You've probably seen L-citrulline or citrulline malate listed on your favorite workout supplements, specifically pre-workout supplements. In fact, citrulline is even a popular workout supplement on its own for its ability to increase blood flow, energy, and focus. It's increased in popularity throughout the years for good reason, it helps you perform at optimal levels with less muscle fatigue.
L-citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that you can obtain naturally in your diet, and on its own it makes for a great supplement. However, citrulline malate is slightly different and has additional benefits to it that makes it beneficial to take before your intense workout. Keep on reading to learn more about l-citrulline vs citrulline malate, plus its benefits, how much you should take, and when to take it.
L-Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate: What's the difference?
There are two main ways you can consume citrulline – L-Citrulline or Citrulline Malate.
- L-Citrulline: This is the isolated form of citrulline, meaning nothing else is added to the amino acid.
- Citrulline Malate: This is l-citrulline combined with malic acid. Malic acid is naturally found in fruits, and it's main responsibility is energy production.
Although l-citrulline is beneficial on its own, citrulline malate has the additional benefits of malic acid, like it has antioxidant properties and helps with hydration! This is why we've chosen to add citrulline malate, opposed to only l-citrulline, in 373 Lab's Pre-Workout formula.
Citrulline malate benefits
If you want to enhance your exercise performance and ensure your muscles don't fatigue quickly then citrulline malate is a supplement you should consider taking! Below are a few ways it can improve your athletic performance so that you can achieve your muscle-building or weight loss goals effectively.
Helps reduce muscle fatigue while increasing endurance
One of the best citrulline malate benefits is its ability to reduce muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue can get in the way of you pushing through those last few reps which can hold you back from better muscle growth results.
But, what do the studies say?
One particular study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at a group that took 6 grams of citrulline malate daily and found that helped spark a 34% increase in oxidative ATP production during exercise which resulted in reduced muscle fatigue.
Another study that shows citrulline malate effects on muscle fatigue was a randomized double-blind study conducted in 2010. It involved 41 men that took a single dose of citrulline malate before strength training which resulted in a significant increase in the number of barbell bench presses, and there was even a 40% decrease in muscle soreness after exercise.
These studies show that supplementing with citrulline malate helps increase athletic performance during high-intensity anaerobic exercises with short rest periods by reducing muscle fatigue.
Improves blood flow
L-citrulline and citrulline malate is known for helping to promote nitric oxide production, meaning it helps widen the blood vessels to improve blood flow and circulation. Widening of the blood vessels also helps to increase the amount of nutrients and oxygen to working muscles, leading to better performance, cellular energy production, and even post-workout recovery. So, not only is citrulline malate beneficial for during your workouts, it can also lead to faster recovery and better muscle repair!
Helps facilitate protein synthesis
This benefit only comes if citrulline malate is taken alongside other amino acids instead of just on its own. Citrulline malate helps to increase l-arginine levels which in turn aids in protein synthesis. This is a process wherein the body uses amino acids and proteins to build muscle.
In order to turn on this process, your main priority should be to get enough protein in your diet. Unfortunately, citrulline malate itself won't activate protein synthesis, instead it acts as a supplement to make the process of protein synthesis more effective.
Helps the body make better use of essential amino acids
Studies show that citrulline malate helps the body efficiently use essential amino acids, specifically branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). This allows your body to use amino acids as fuel during intense bouts of exercise. One study that shows this was published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. The study looked at 17 amateur cyclists that were given 6 grams of citrulline malate two hours prior to participating in a 137-kilometer cycling stage. Blood tests were done post-exercise which showed decreased plasma concentrations of essential amino acids, but increase concentrations of nonessential amino acids. This concluded that the cyclists who supplemented with citrulline malate were able to use essential amino acids as fuel.
So, taking a supplement, like pre-workout, that contains citrulline malate and other amino acids can help your body effectively use them. You can also simply taking a citrulline supplement and a BCAA supplement before your workout to give you a non-stimulant and sustainable energy boost.
Dosages and side effects
The recommended dose per day of l-citrulline is 3-6 grams, and typically 1.75 grams of citrulline malate provides one gram of l-citrulline and 0.75 grams of malic acid. So, you don't want to exceed approximately 8 grams of citrulline malate per day. Now, to have an effective dose for weight training you want roughly 4-6 grams of citrulline malate.
So, what happens if you consume too much citrulline malate? Are there any side effects?
Citrulline has been studied and used as a supplement for several years, and fortunately, there haven't been any reports of serious negative side effects. Side effects are uncommon, but some have reported mild symptoms of nausea and indigestion when consumed in high doses.
However, those who are taking a prescribed medication or supplement that increases nitric oxide production can experience negative effects. Citrulline can have negative interactions when mixed with medications that contain nitrates. Those who are taking any of these medications should consult with their doctor before considering taking any dietary supplement with l-citrulline or citrulline malate.
When should you take citrulline malate?
Although citrulline malate can be beneficial for recovery, it's best to take it 30 minutes before your workout, hence why it's added to pre-workout supplements. It also tends to be more beneficial when it's combined with the energy and performance-boosting ingredients found in pre-workouts.
For example, caffeine is a stimulant found in many pre-workout supplements to help increase energy levels and make you feel more alert. When combined with citrulline malate, you receive the added benefit of increased energy and less muscle fatigue.
Theanine is another amino acid that works well with citrulline malate. It works similar to it in that it promotes better blood flow, but with the added benefit that it can boost focus and reduce the effects of stress.
Instead of taking a citrulline supplement on its own, find a pre-workout that contains citrulline malate at an optimal dose along with other energy and performance enhancing ingredients to reap the best benefits. There are various good (and bad) pre-workouts in the supplement market, but make sure to look at the nutrition label so that you're getting optimal doses of each ingredient.
Experience less muscle fatigue by supplementing with citrulline malate
As you can see citrulline malate has impressive benefits that can help you train at an optimal level. You'll experience less muscle fatigue, push more reps out, and even reduce your risk of muscle soreness. To take it and see the greatest results, find a good pre-workout that contains it at an effective dose – like ours!
Why choose 373 Lab's Pre-Workout?
Our Pre-Workout formula contains 4 grams of citrulline malate, along with effective doses of beta-alanine, arginine, tyrosine, and theanine. We also use natural caffeine (150 grams) for a cleaner sustainable energy boost. Plus, it's free of unnecessary additives like artificial dyes and sweeteners!
Get the edge you need to train at the highest level with 373 Lab Pre-Workout.