Citrulline Malate is a combination of the amino acid Citruline, which is involved in the urea cycle and Malate, a tricarboxycylic acid cycle (TCA) intermediate – the TCA cycle is a major producer of aerobic energy within the mitochondria. Citrulline Malate has many positive effects on aerobic exercise performance including: 1) increased aerobic production of energy; 2) Improved stamina and fatigue resistance, and; 3) improved recovery and energy levels.
Who Should Consider Taking Citrulline Malate? Anyone who is involved in aerobic exercise and who wants to enhance performance and recovery (runners, swimmers, cyclists, footballers etc.) may benefit from citrulline malate supplementation. Since, citrulline malate enhances the recovery process it may be useful for the recovery process of power athletes.
Summary of Citrulline Malate's Phyiological Effects:
Increases the amount of energy produced aerobically
Increases the rate of recovery of the important phospho-creatine energy pathway
Enhances fatigue resistance and recovery from physical exercise
Protects against increased blood acidity by increasing the levels of bicarbonate in the blood
Improves the rate of ammonia clearance and prevents it's accumulation during exercise
Increases the levels of both arginine and ornithine
Citrulline is naturally produce in small quantities from the amino acid L-glutamine, and can be converted by our body to arginine. Supplementation with citrulline malate has been demonstrated to increase levels of arginine and ornithine (Callis et al., 1991) which are both important amino acids for muscle growth and have been shown to influence growth hormone levels. Arginine has many important roles within the body such as the production of nitric oxide which is important for increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles, and also increasing the rate of muscle growth.
Malate is believed to enhance the level of ATP (energy molecules) production through aerobic metabolism (Bendahan et al., 2002).
Citrulline malate has been used clinically to improve recovery from physical activity in patients with acute diseases (Creff, 1989). Research has demonstrated that citrulline malate has a protective effect against increased blood acidity and protects against ammonia poisoning (Callis et al., 1991). Supplementation with citrulline malate increases the rate of ammonia clearance without affecting ammonia accumulation during bicycle exercise (Vanuxem et al., 1990). This is because citrulline is involved in the urea cycle and therefore plays a role in the detoxification of ammonia.
Supplementation with citrulline malate has been shown to increase levels of bicarbonate (an acid buffer that soaks up lactic acid molecules) (Callis et al., 1991). This may allow you to exercise at a higher level before the negative effects of increased acidity affect exercise performance.
The research by Benedahan et al., 2002, demonstrated the great potential of citrulline malate supplementation to enhance aerobic performance. The most important finding of their research was that there was significantly more energy produced aerobically (34% increase). But they also found a significant reduction in the sensations of fatigue and found that rate of recovery, as measured by the rate of phospho-creatine recovery, improved by 20%. The researchers concluded that the increased aerobic ATP production together with a reduced proportion of anaerobic energy supply may contribute to the lower levels of fatigue experienced by the subjects.
Therefore, citrulline malate may be useful for all athletes for maintaining energy levels, improving recovery, enhancing exercise performance and fatigue resistance
Is Citrulline Malate effective? Researchers have demonstrated that Citrulline Malate enhances aerobic energy production, improves recovery from exercises, increases fatigue resistance, and helps to prevent the build up of lactic acid.
How to take Citrulline Malate? For best results consume around 3000mg of citruline malate on an empty stomach in the morning. On training days you may want to take another 3000mg 30-40mins before a workout.
Bendahan, D., Mattei, J. P., Ghattas, B., Confort-Gouny, S., Le Guern, M. E. and Cozzone, P. J. (2002) Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 36 (4), 282-289.
Callis, A., Magnan de Bornier, B., Serrano, J. J., Bellet, H. and Saumade, R. (1991) Activity of citruline malate on acid-base balance and blood ammonia and amino acid levels. Study in the animal and in man. Arzneimittelforschung. 41 (6), 660-663.
Creff, A. F. (1982) Controlled double-blind clinical-study against stimol placebo in the treatment of asthenia. Gazette Medicale De France. 89, 1926-1929.
Vanuxem, D., Duflot, J. C., Prevot, H., et al., (1990) Influence of an anti-asthenia agent, citrulline malate, on serum lactate and ammonia kinetics during a maximum exercise test in sedentary subjects. Seminaire des Hopitaux de Paris. 66, 477-481.