L-citrulline (CIT) is a dietary supplement used for health and sport purposes. It has many beneficial effects and is completely safe for health (unlike illegal steroids like Trenbolone). To know more about this supplement read on.
Сitrulline—Description and Main Features
What is L-citrulline? L-citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that is not encoded in the human DNA. Its name is derived from the Latin word “citrullus” (watermelon).
The body doesn’t use it for muscle protein synthesis. However, this substance is very important for the body and can help athletes achieve better results in athletics. Citrulline, according to many studies and reviews, has many coacting effects with other popular supplements, especially with BCAA (amino acids with branched chains). The substance is produced in watermelon fruits and is gaining great popularity as a great supplement for enhancing sports performance.
Citrulline is often available in the form of powder or pills. The powder is absorbed more quickly than the supplement in the tablet form, but pills may be more convenient to use.
The Role of Citrulline in the Body
Being a multifunctional amino acid, it increases nitric oxide levels, which is considered its most significant effect on the body. The substance is reproduced from a number of different amino acids and takes part in the urea cycle involving eliminating ammonia and other metabolites. Citrulline is vitally important for people who take large doses of protein as it helps to get rid of harmful metabolites released during protein processing.
It’s known for enhancing arginine concentration in plasma. Arginine contributes to the generation of creatinine, nitrites, and other metabolites playing a significant role in urea creation and excretion. As a result, harmful nitrogenous wastes are removed.
The process of nitrogen metabolites’ release requires the combination of citrulline with citric acid, contained in citruses, aspartic acid, and magnesium. If the body has a deficit of enzymes, which it needs to catalyze the urea cycle, it can experience citrullinemia, an autosomal recessive urea cycle disorder which leads to ammonia accumulation in the blood. According to scientific findings, adding citrulline to the diet boosts L-citrulline to L-arginine conversion. The resulting effect is a reduced ammonia rate in the blood.
Citrulline Supplement in Bodybuilding
Due to its properties, citrulline is appreciated by bodybuilders who use it as a supplement to their sports diet. Citrulline is commonly combined with malic acid, which contributes to its absorption.
Researchers have proved that this substance has a wide range of beneficial effects on the overall health condition, which is invaluable for enhancing physical performance:
- It increases the production of nitric oxide in the body. According to Kim IY, Schutzler SE, Schrader A, Spencer HJ et al. (Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, University of Arkansas, 2015) acute ingestion of citrulline stimulates nitric oxide synthesis in adults. This leads to the expansion of blood vessels. When the vessels expand, the muscles receive more nutrients. As a result, the athlete receives better pumping, and the body activates the growth processes.
- It boosts the effect from administration of various amino acids, including BCAA (leucine, isoleucine, and valine). As stated by Sureda A, Córdova A, Ferrer MD & others (University of Balearic Islands, Palma de Mallorca, 2010), it enhances the use of amino acids during workouts.
- According to one study, people taking citrulline develop increased levels of growth hormone after exercise than those who do not take it (the study compared the group taking the citrulline and the group taking the placebo). However, according to the Citrudose pharmacokinetic study (Moinard C, Nicolis I, Neveux N et al, Laboratoire de Biologie de la Nutrition, 2008), plasma GH was not affected by its administration.
- Citrulline reduces the increase in insulin levels in the plasma, which usually occurs after intensive workouts. Moreover, as stated by Hickner RC, Tanner CJ, Evans CA (East Carolina University, 2006) the substance decreases time to exhaustion & insulin responsiveness to a graded exercise test.
However, don’t overvalue its usefulness. As stated by Joaquin U. Gonzales, Andrea Raymond, John Ashley, and Youngdeok Kim (Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 2017), L-citrulline modestly enhances muscle blood flow during submaximal exercise in older males.
It provides faster removal of lactate (lactic acid). Plus, if you add to this the above described positive points, you will get an excellent tool for increasing endurance, speed, and other results in sports. This is evidenced not only by practice, but numerous scientific experiments also prove this. For instance, a 1.5% cycling speed increase was recorded in one experiment. According to another study, women, while taking citrulline, performed significantly more repetitions in one set. It seems in ladies, citrulline works slightly better than in fellows (it is associated with high estradiol rates).
Citrulline Malate for Better Muscle Pump
Muscle pump is an increase in musculature volume due to blood flow and osmotic pressure. If you look at yourself in the mirror after training, you will see that your figure looks more pumped up. The muscles you worked on are filled with blood, swell, and become more visible under the skin. This is called pumping. Within 30–60 minutes after training, the musculature releases excess blood, which dissolves through the body until the next workout. Hence, your physique (and definition) take on the usual outlines.
Muscle pump is a phenomenon which caused the use of citrulline malate for bodybuilding purposes. NO levels increase and the improvement of blood circulation help the body expand the walls of blood vessels. This leads to a greater inflow of blood, and thus to an increase in the intake of amino acids that make up the list of substances necessary for muscle growth. This leads to an increase in muscle fibers. Also at this moment, the athlete will receive all other nutrients. That is, citrulline improves nutrition and muscle building without participating in the construction itself.
By increasing the level of nitric oxide, the supplement also improves male erectile function.
Benefits of Citrulline for ED
Specialists say erectile dysfunction may be handled without any Viagra and ED drugs (Cialis, Levitra, Avana, Stendra, Kamagra, etc.). The main instrument of anti-ED therapy will be a cucumber, which can increase blood circulation in the genitals.
There are multiple ways of treating impotence, including lifestyle changes and weight loss, but more often men resort to the help of Viagra (sildenafil) or Cialis (tadalafil). However, some doctors assure that citrulline-rich foods like cucumbers improve penile strength & hardness in male persons suffering from hypotension.
Other researchers state that citrulline is capable of reducing fatigue and psychoemotional stress.
The chain of citrulline transformations in the body leads to widening blood vessels and stimulating blood circulation in the entire body including its genital zone. The beneficial effect of this substance on male strength has been shown in a study requiring 24 ED men to take citrulline-based supplements for a month.
Citrulline Dosage and Recommendations for Using
In different studies, scientists used different dosages of cit, which were from 4 grams to 18–20 grams.
Bodybuilders are typically prescribed a dosage of 5–6 grams before exercising. A slight dose increase will not induce any side effects. Those who don’t engage in intense workouts can take citrulline in smaller doses (2–3 grams) to improve their general wellbeing. As citrulline influences the of human growth hormone generation, it should be taken early in the morning or late in the evening.
The substance can be taken simultaneously with protein cocktails or added to your amino acid drink. The combined use of arginine and citrulline yield greater effects than their use individually. So try combining these supplements to get even better results.
Popular Questions About Citrulline (FAQ)
- Can I eat watermelon to get citrulline? Enormous citrulline quantities are contained in the rind of watermelon, not in the flesh. It’s a hard task to eat watermelon rind every day.
- Does citrulline have side effects? It is generally safe. If used in the correct dosages, the product doesn’t cause adverse events.
- What foods are rich in citrulline? Besides the motley oblong or roundish fruits (yellow, orange, and red watermelons), cit is found in liver, legumes, nuts, gourds, kiwano (cucumis metuliferus), cucumbers, pumpkins, and dark chocolate (say, Hershey’s Special Dark, Ghirardelli Intense Dark 60%, Cadbury Royal Dark, Lindt Excellence 70% Cocoa Smooth, and Godiva 72% Cacao Dark) but in lesser quantities.