5 Science-Backed Citrulline Malate Benefits
Citrulline malate benefits have transformed athletic performance for years, even if you don’t recognize the name.
Ever wonder why watermelon is the go-to snack after a race? Other than being refreshing, it also happens to be a great natural source of citrulline malate.
But what is citrulline malate, really? And with so many pre-workouts, protein powders, and supplements on the market today, is this one important enough to include in your daily routine?
When it came to deciding whether the citrulline malate benefits were compelling enough to include in Frog Fuel Ultra, we let the research lead us. We dug into scientific studies, race results, dosage amounts, and more.
Today, we will discuss our findings, along with some of the incredible citrulline malate benefits you may experience for yourself. But before we get into all the benefits of citrulline malate, like answer the question: What is citrulline malate?
What is citrulline malate?
Citrulline malate is a compound made with organic salt and L-citrulline. L-Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that can be found in foods like watermelon, squash, cucumber, and pumpkin. It is also synthesized in the human intestine and liver.
Despite the name, non-essential amino acids are absolutely essential for our overall health and growth. They’re termed “non-essential” because our bodies are capable of synthesizing them.
In contrast, essential amino acids are compounds we can only get from food. However, we can support the health of our bodies by supplementing with non-essential amino acids, too.
You may see supplements that are only labeled as L-Citrulline. This means the citrulline is not combined with an organic salt. This makes these supplements less effective, since the salt makes the citrulline more bioavailable.
Malate is also important for energy production within the body, particularly the muscles, making it more applicable to exercise.
So what does citrulline do for athletes? Let’s take a look at some of the athletic citrulline malate benefits.
Benefits of citrulline malate for athletic performance and recovery
The early scientific studies around citrulline malate are promising, with new discoveries being made constantly. Citrulline malate benefits shine through every aspect of your exercise performance, from pre-workout to recovery.
When you’re working towards your fitness goals, it can be tempting to try any supplement or protein that claims to show results quickly. However, not all supplement companies base their products off of scientific research.
Fortunately, there has been successful research regarding the impacts citrulline malate has on the human body when used for exercise and recovery. That’s why we include citrulline malate in our endurance products. Here are some of the findings:
1. Citrulline malate may boost high-intensity exercise performance
High-intensity exercise is stressful for your body. While that’s part of the appeal, it also makes caring for your body during high-intensity workouts especially important. Citrulline malate benefits in this kind of exercise are complex, and still being researched.
Current research is promising, however, with studies showing consistent evidence on the strength-building effects of citrulline malate.
Current theories suggest that this effect is caused by citrulline malate’s ability to provide your body with more energy and oxygen, rid itself of waste more efficiently, and decrease the perceived effort a workout takes.
2. Citrulline malate may boost resistance exercise performance
Citrulline malate benefits your resistance training by giving the ability to increase the oxygen content within your muscles and rid your body of toxins commonly produced during exercise, like lactic acid and ammonia.
Since citrulline malate opens blood vessels and allows your blood to flow through your body faster, your body can transport oxygen and remove toxins at a faster rate.
Citrulline malate also increases your body’s natural production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) within your muscles. ATP is a significant energy source for your muscles, and having more of it will reduce fatigue, allowing you to work harder for longer.
ATP is essential to exercise because it is essentially our body's fuel. Food molecules are broken down into ATP, an energy-carrying molecule that captures energy for us to use. As our body becomes more capable of storing energy from carbohydrates, our muscles are able to activate ATP during energy-consuming activities like exercise.
3. Citrulline malate may speed up recovery
Citrulline malate is most commonly used as a pre-workout supplement. However, that doesn’t mean citrulline malate benefits end with your workout.
There have been studies that support the idea that it can help with muscle recovery and relieve soreness after exercise. One study showed a significant decrease in muscle soreness (40%) in athletes who consumed citrulline malate as a pre-workout supplement. These statistics accounted for the one to two days following their workout.
All this is to say that the benefits of citrulline malate don’t end once you leave the gym – and neither does your workout.
Your muscles are still hard at work. The oxygen flow and toxin removal process aren’t over yet. Citrulline malate allows your body's natural process of removing toxins to be accelerated by improving the oxygen flow in your blood.
Getting the jump on post-workout recovery allows you to treat soreness before it even begins, offering your body just what it needs to recover faster than ever.
4. Citrulline malate is shown to increase oxygen content in muscles
As a pre-workout supplement, one of the greatest citrulline malate benefits is its ability to open blood vessels and increase oxygen content in muscles.
The upside? Faster race times and less fatigue while pushing through that last mile. The downside? You need to take the supplement a few times to build up enough reserves in your body.
Fortunately, Frog Fuel Ultra is a medical-grade supplement that's safe to take every day - or multiple times a day if you really need to crush that workout or push through the last miles of your Ironman!
L-Citrulline is the amino acid precursor to L-arginine, a substrate for nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is potentially modular for blood flow, mitochondrial respiration, and muscle energy metabolism when your body is engaged in exercise.
