L-citrulline malate is a common ingredient that some pre-workout mixes contain. It can also be taken on its own. L-citrulline is a great addition to a workout regimen for people who would like to build muscle, like bodybuilders. In this post, we’ll cover what exactly this supplement is and how it works.
Citrulline malate is a combination of two compounds, l-citrulline and malate1. First one is an amino acid that our body does not use for protein synthesis2. Meanwhile, second one is a compound that plays a role in the Krebs cycle, which is the pathway our cells use to release energy in the presence of oxygen3.
How does it work?
Citrulline malate works through increasing the amount of nitric oxide, known as NO. Increasing NO has been shown to improve blood flow, energy release and the ability of our muscles to contract4. Taking L-citrulline malate increases the amount of arginine, another amino acid in our blood, as our body can convert citrulline to arginine5. The presence of them both increases the amount of NO we have6.
Nitric oxide works on the muscle and the blood vessels. It increases blood flow, lowers the amount of ATP needed for muscle contractions and supports calcium-based muscle contraction7,8. This ensures that the muscles get plenty of oxygen, the waste products are removed quickly and that muscle contractions go smoothly with less energy expenditure.
Alongside increasing nitric oxide, l-citrulline and malate have some properties of their own.
L-citrulline helps our body clear our ammonia, which is produced when muscle breaks down. When there is lots of ammonia, our muscles become tired because they cannot release energy using oxygen. When the cells use oxygen to release energy, they can make a lot more ATP, or the chemical form of energy. Due to ammonia accumulating, the cells must rely on oxygen-free energy release, called glycolysis, which releases less energy9.
Malate also plays a role in helping our cells release more energy, as it directly plays a role in the chemical pathway that releases energy using oxygen. That way, our muscle cells have more energy for contraction10.
Benefits for bodybuilding
L-citrulline malate can help bodybuilders achieve their goals in a multitude of ways. The supplement can increase the number of reps you can do until failure by as much as 50%11. Through decreasing tiredness and increasing muscle endurance, it can support an increase in reps during strength training12. It can also and improve strength and power13.
For those wanting to decrease soreness after a workout, L-citrulline malate is also a great option. Citrulline can decrease muscle soreness and decrease the feeling of perceived exertion for up to 48 hours after a workout14. This supplement is especially great for bodybuilders as it helps recover quickly, when needed, and supports performance when you’re exercising continuously every day15.
If you’re an elite bodybuilder, L-citrulline might be able to give you a relevant advantage. For maximum benefits, take the supplement an hour before exercise16.
How much should I supplement?
You can take a dose of 6-8 g of citrulline malate before exercise to get all the performance benefits from this compound17. Bodybuilders should instead aim for a dose of 8 g of citrulline a day, taken an hour before exercise18.
If you’re looking to give L-citrulline malate a try, consider Maxler 100% Golden Citrulline Malate. This high-quality vegan powder can be easily included in your pre-workout drink, and you can customize your dosage according to your needs.
If instead you’d like to choose a pre-workout that has more than just citrulline malate, try NRG Max. It boasts multiple complexes of active ingredients designed to improve endurance, energy levels, focus and promote recovery. The pre-workout contains 8 g of citrulline malate alongside three forms of creatine for greater muscle building.