If you’re looking to up the ante on your workout session, there’s one particular supplement you’ll want to include in your arsenal: L-Citrulline.
While many people turn to the staple products such as creatine, caffeine, and beta-alanine to give them a boost, you won’t want to overlook the power that L-Citrulline has. Once you try this supplement, one thing is for certain – you won’t think twice about using it again. It will quickly become a regular part of your supplement stack.
Let’s go over what L-Citrulline is, its benefits, and how to take it for optimal results.
L-Citrulline is an amino acid that is part of the urea cycle which increases the level of ornithine and arginine in the blood. This essentially means that using this supplement can improve the ammonia recycling process and nitric oxide metabolism in your body during training. This helps to stave off the intense burning sensation you get in your muscles when weight training. When ammonia builds up in the blood, most people quickly end their set to escape the feeling – potentially missing out on the most beneficial reps for their progress.
L-Citrulline will also increase the levels of L-Arginine in the plasma. L-Arginine is often used for increasing nitric oxide in the body. This may leave you wondering why you shouldn’t just supplement with L-Arginine and call it a day. The reason is simple. The amount of L-Arginine needed to amplify performance in the gym are often associated with diarrhea, whereas this effect doesn’t tend to occur with L-Citrulline. Therefore, this is a smarter, more pleasant, way of achieving a similar effect.
So, what benefits can you expect from using L-Citrulline? Some of the important outcomes you’ll gain include:
Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator in the body, meaning it’ll cause the blood vessels to dilate. This leads to increased oxygen and blood flow to those tissues, and better nutrient delivery. The end result? Superior muscle pumps. After taking L-Citrulline, you should notice that you feel full and are more vascular with each workout, which can also prompt enhanced muscle growth as the working muscle receives more nutrients. Throw in the pride you’ll experience in knowing that your hard work is paying off, and you’ve got a solid reason to add this ingredient to your plan.
Growth hormone is one of the most powerful hormones in the body when it comes to building a better physique and it turns out that L-Citrulline may augment its release. One study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology noted that when subjects supplemented with oral L-Citrulline, they saw an increase in growth hormone production to the tune of 66.8%. This could mean more powerful muscle growth and possibly even greater rates of fat burning as growth hormone is involved in both of these processes.
One of the key benefits of L-Citrulline is its ability to reduce the level of ammonia build-up in the body, and therefore help reduce the overall sensation of fatigue. This is precisely what research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicinefound. Subjects who utilized this supplement noted that after six days of supplementation, they reported a significant reduction in fatigue, a 34% increase in the rate of oxidative ATP production, and a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise. All of these factors will lead to superior performance during exercise.
Don’t let soreness derail your progress! Research published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research noted that subjects who supplemented with Citrulline prior to their workout session not only showed a significant increase in the total number of reps performed until fatigue set in, but also experienced a 40% decrease in muscle soreness at both 24 hours as well as 48 hours post workout.
Since delayed onset muscle soreness can appear up to 48 hours after a training session, it can be assumed that supplementing with L-Citrulline may help you feel better post-session. This may be partly due to the increased flow of blood and nutrients to the muscle tissues, providing them the fuel they need to recover.
As you can see, there is much to gain from adding L-Citrulline to your supplement stack.
Before you rush out to buy the first Citrulline product you come across, it’s important to note that not all products are created equally. If you purchase Citrulline Malate, you’ll be getting a 1:1 combination of L-Citrulline and Malic Acid. This means you are essentially getting half the dose you think you’re taking in. While this product may be beneficial, there is no data from human studies supporting the use of Citrulline Malate over pure L-Citrulline. However, there are studies to support the benefits of pure L-Citrulline.
Opting for pure L-Citrulline, you'll get the most optimal ratio of citrulline – 100% pure L-citrulline – to spur more powerful results. This is the form you should be looking for when shopping for this supplement.
To see optimal results from using L-Citrulline, consume 6-8g about one hour before your workout session.