If we want to achieve a certain goal physically, there is no limit to our motivation. We want to bring sport and nutrition into harmony. Many sports enthusiasts use dietary supplements to accelerate muscle growth. Citrulline malate is often taken to boost muscle training.
In our article on citrulline malate you will learn everything about the properties and functions of this dietary supplement. We go into the ingredients and explain what effects it has on the body. So you can decide for yourself whether this supplementation is suitable for you or not.
the essentials in brief
- Citrulline malate is a dietary supplement that is often used in competitive sports. It is a combination of L-citrulline and malate, which can be taken in powder or capsule form.
- The contained L-citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that the human body produces itself. However, it can also be ingested by ingesting certain foods.
- The focus should be on the dosage of citrulline malate. High quality products have a 2:1 ratio. Accordingly, L-citrulline should always have the higher proportion.
Background: What are citrulline and citrulline malate?
In this guide we would like to give you everything you need to know about citrulline and citrulline malate.
What is L-citrulline and what is it composed of?
Amino acids are important for our body and play a crucial role in metabolism. A distinction is made between non-essential and essential amino acids:
|Non-Essential Amino Acids||Can be produced in the body itself.|
|Essential Amino Acids||Must be ingested with food. The body cannot produce it itself.|
Citrulline, or L-citrulline gets its name from the watermelon. It comes from the Latin "Citrullus lanatus" and is derived from "Citrullus vulgaris", meaning watermelon. This important amino acid is contained there in a concentrated form. But it can also be produced by your body itself. Therefore, citrulline is a non-essential amino acid (1)(2).
What is the role of citrulline in our body?
Citrulline is an important ingredient when it comes to the urinary cycle. This process takes place in the liver and consists of chemical reactions. This is a crucial process in your body. Some of these amino groups, namely ammonia and lactate, are removed from your body through the urine without harming you.
Furthermore, citrulline is responsible for the formation of L-arginine. Another amino acid formed in the kidney after the conversion of citrulline to arginine. An enzyme eventually converts arginine into nitric oxide, causing blood vessels to dilate and blood pressure to drop. It has been proven that under the influence of L-arginine, more performance can also be achieved in sports (4).
Therefore, many athletes wonder why they should not take L-arginine directly. It seems plausible since L-citrulline is converted into L-arginine. Although this process takes longer, the effect in the body is longer. Therefore, taking direct L-arginine is not necessarily better.
L-citrulline is also often used for therapeutic purposes. Furthermore, citrulline is used in urea cycle disorders and Alzheimer's diseases. Sick people cannot produce enough proteins and amino acids. The body cannot gain energy from this and cannot detoxify. L-citrulline therefore acts as an immune modulator and is very popular, for example, in cancer chemotherapy (3).
How does citrulline malate work?
If your blood vessels are properly supplied with blood, this has a positive effect on your body and your performance. Therefore, many competitive athletes often take citrulline in combination with malate. The more your muscles are supplied with blood, the higher your performance (5).
Many competitive athletes use dietary supplements to accelerate muscle growth. (Image Source: Scott Webb / Pixabay)
Malate is about the anion of malic acid, which gives the apple its sweet and sour taste. Malate is responsible for energy production in the body. The combination of citrulline and malate can be expected to significantly increase muscle growth (6).
When is citrulline malate taken?
The dietary supplement is often used by athletes and in bodybuilding. Citrulline malate should first be taken in the morning on an empty stomach so that it can be optimally absorbed by the body. Most of the time, it is taken about 30 minutes before training as a pre-workout booster. If you don't tolerate it so well, you can also take citrulline malate with a meal.
In this way, the performance can be increased enormously. Before taking it, many athletes wonder why it is not better to take L-arginine directly instead of L-citrulline. Pay attention to the 2:1 ratio of the product; i.e. double the amount of L-citrulline. Some manufacturers use a 1:1 ratio because citrulline is the more expensive cost factor. In addition, the product should be free of colorings and preservatives as well as lactose and yeast (6).
If you are pregnant, you should not take citrulline malate. If you have low blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, it is also a concern. A preliminary discussion with the family doctor should therefore be considered.
How much citrulline malate to take?
The intake of citrulline malate depends on your desired goal. As previously mentioned, citrulline malate should be taken twice a day. You can dissolve the powder in water or fruit juice and drink it directly before training. The average athlete consumes around 3-5g per day. The ration of a competitive athlete is on average about 8g per day.
Does Citrulline Malate Supplementation Make Sense?
Taking supplements , in this case citrulline malate, can reduce fatigue during exercise. You can specifically improve and accelerate your workout. The performance is therefore increased. For example, if you go to the gym, you can do your exercises more frequently and even start weight gains earlier (7).
In addition, the recovery process can be accelerated by taking citrulline malate. Your muscles recover faster because sore muscles don't set in as quickly (12).
The combination of citrulline and malate supports faster muscle growth during training and at the same time faster recovery after training. (Image source: Pavel Jurča / Pixabay)
L-citrulline is already associated with male potency. In addition to arginine, nitric oxide is also required for the blood vessels to dilate and for an erection to take place. L-citrulline is not directly responsible for this, but it is still an important component in the process (8).
What Types of Citrulline Malate Supplements Are There?
There are two ways Citrulline Malate can be taken. When taking capsules, you should note the following:
- Fast ingestion
- Perfect for on the go
- Accidental overdose not possible
Some have trouble taking capsules and prefer powder formats. Again, you should consider the pros and cons:
- Effect occurs immediately
- Dosage can be measured as desired
- Can be dissolved in water or fruit juice
It makes sense to take the capsules on an empty stomach in the morning to give the effect time. You can then take the powder best before training, as it is released more quickly in the body.
