L-Citrulline

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It’s the era of nitric oxide pre-cursors. One such precursor is L-Citrulline Malate or Citrulline Malate (CM). This amino acid is commonly used to keep the liver healthy. In fact, the largest concentration of CM is in the liver. The amino acid is produced in the mitochondria before it is converted into a highly bioavailable form of Arginine.

Why Citrulline and Not Arginine?

So here’s the deal. Half a decade or a decade ago, Arginine reigned supreme in the nitric oxide supplement department. It worked somehow as some people swore by it. However, a vast majority didn’t experience anything with Arginine supplementation. In fact, most people developed arginine related side effects.

Arginine failed because everyone has an enzyme called Arginase. This enzyme rapidly degrades the amino acid before it can be converted into nitrogen oxide. There’s simply no way to circumvent this.

Citrulline on the other hand was a relatively new supplement that was discovered in watermelons. There wasn’t really any known use of it before until scientists found that CM gets converted into Arginine!

How Citrulline Helps Increase Nitric Oxide Production

There’s a complicated process used by the body to convert Citrulline into Arginine. In the diagram shown, several acids and enzymes convert the amino acid carefully. Arginine on the other had is susceptible to various enzymes. One of them is the Arginase, which destroys the amino acid. The other one is NOS or Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS) which converts Arginine back into CM and producing NO at the same time.

So if that’s the case, why not just take Arginine?

Unfortunately, our body has several systems in place to tell if you’re eating or taking too much Arginine. Once our body detects our blood to contain a lot of Arginine, by virtue of nutrient competition, Arginase production steps up to compensate and get rid of Arginine!

Intake of large doses of Arginine causes pre-systemic elimination or the elimination of the amino acid before it reaches into the blood stream by the liver, kidney and digestive system. A systemic elimination occurs inside the circulatory system with Arginase.

Citrulline is Better than Arginine

l citrulline malateCitrulline on the other hand, is classified as a non-protein amino acid. Studies by Oswoska and Shwedhelm showed that oral CM supplementation produced more plasma arginine than arginine supplementation itself.

In another study, a high dose of CM administered was cleared by the body easily due to elimination and conversion into arginine + nitrogen oxide. Although such results are not definitively conclusive, they show that high doses of this amino acid do not have side effects!

Food That Contains Citrulline

Getting your daily dose of Citrulline is easier than most supplementation. That’s because the amino acid is found in relatively high amounts in food.

It’s found in most fruits but is especially high in watermelons. The rind part contains a whole lot so eating the fruit near the rind will give you a lot of Citrulline.

Other food sources include high protein food like meat products, dairy like milk products and poultry such as eggs.  You can reach half of what you need by food alone. Sporadic intake of CM via real food can be beneficial as the body prefers small amounts than a single large dose.

However, if you really want to maximize the benefits of the amino acid, you may want supplementation. A lot of companies already incorporate Citrulline in many supplements. You can find it as one of the ingredients, albeit the amount might be smaller. Other companies have begun offering tubs of pure CM supplements so you can get it cheap and add it to your stack!

L-Citrulline Malate Benefits and Bodybuilding

This wonderful amino acid has several attributes beneficial to bodybuilders and athletes.

Reduces Fatigue

A study showed that L-Citrulline ingestion by test subjects prior to workout helped reduce post workout fatigue. A 24 hour ingestion of the amino acid was even better.

Lesser Side Effects

The study also showed that large doses of the amino acid did not even affect insulin levels compared to Arginine which is a good thing. Lesser side effects!

Reduce Muscle Soreness

A single dose of CM was given to subjects before flat barbell bench presses and then muscle soreness was measured. Forty-one respondents took eight grams of L-Citrulline Malate for one session and placebo for the next one. Majority reported a reduction in muscle soreness with CM supplementation.

Increased in Athletic Performance

The same study also cited that almost 90% of the respondents experienced increase in athletic performance after taking Citrulline Malate. That’s in comparison with the second training session using only a placebo!

Energy Increase

Citrulline may also be able to increase energy production. CM is used in mitochondria processes which greatly increase ATP production.

Other Benefits of Citrulline Malate

Apart from the benefits of CM in bodybuilding and sports, CM can be used to help improve sex life. It’s a viable replacement to Viagra as a study showed increased in hardness with Citrulline Malate supplementation.

Overall, CM is a great ingredient for health and fitness. You can find it in a lot of food products or take supplementation.

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