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Wagenmakers, AJ. Amino acid supplements to improve athletic perfor- mance. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 1999 Nov;2(6):539-44.

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What is it?

Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that plays a role in a variety of met- abolic processes. Citrulline is an essential player in the detoxification on ammonia and other byproducts of metabolism, such as lactate. Citrulline readily converts to the amino acid arginine and is an intermediate in the urea cycle.

What is it supposed to do?

Citrulline is reported to improve performance by improving the clearance of ammonia and lactate, both of which build up quickly during exercise and cause a decrease in performance as levels increase.

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Citrulline (usually in the form of citrulline malate) improves aerobic capacity and endurance by influencing lactic acid metabolism – ultimately reducing fatigue. As most people know, ammonia is toxic Legal Azithromycin for sale to cells. The body deals with ammonia via what is called the urea cycle, by which potentially toxic metabolites are made less toxic and excreted via the kidneys and urine. As a part of the urea cycle, citrulline is essential to detoxify and remove ammonia as well as lactate.

As mentioned, citrulline readily converts to arginine, which has gotten much attention recently due to it’s being a precursor to nitric oxide (NO), a key signaling molecule (see arginine section for additional comments on NO) in the human body. NO is a vasodilator that mediates the relaxation of smooth muscle.

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NO is a key signaling molecule in the human body for a huge number of functions and is beyond the scope of this chapter. In summary: Citrulline may improve performance by improving the clearance of ammonia and lactate during exercise, but other effects may include an improvement in ATP replenishment post-workout.

What does the research have to say?

Clinically, citrulline has shown real promise in the treatment of various af- flictions, such as fatigue in geriatric settings as well as improvements in mental acuity and resistance to mental fatigue and improvements in re- ducing fatigue in postoperative patients. Citrulline has been used in vari-

ous European countries for almost two decades.

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Though human studies are limited, they do exist, and findings have been promising (with some excep- tions). Animal studies find improvements in endurance best place to buy testosterone online as well reductions in ammonia in response to intense exercise. One recent study done with eighteen men complaining of fatigue (but with no documented disease ) were studied. According to the study:

“CM ingestion resulted in a significant reduction in the sensation of fatigue, a 34% increase in the rate of oxidative ATP production during exercise, and a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after exercise”

increase rate

This result led the researchers to conclude:

“…the changes in muscle metabolism produced by CM treatment indicate that CM may promote aerobic energy production.”

Other studies, although limited, generally support the use of citrulline as a supplement that improves endurance, but effects on strength and or LBM are not well studied. All is not perfect however as a recent study actually found citrulline reduced time to exhaustion in, healthy male and female volunteers given citrulline compared to placebo.

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Translated, in this study, citrulline actually decreased endurance! The study also found the group given citrulline had higher rates of perceived exertion during exercise. The study concluded:

“…contrary to the hypothesized improvement in treadmill time following L-ci- trulline ingestion, there is a reduction in treadmill time following L-citrulline ingestion”

What does the real world have to say?

Very little feedback has come in with this supplement, as it’s fairly new to the sport nutrition market and not well known.

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Endurance athletes have generally been positive about it and, as expected, strength athletes have been negative. Admittedly, the sample size was small.


As most people know, the new products calling themselves “hemodiala- tors” are simply based on arginine and are pushed hard steroids for sale as the next “big thing” in bodybuilding (even though studies have not been impressive).

CM ingestion resulted in a sig- nificant reduction in the sensation of fatigue, a 34% in- crease in the rate of oxidative ATP pro- duction during ex- ercise, and a 20% increase in the rate of phosphocreatine recovery after ex- ercise…the boss royal viagra for men reviews and instructions chang- es in muscle me- tabolism produced by CM treatment indicate that CM may promote aero-

Amino Acids

bic energy produc- tion.”

Citrulline appears to be better at increasing both arginine and NO then ar-

ginine itself. So, those taking these arginine-based “hemodialators” would

be better off taking citrulline. The minimum dose for effects appears to be 6 grams, generally taken before workouts on an empty stomach. Higher doses (up to 18 g) have been used in studies without any apparent ill ef- fects. Although citrulline will probably have no direct effects on strength and LBM, it may still benefit strength athletes indirectly by allowing a few more reps (due to its effects on lactate and ammonia) with a given weight and perhaps, improved aerobic metabolism, cellular energy production, and muscular recovery. I am going to put citrulline in the “might be worth a try” category of the e-book and a borderline thumbs up at this time.

To discuss Citrulline further, you can post in the Members’ Area.

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