1. What Is It?
L-Citrulline is what we call a non-essential amino acid. Non-essential because the body can produce this amino acid on its own. However, we can increase levels of L-Citrulline in the body through the consumption of foods and/or supplements containing L-Citrulline. Compared to most other amino acids, L-Citrulline is a non-protein amino acid meaning it is not involved in building proteins. It was first discovered and isolated from the juice of Watermelon which, still to this day, are a fantastic natural source of L-Citrulline.
2. What Does It Do?
L-Citrulline is commonly known for one benefit which is increased vasodilation. This is due to the conversion of L-Citrulline after it has been consumed. In the body, L-Citrulline is converted into the amino acid Arginine; Arginine is then converted into the molecule Nitric Oxide (NO). Nitric Oxide causes vasodilation which is the widening and relaxing of blood vessels to allow more blood to flow at a higher rate. This increased blood flow holds a number of benefits within the body.
Improved Performance & Endurance
The increased vasodilation from consuming L-Citrulline can have a dramatic impact on physical performance. Increased vasodilation results in increased blood flow around the body and more importantly, to the working muscles. This increased blood flow then allows for increased nutrient delivery as well as increased oxygen delivery through the blood to those working muscles. Put all that together and not only are you opening up the fuel line to your muscles but youve gone from using Unleaded 91 fuel to now using BP Ultimate 98 Octane!
Numerous studies have shown improvements in performance, both strength and endurance when Nitric Oxide levels & vasodilation have been increased. Even though L-Citrulline is converted into Arginine and then that is converted into Nitric Oxide in the body; L-Citrulline is a better option to supplement with when compared to Arginine due to how the body processes and absorbs L-Citrulline far better than Arginine.
Reduced Blood Pressure
Studies have seen that supplementation with L-Citrulline can reduce blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure. Furthermore, they also saw a reduction in blood pressure levels in people with normal blood pressure. Results of up to 16% drop in blood pressure levels were seen after only 7 days of supplementation with L-Citrulline. Due to not all studies be conclusive with similar results we can only assume this reduction in blood pressure is related to the increased vasodilation widening and relaxing blood vessels in the body.
Removal of Harmful Compounds
Both L-Citrulline and Arginine are among the amino acids that play a vital role in the Urea Cycle in the body. The Urea Cycle is responsible for the conversion of highly toxic ammonia to urea to then be excreted. Once converted the urea is excreted through our urine.
Maintaining Muscle Mass
Despite L-Citrulline being an amino acid that is not used to directly build proteins; studies have shown that it has the ability to increase protein synthesis. This increase in protein synthesis occurs in the skeletal muscle through the bodies mTOR pathway. On top of this increase in muscle protein synthesis; L-Citrulline is thought to have an amino acid sparing effect in the body. Through the reduction of certain amino acids uptake into the liver, the breakdown of those aminos are then prevented and levels increased.
3. How Much Do I Need To Take?
A dose of at least 3,000 mg has been shown to be effective for providing the benefits of L-Citrulline. While studies have looked at dosages of upwards of 5,000 and 6,000 mg per serve per day the common serving size appears to be between 3,000 and 4,000 mg per serve and per day of L-Citrulline. Whether you are wanting the performance-enhancing benefits of the general health benefits of L-Citrulline, we feel a dose of 3,000 – 4,000 mg in a single-serve will do the job. A larger dose will not necessarily mean better results as from personal experience we feel the dosing of L-Citrulline has a diminishing returns factor to it. Just because you consume 6,000 mg of L-Citrulline will not mean you get double the benefits of having a 3,000 mg serve.
4. When Do I Take It?
For the performance-enhancing benefits of L-Citrulline, taking a serve 15 – 30 minutes before exercise is ideal. While consistent use will always yield the best results, a single dose of L-Citrulline has been shown to enhance physical performance when taken before exercise. For general health benefits of lowing blood pressure, the timing of the dose is of less importance. Consistent supplementation day in day out will, once again, yield the best results for the general health benefits of L-Citrulline supplementation.
5. How Long Does It Take To Work?
As we just mentioned, the performance-enhancing benefits of L-Citrulline were seen after pre-exercise consumption. While consistent supplementation will yield the best results, a single-serve of L-Citrulline will provide performance-enhancing benefits within 15 – 30 minutes after consumption
For the blood pressure lowing effects of L-Citrulline, the shortest study saw reductions in blood pressure levels in as little as 7 days of consistent supplementation. While other studies have noted results in similar time frames, 7 days is the shortest studied period. Once again consistent supplementation yielding the best results for all of L-Citrullines benefits.
6. What Are The Top Products?
The top products containing L-Citrulline are: