Citrulline Malate is one of the most popular supplements used by fitness lovers and athletes. Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid and our body synthesizes it using two amino acids - glutamine and proline.
Citrulline was first found in watermelon. It is an essential amino acid, important for the body and is involved in the urea cycle.
It is needed to excrete ammonia out of our body, which might otherwise prove detrimental for us. Citrulline has been shown to enhance athletic performance and stamina. It is a precursor of amino acid - arginine, which is needed for nitric oxide production. Citrulline gets converted to arginine and then to nitric oxide (NO). This NO acts as a vasodilator, which expands our blood vessels resulting in improved blood flow. A healthy flow of blood supplies greater oxygen to our muscles, hence increasing our aerobic capacity to perform better during high-intensity exercises.
People often wonder why not supplement with arginine.
So, the answer is that citrulline has a higher bioavailability and works for a longer duration in our body as compared to arginine. Apart from this, citrulline helps in getting rid of excess ammonia accumulation which in turn reduces fatigue and enables you to workout for a longer duration.
Malate is essentially required during TCA or Tricarboxylic Acid Cycle in our body, to generate energy from carbohydrates and fats. The energy is also utilised for effective muscle contraction. Hence, to ensure a continuous supply of energy we need malate for the smooth functioning of TCA cycle. Due to these performance-enhancing effects, citrulline and malate are available together as pre-workout supplements.
A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2015 examined the effect of supplemental citrulline malate during lower-body exercises among weightlifters. 8g of citrulline malate were given to 12 male athletes. It was found that citrulline supplementation was beneficial in improving your workouts. Another study evaluated the effects on anaerobic performance and muscle soreness. Researchers found that 4-10 g of citrulline malate diminishes post-workout muscle soreness by buffering exercise-induced increased levels of lactate, ammonia and acidosis. Citrulline malate has also shown approx. 34% increase in the rate of energy production and 20% enhanced muscle recovery with reduced fatigue levels in another clinical trial.
Hence, there have been multiple supporting pieces of evidence of citrulline malate in amplifying athletic performance. It allows more supply and utilisation of oxygen to derive energy. Both endurance and strength athletes can make use of citrulline malate during their performance demanding sports. Not only it delays muscle fatigue but also boost energy levels, and inflates strength in the muscles for a prolonged duration of time.
To conclude, citrulline malate might prove to be a useful ergogenic aid if you are aiming to raise your activity levels. Generally, 6-8 grams is proven to be effective in achieving the desired results but the dosage may vary in different supplement brands depending upon the formulation. It keeps our blood vessels healthy and is also recommended to lower high blood pressure, by physicians after careful supervision. Though there have not been any specific side effects of overdosage excess consumption beyond 10 grams is unnecessary and should be avoided.
Benjamin. Wax, Andreas N. Kavazis, et. al, (2015) Effects of Supplemental Citrulline Malate Ingestion During Repeated Bouts of Lower-Body Exercise in Advanced Weightlifters, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Referred from https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2015/03000/Effects_of_Supplemental_Citrulline_Malate.29.aspx
Guisado. Perez, Joaquin, Philip M. Jakeman, (2010),Citrulline Malate Enhances Athletic Anaerobic Performance and Relieves Muscle Soreness, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Retrieved from https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2010/05000/Citrulline_Malate_Enhances_Athletic_Anaerobic.9.aspx
Bendahan. D, Mattei. J P, Ghattas. B, et. al, (N.D) Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle, BMJ Journals. Referred from https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/36/4/282
SJ. Bailey, JR. Blackwell, Vanhatalo. Lord T, et.al, (2015) l-Citrulline supplementation improves O2 uptake kinetics and high-intensity exercise performance in humans, PubMed. Referred from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26023227