L-Citrulline as a Pre-Workout
L –Citrulline also referred to as simply citrulline is an amino acid that is used for improved athletic performance, erectile dysfunction, supporting the immune system, heart health and much more. The amino acid was first isolated from watermelon in 1930. Our bodies produce an amino acid, so it is not considered as a must to take mineral. However, it is taken as a supplement for better athletic performance.
It is preferable that you consult your doctor before adding citrulline to your diet due to the fact that it can be detrimental if you have specific health conditions. The best time for taking the supplement is around the time of exercise.
How does Citrulline Work?
Citrulline plays a vital role in our body’s metabolic system and the urea cycle. The urea cycle is the process through which the kidneys and liver clear the body from lactic acid and ammonia to build up as well as reduces its accumulation. The ammonia and lactic acids are the byproducts that are created during normal energy metabolism.
Although, citrulline is not known to be essential to many proteins in the body but is found in neural cells, hair, and skin. The amino acid is naturally synthesized in the intestines and traces of the acid can be found in watermelon. Citrulline is generally marketed as a supplement in the salt form of the amino acid known as citrulline malate.
Citrulline Benefits for health
Citrulline has many advantages due to its capacity to increase Nitric Oxide (NO) synthesis and induce vasodilation. It is used to address medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus, vascular disease, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, dementia, postoperative pulmonary hypertension, and high blood pressure.
It reduces muscular fatigue, improves immunity, increases strength, enhances physical performance, and boosts energy levels.
L –citrulline when combined with malic acid, is used as Citrulline malate. Bodybuilders and other strength-training athletes generally use this supplement for helping them gain lean muscle mass and enhancing certain performance markers.
Research has shown citrulline malate to be useful for boosting the production of nitric oxide. It also increases ATP (adenosine triphosphate) synthesis which in return reduces lactic acid and ammonia accumulation as well as facilitates phosphocreatine recovery.
Studies on L-Citrulline
A study was performed in 2015 where two double-blind, and random trials were completed with 15 trained female weightlifters. The subjects were between the ages of 20 to 26 years. The subjects were divided into two groups.
One of the group was given 8 g doses of citrulline malate with 8 g of dextrose whereas the other group was given 8 g dextrose alone on a daily basis. Dextrose was however used as a placebo agent in the study.
An hour after the supplement was administered, all the subjects were made to perform six sets of upper body exercise and six sets of lower body exercise. The final result included:
- No significant change or effects on heart rate during exercise duration
- Decreased RPE during upper body exercise
- Performance in both upper and lower body was enhanced
The studies were concluded with the results that acute supplementation with citrulline could help in improving athletic performance in activities that require physical endurance.
Another study issued in 1998 in “Medicine and Science in Sports Medicine” showed that citrulline malate or L –citrulline has the ability to influence lactic acid metabolism. Two groups of basketball players were compared for their capacity to perform on a cycle ergometer after they were given different dosages of citrulline malate for 13 days on a daily basis. Those who were given high doses showed a significant amount of improvement during their work out on the ergometer, proving that it can affect the aerobic performance of athletes and other sportsmen.
Dosages and Timings
As it is a supplement, it does not have any precise dosages that are recommended. However, most products recommend that you take between 6000 – 8000mg a day before a workout.
It is always best to take L –citrulline as a pre-workout supplement. For best results take it about 20 to 40 minutes before a workout. In this way, you can enhance your overall performance and can perform even strenuous exercises or activities for a comparatively longer period of time. Citrulline works fast, and you may see the results showing in just about 5 to 6 days of regular use.