There are a few supplements in the health and fitness industry that have stood the test of time. Supplements that are commonplace amongst top level bodybuilders, weekend warriors, and regular gym goers alike.
And Citrulline malate is one of them.
But what is it, and what does it do?
Citrulline is a specific type of amino acid found in the human body that also appears naturally in a variety of fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, squash, cucumber, pumpkin, rockmelon, and honeydew melon.
As an amino acid, citrulline is considered to be “nonessential” because your body actually has the capacity to produce some of its own.
However, your body's ability to make citrulline is predicated on having adequate nutrients available to facilitate its production. With this in mind, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that supplementing with additional citrulline can offer a number of unique benefits.
Which is where citrulline malate enters the equation -- in which it describes a type of citrulline supplement that is easily digested into the human body.
What does citrulline do?
Citrulline is an important amino acid that plays a number of different roles in the human body.
It is most well known for its role in the “urea cycle”, which is the process by which your body eliminates numerous harmful compounds. As a result, citrulline is integral to keeping your body healthy and toxin free.
Moreover, citrulline can also help dilate your blood vessels, which increase blood flow, and may even enhance exercise performance and aid in the development of new muscle tissue -- which leads us to our next section quite nicely.
Citrulline malate benefits
As I have already alluded to, Citrulline malate is simply a supplement form of citrulline. This means that it offers a great way to increase the amount of citrulline in your body beyond what it would normally produce.
And this can have some serious benefits.
1. Better Gym Performance
Citrulline is a vasodilator -- which means it helps relax and widen your blood vessels. This can increase blood flow throughout your body and to your muscle tissue, enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
With this in mind, several studies have clearly demonstrated that citrulline malate can improve weight training performance. It appears to do this by increasing the number of repetitions you can perform at a given workload .
For example, without taking citrulline malate you might be able to bench press three sets of ten reps at 100kgs. Then with citrulline malate, you might be able to perform three sets of twelve reps using 100kgs.
While being able to lift more is obviously cool, its benefits extend far beyond that.
Increasing the number of reps you perform within your training session causes a subsequent increase in training volume. Over time, this can lead to marked improvements in muscle growth and muscle strength.
All of which means that citrulline malate could be one of the best options to take your training to the next level.
2. Better Recovery
In conjunction with better exercise performance, the enhanced blood flow associated with citrulline malate supplementation will also improve your recovery after exercise .
By increasing the movement of proteins and nutrients into your muscle tissue after training, citrulline malate ensures that your body has everything it needs to repair and grow stronger. This can lead to faster recovery between sessions, combined with a reduction in muscle soreness.
Again, the big thing here is that improved recovery between training sessions will ensure that the quality of your training stays high year round -- which can cause substantial improvements in strength and size over a longer term training block.
3. Lower Blood Pressure
Our last benefit deviates slightly away from the realm of exercise, and moves into the realm of health.
Because citrulline malate acts as a vasodilator, its supplementation can make it easier for the heart to pump blood throughout your body. As a result, it can lead to marked reductions in blood pressure, and improvements in cardiovascular health .
This can reduce your risk of heart disease, which will go a very long way to keep you training at the top of your game for years to come.
Citrulline Malate Dosing
So, how much should you take?
Research has shown that taking between 3 and 8 grams of citrulline malate about 60 minutes before exercise is adequate to improve exercise performance. Moreover, taking similar amounts every day can cause lasting effects in heart health.
With this in mind, we would suggest you start on the lower side and work your way up gradually to make sure you tolerate it well.
And of course, always seek advice from a medical professional before supplementation to make sure that it is safe for you to do so.
Take Home Message
Citrulline malate matt very well be one of the most potent supplements on the market. With the potential to improve gym performance, boost your recovery between sessions, and even enhance the health of your heart, it is a great choice.
- Gonzalez, Adam M., and Eric T. Trexler. "Effects of citrulline supplementation on exercise performance in humans: A review of the current literature." The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 34.5 (2020): 1480-1495.
- Sureda, Antoni, and Antoni Pons. "Arginine and citrulline supplementation in sports and exercise: ergogenic nutrients?." Acute topics in sport nutrition 59 (2012): 18-28.
- Orozco-Gutiérrez, Juan José, et al. "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 (2010): 612-618.