A 2016 study concluded that oral supplementation of citrulline malate effectively increased the plasma L-arginine present in the athlete’s blood and helped their muscles feel less fatigued both during and after a cycling exercise.
Compared to placebo trials, the men that supplemented with citrulline malate could complete the exercise faster, as well.
5. Citrulline malate can boost heart health
One of the citrulline malate benefits that isn’t directly related to your workout is its impact on heart health.
Citrulline lowers your blood pressure, opens blood vessels, and increases oxygen flow, making it a cornerstone of heart health. A citrulline malate supplement makes this vital compound more bioavailable, and pairing it with a hydrolyzed collagen can boost the effect on heart health even further.
What is hydrolyzed collagen? Hydrolyzed collagen is a highly bioavailable protein. Besides having all the typical benefits of pre-workout protein, collagen peptides positively impact cardiovascular health.
While not much is known on the specifics of how collagen and citrulline malate benefits heart health, the data is clear. Current understanding of the body suggests that these supplements strengthen the blood vessels in the heart and decrease amounts of unhealthy fat that could lead to a heart attack.
Citrulline malate FAQs: dosage, safety, and more
From endurance athletes to weight lifters, citrulline malate has the ability to encourage blood flow, rid toxins, and increase oxygen in muscles making for less fatigue and fewer post-workout aches and pains.
But when you’re looking to make any change to your workout routine, a host of questions come along with it. That’s why it’s important to do your own research.
You should also consult with medical professionals on how citrulline malate might impact your body or interact with any medications you may currently be taking.
Is citrulline malate safe?
When you’re researching what to drink during workouts, it’s because you want to make sure that your supplements are effective, accessible, and – most of all – safe.
Unlike many other amino acid-based supplements, citrulline malate has shown minimal signs of adverse side effects, even at high doses. As a non-essential amino acid, our bodies produce it naturally, and because of that, there are limited known side effects.
Does citrulline malate have side effects?
In rare cases, there have been reports of individuals experiencing side effects from L-citrulline, including stomach aches, heartburn, cough, changes in urine, and swelling. These are often isolated incidents but worth noting, as all of us react differently to new supplements.
If you begin taking citrulline malate and notice any side effects, reach out to your doctor immediately and stop taking the supplement until you can rule it out as a source of your symptoms.
Does citrulline malate affect testosterone?
There’s currently no scientific evidence that citrulline malate benefits or harms testosterone levels. While some research suggests that citrulline malate may improve erectile function, this is likely due to increased blood flow, not increased testosterone.
Are citrulline malate and creatine the same thing?
The short answer is no, citrulline malate and creatine are not the same thing.
These supplements are commonly confused with each other, but have different effects. Creatine boosts energy and can help prevent dehydration, but it doesn’t do much beyond that. Citrulline malate benefits include an energy boost, but go far beyond dehydration.
Should you take citrulline malate every day?
Sometimes, you aren’t looking for a performance boost. When you’re out of the gym due to an injury, the question is which supplements you should continue to take. Muscle repair supplements after injury can speed your recovery, but remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Taking citrulline malate every day is safe, and may actually be preferable to not taking it. Your body takes time to build up a store of citrulline malate, and taking it every day allows this to happen more consistently.
The heart health benefits of citrulline, as well as its strength-building effects, have primarily been studied as a daily supplement. This means that citrulline malate benefits shown in these studies will be best replicated with daily use.
How much citrulline malate should you take and when should you take it?
How much citrulline malate you take will vary according to your body, workout plans, and fitness goals. Typically, you’ll take citrulline malate with your protein before workouts to boost your performance and aid recovery.
Studies have suggested anywhere from 2.4 - 15g is safe to consume. Here’s our cheat sheet of amounts based on where you want to see citrulline malate benefits the most:
Endurance exercise: To ensure optimal results from oxygen supply to the muscles, taking 6g daily for 7 days has shown to be effective.
Weight training: 4.5 - 8g taken 60 minutes before your workout is an effective dose for weight training exercises.
- Muscle recovery: 3 - 9g of citrulline malate before exercise has been shown to lessen muscle soreness and improve recovery time.
Boost your exercise performance with citrulline malate
You want to constantly improve your performance, which means you’re always adjusting your routine. Citrulline malate benefits can boost your exercise performance, but they’re only one piece of the puzzle.
There are 11 non-essential amino acids and 9 essential amino acids, and your body needs all of them to operate in peak condition. And none of that even takes into account the protein, carbohydrates, and electrolytes your body uses during a workout.
When you look for supplements, you want to be sure you’re hitting every category and you want those supplements to be as bioavailable as possible.
Your pre-workout protein supplement should include more than just protein. And with Frog Fuel Ultra, you can improve your performance with hydrolyzed collagen, citrulline malate, beta alanine, and more for the ultimate workout supplement.