not contain enough Citrulline Malate to optimize the beneficial effects of this amino acid. Therefore, people often buy a separate Citrulline Malate supplement in order to consume the desired amount.

Citrulline malate is also known as:
L-Citrulline malate
L-Citrulline DL-malate

There is often confusion regarding l-citrulline and citrulline malate. While their name is similar, there are some differences between these ingredients. In order to understand the main difference, it is important to realize that citrulline malate is an amino-acid compound which consists of l-citrulline and malate. This combination is often used in order to enhance the benefits of both l-citrulline and malate. Therefore, the beneficial effects of citrulline malate may come from L-Citrulline and / or malate. Due to the structure of citrulline malate, the information below is based on research regarding l-citrulline and citrulline malate.

Functions of citrulline malate

Can improve athletic performance by increasing strength and endurance
Citrulline malate is primarily used due to its ability to improve athletic performance. These improvements are mainly possible due to its ability to improve both endurance and strength [1][2][3]. It was found that weight training users may perform up to 53% more repetitions when using citrulline malate [1]. It was also found that it may decrease fatigue while improving training performance [4]. Studies also found that it may not only help with resistance training, but also with other sports like: running, cycling, wrestling, and more [5]. For example, it was found that several days of consumption could help cyclist to cycle for 12% longer, while also improving power output during cycling [3].

May widen blood vessels for a bigger pump and other positive effects
Citrulline malate also has the ability to widen our blood vessels and improve the blood flow in our body [6][7][8]. This may not only result in a bigger pump during resistance training, but may also have other positive effects. The improved blood flow, may help our muscles to receive more oxygen and nutrients [5]. This may be one of the reasons why citrulline malate can have a beneficial effect on exercise performance. Due to the increased blood flow, it was also found that this amino acid may also improve erections in men with erectile dysfunction [9][10] Furthermore, the ability to widen the blood vessels may also lower blood pressure [1][11][12]. However, further research needs to be done in order to determine if it can also consistently lower the blood pressure of people who already have a good blood pressure. Furthermore, a single dose may be not as effective at widening the blood vessels than taking it for a longer period [13].

Other
Citrulline malate may also have other positive benefits. For example, one study found that it can promote an increase of growth hormone production after exercise [15]. It was also found that this amino acid may reduce muscle soreness by up to 40% after exercising [2]. Due to the addition of malate to citrulline, it is also claimed that citrulline malate may increase the energy production of our body [4]. However, this claim requires further research.

Who can use citrulline malate ?

This amino acid is very suitable for people which would like to improve their athletic performance. Due to its beneficial effects, this supplement is suitable for people which do resistance training and/or endurance training. Furthermore, some people also consume it to lower high blood pressure levels.

How should I use citrulline malate ? / Dosages

Current research suggests that ~6-9g citrulline malate (2:1 ratio) consumed ~20-40 minutes before a training, is an effective amount in order to improve athletic performance [2][4]. Some people also suggest to consume citrulline malate on rest days due to the health benefits. While this may provide health benefits, there is not enough evidence that daily consumption will further increase athletic performance.

How does this supplement work ?

Citrulline malate can have several important and significant effects in our body. As described earlier, citrulline malate can increase vasodilation. This means that it can widen the arteries or veins, which could have several beneficial effects. The increase in vasodilation is possible since citrulline is converted in our body to another amino acid called arginine. Arginine is converted by our body into a molecule called nitric oxide. This molecule can cause vasodilation of blood vessels due to its ability to relax the muscle cells that constrict them [15]. Furthermore, some studies have shown that some beneficial effects are also possible due to its ability to increase protein synthesis [16][17]. Facilitating the process of protein synthesis can help produce and maintain muscle mass and strength.

Stacking / combining

Citrulline malate can be perfectly combined with many other supplements. Due to this, and its performance enhancing effects, it is found in several pre-workout supplements. However, due to the limited amount of citrulline malate in many pre-workout supplements, people often use additional citrulline malate in order to optimize its beneficial effects. When used as a pre-workout ingredient, it is often combined with beta-alanine, caffeine and creatine.

Where does citrulline malate come from ?

Citrulline is a naturally occurring amino acid. Our body can produce it in small amounts, and it can also be found in small amounts in our food. However, this supplement also contains another compound called malate. Malate is a part of malic acid, which can extracted from fruits such as apples. The combination of these two compounds creates citrulline malate.

Other information

Citrulline malate vs L-arginine
As previously mentioned, some effects of citrulline malate are possible due to the conversion of citrulline into another amino acid called arginine. At first glance, it may seem beneficial to use a arginine supplement instead of citrulline malate, in order to increase vasodilation. However, the use of an arginine supplement is not as effective or efficient as a citrulline malate supplement [16][18]. This difference occurs since our body uses arginine for a variety of functions. Due to this, not all consumed arginine is used in order to produce nitric oxide [19].

Safety & competitive use

Safety
Several studies found that citrulline malate is safe for use, even when larger amounts than recommended are used [20][21].

Competitive use
Due to the performance benefits, this supplement is used by many professional athletes. The use of this supplement is allowed, and will not result in problems for professional athletes.

Correct use
A dietary supplement can contribute to a healthy and active lifestyle. However, it should not be a substitute for a healthy lifestyle and a varied diet. The recommended dosage should not be exceeded, since side effects may occur otherwise.

As with any supplement, we advise users to consult a physician before use. In particular if you use medication or have health complaints. This product should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Furthermore, this product should not be used by persons under 18 years of age and must be kept out of the reach of children. Keep this product in a cool and dry place to maintain the quality.

