What is citrulline malate?
Citrulline malateis an amino acid compound famed for it’s potential to delay the onset of fatigue during high intensity exercise. As such it is commonly found as an ingredient in most pre-work out supplements. It is a non-essential amino acid originally derived from watermelons.
What is it used for?
Originally citrulline malate was found to be of benefit in research in disease populations such as Creff (1982) and Dauverchain (1982) who looked at the effects in sufferers of the neurocirculatory disease asthenia. It was found to reduce fatigue and breathlessness. The main reason it was thought to be beneficial was the support of the nitric oxide pathways, which tend to enhance vasodilation and therefore offer better oxygen delivery and substrate delivery to the muscles to enhance energy production.
In non-disease populations this potential to assist the synthesis of nitric oxide to increase blood vessel dilation, blood flow, regulate glucose uptake and assist in optimising mitochondrial respiration could clearly be of benefit to those looking maximise their exercise performance.
In more recent exercise focused studies such as Kiyici et al (2017) citrulline malate supplementation was found to have a significant impact on reducing blood lactate levels around high intensity exercise. A review paper by Sureda and Pons (2012) found that similar to the benefits found to nitric oxide supplementation, the effects are more discernible in moderately trained individuals than elites. This is likely due to the fact that elites already have such tuned metabolic systems that the difference is small and difficult to measure, but for those with less time to train and less genetic gifts the benefits could be much greater.
Creff A. (1982) Controlled double-blind clinical-study against stimol placebo in the treatment of asthenia. Gazette Med De France. 89 pp. 1926–1929.
Dauverchain J. (1982) Double-blind study of Stimol in the treatment of asthenia in older subjects. Mediterranée Médicale 272 pp.77–79.
Kiyici, F., Eroğlu, H., Kishali, N.F. et al. (2017) Biochemical Genetics 55: 387. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10528-017-9807-8