What are the side effects of citrulline malate supplementation?
As with many medicines or dietary supplements, side effects can never be completely ruled out. Even though side effects are less common with L-citrulline than with L-arginine, for example, some people don't respond as well to it. Some people experience nausea when taken on an empty stomach. In most cases, however, no strong side effect is known. With increased intake, the body simply excretes the excess.
Side effects when taking citrulline malate are rarely known.
Otherwise, this can occur in combination with medication. This can lead to an increased concentration of ammonia in the blood. This can result in psychological and physical consequential damage.
If you experience side effects, watch the timing and dose of intake. Sometimes this can be a crucial point. It can also be helpful to consult someone who has more experience with this. If the side effects become more severe, you should stop taking citrulline malate altogether (9).
What alternatives are there to citrulline malate?
Many people get sick regularly due to poor diet and lack of exercise. Professionals who constantly sit in front of the computer and drive to work by car are the classic example of this.
On the way to the car, it's off to the snack bar and then off to the couch (10). If then the negative stress is added, that is the welcome invitation for bacteria and viruses.
Mental stress and lack of exercise can have devastating effects on the body.
Why do we always try to find only short-term and acute solutions? Why don't we look for the cause and fight it for a long-term solution (11)?
More and more people are turning to dietary supplements that only target specific organs in the body. The health of the whole body should come first. Only when all organs work in unison can a general improvement in all life situations arise.
If the immune system is in a better position and the body's defenses are strong, the body can shine in top form. Therefore, there are already some immune boosters that cover all the important vitamins that the body needs. In addition to a balanced diet, such supplements can be the first drivers to help you achieve better performance in sports.
What foods are good for L-citrulline production?
In addition to food supplements, you can also find L-citrulline in natural foods:
|food type||Amount of L-Citrulline|
|Yellow Watermelon||350mg per 100g|
|Orange watermelon||180mg per 100g|
|cucumbers||95mg per 100g|
|potatoes||41mg per 100g|
|oatmeal||100mg per 100g|
Since the name citrulline comes from the watermelon, you will find the highest amount of L-citrulline in this type of fruit. If you want to improve your athletic performance, you should also reach for watermelon (12).
As a non-essential amino acid, L-citrulline can be found in watermelon in particular. It has the highest content of L-citrulline. (Image Source: Foundry Co / Pixabay)
The amino acid is also found in almonds, nuts, fish and meat. Larger amounts of L-citrulline are found in the liver in particular. It has been proven that administering watermelon juice can prevent painful muscle soreness. The addition of watermelon can allow faster recovery after a workout (13).
Ultimately, it depends on what purpose you promise yourself by taking citrulline malate. With a balanced diet and the addition of foods containing citrulline, you can already achieve success when training. Another driver can be holistic immune boosters that give your body all the important ingredients. It will probably take longer before you can see the results.
You can try to give your body the right boost in a natural way. If you are involved in high-performance sports and regularly take part in competitions, such as in bodybuilding, citrulline malate can be a good support for your training. You should definitely pay attention to the ingredients of the product.
With the large selection of dietary supplements, it is important that the citrulline is in a 2:1 ratio with malate. It also helps if you choose a vegan product, as some products contain hidden animal substances, like gelatin. From a financial point of view, you also have to weigh up whether and which dosage form you can afford in the long term.
In addition to citrulline malate, there are several other dietary supplements that also contribute to better performance in sports. In general, food supplements can only be effective if they are taken regularly.
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University of Exeter. "Supplement produces a 'striking' endurance boost." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 Aug 2010.
- Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0. PMID: 20386132. Source
- Morita M, Hayashi T, Ochiai M, Maeda M, Yamaguchi T, Ina K, Kuzuya M. Oral supplementation with a combination of L-citrulline and L-arginine rapidly increases plasma L-arginine concentration and enhances NO bioavailability. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014 Nov7;454(1):53-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.10.029. Epub 2014 Oct 14. PMID: 25445598. Source
- Farney TM, Bliss MV, Hearon CM, Salazar DA. The Effect of Citrulline Malate Supplementation on Muscle Fatigue Among Healthy Participants. J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Sep;33(9):2464-2470. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002356. PMID: 29176388. Source
- Stanislavov R, Rohdewald P. Sperm quality in men is improved by supplementation with a combination of L-arginine, L-citrulline, roburins and Pycnogenol®. Minerva Urol Nefrol. 2014 Dec;66(4):217-23. PMID: 25531191. Source
- Khalaf D, Krüger M, Wehland M, Infanger M, Grimm D. The Effects of Oral l-Arginine and l-Citrulline Supplementation on Blood Pressure. nutrients. 2019 Jul 22;11(7):1679. doi: 10.3390/nu11071679. PMID: 31336573; PMCID: PMC6683098. Source
- GBD 2017 Diet Collaborators. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990-2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet. 2019 May 11;393(10184):1958-1972. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30041-8. Epub 2019 Apr 4. PMID: 30954305; PMCID: PMC6899507. Source
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- Tarazona-Díaz MP, Alacid F, Carrasco M, Martínez I, Aguayo E. Watermelon juice: potential functional drink for sore muscle relief in athletes. J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Aug 7;61(31):7522-8. doi: 10.1021/jf400964r. Epub 2013 Jul 29. Erratum in: J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Nov 20;61(46):11241. PMID: 23862566. Source