References

  1. Orozco-Gutiérrez, J. J., Castillo-Martínez, L., Orea-Tejeda, A., Vázquez-Díaz, O., Valdespino-Trejo, A., Narváez-David, R., … & Sánchez-Santillán, R. (2010). Effect of L-arginine or L-citrulline oral supplementation on blood pressure and right ventricular function in heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction. Cardiology journal, 17(6), 612-618.
  2. Pérez-Guisado, J., & Jakeman, P. M. (2010). Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(5), 1215-1222.
  3. Suzuki, T., Morita, M., Kobayashi, Y., & Kamimura, A. (2016). Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13(1), 1-8.
  4. Wax, B., Kavazis, A. N., Weldon, K., & Sperlak, J. (2015). Effects of supplemental citrulline malate ingestion during repeated bouts of lower-body exercise in advanced weightlifters. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 29(3), 786-792.
  5. Bailey, S. J., Blackwell, J. R., Lord, T., Vanhatalo, A., Winyard, P. G., & Jones, A. M. (2015). l-Citrulline supplementation improves O2 uptake kinetics and high-intensity exercise performance in humans. Journal of Applied Physiology.
  6. Morita, M., Sakurada, M., Watanabe, F., Yamasaki, T., Ezaki, H., Morishita, K., & Miyake, T. (2013). Effects of oral L-citrulline supplementation on lipoprotein oxidation and endothelial dysfunction in humans with vasospastic angina. Immunology, Endocrine & Metabolic Agents in Medicinal Chemistry (Formerly Current Medicinal Chemistry-Immunology, Endocrine and Metabolic Agents), 13(3), 214-220.
  7. Ochiai, M., Hayashi, T., Morita, M., Ina, K., Maeda, M., Watanabe, F., & Morishita, K. (2012). Short-term effects of L-citrulline supplementation on arterial stiffness in middle-aged men. International journal of cardiology, 155(2), 257-261.
  8. El-Hattab, A. W., Emrick, L. T., Hsu, J. W., Chanprasert, S., Almannai, M., Craigen, W. J., … & Scaglia, F. (2016). Impaired nitric oxide production in children with MELAS syndrome and the effect of arginine and citrulline supplementation. Molecular genetics and metabolism, 117(4), 407-412.
  9. Cormio, L., De Siati, M., Lorusso, F., Selvaggio, O., Mirabella, L., Sanguedolce, F., & Carrieri, G. (2011). Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction. Urology, 77(1), 119-122.
  10. Komori, K., Tsujimura, A., Takao, T., Matsuoka, Y., Miyagawa, Y., Takada, S., … & Okuyama, A. (2008). Nitric oxide synthesis leads to vascular endothelial growth factor synthesis via the NO/cyclic guanosine 3′, 5′-monophosphate (cGMP) pathway in human corpus cavernosal smooth muscle cells. The journal of sexual medicine, 5(7), 1623-1635.
  11. Wong, A., Alvarez-Alvarado, S., Jaime, S. J., Kinsey, A. W., Spicer, M. T., Madzima, T. A., & Figueroa, A. (2016). Combined whole-body vibration training and l-citrulline supplementation improves pressure wave reflection in obese postmenopausal women. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 41(3), 292-297.
  12. Alsop, P., & Hauton, D. (2016). Oral nitrate and citrulline decrease blood pressure and increase vascular conductance in young adults: a potential therapy for heart failure. European journal of applied physiology, 116(9), 1651-1661.
  13. Kim, I. Y., Schutzler, S. E., Schrader, A., Spencer, H. J., Azhar, G., Deutz, N. E., & Wolfe, R. R. (2015). Acute ingestion of citrulline stimulates nitric oxide synthesis but does not increase blood flow in healthy young and older adults with heart failure. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 309(11), E915-E924.
  14. Sureda, A., Córdova, A., Ferrer, M. D., Pérez, G., Tur, J. A., & Pons, A. (2010). L-citrulline-malate influence over branched chain amino acid utilization during exercise. European journal of applied physiology, 110(2), 341-351.
  15. Quillon, A., Fromy, B., & Debret, R. (2015). Endothelium microenvironment sensing leading to nitric oxide mediated vasodilation: A review of nervous and biomechanical signals. Nitric Oxide, 45, 20-26.
  16. Bahri, S., Zerrouk, N., Aussel, C., Moinard, C., Crenn, P., Curis, E., … & Sfar, S. (2013). Citrulline: from metabolism to therapeutic use. Nutrition, 29(3), 479-484.
  17. Jourdan, M., Nair, K. S., Carter, R. E., Schimke, J., Ford, G. C., Marc, J., … & Cynober, L. (2015). Citrulline stimulates muscle protein synthesis in the post-absorptive state in healthy people fed a low-protein diet–A pilot study. Clinical Nutrition, 34(3), 449-456.
  18. Figueroa, A., Wong, A., Jaime, S. J., & Gonzales, J. U. (2017). Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 20(1), 92-98.
  19. Agarwal, U., Didelija, I. C., Yuan, Y., Wang, X., & Marini, J. C. (2017). Supplemental citrulline is more efficient than arginine in increasing systemic arginine availability in mice. The Journal of nutrition, 147(4), 596-602.
  20. Moinard, C., Nicolis, I., Neveux, N., Darquy, S., Benazeth, S., & Cynober, L. (2008). Dose-ranging effects of citrulline administration on plasma amino acids and hormonal patterns in healthy subjects: the Citrudose pharmacokinetic study. British journal of nutrition, 99(4), 855-862.
  21. Hwang, P., Morales Marroquín, F. E., Gann, J., Andre, T., McKinley-Barnard, S., Kim, C., … & Willoughby, D. S. (2018). Eight weeks of resistance training in conjunction with glutathione and L-Citrulline supplementation increases lean mass and has no adverse effects on blood clinical safety markers in resistance-trained males. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 1-10.

Author

Mario Klasens Author XBR

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