What is L-Citrulline? Benefits, Dosage and More Made Easy!

What is L-Citrulline? Benefits, Dosage and More Made Easy!

Chemical structure of L-Citrulline
Chemical Structure of L-Citrulline

Introduction

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L-Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid present in our bodies.

“Non-essential” means that your body can produce it on its own, therefore it is NOT essential to supplement your diet with this amino acid.

There are some products that have “L-Citrulline” in their name and contain other ingredients which essentially dilute the amount you take in.

Here’s a quick list of names you’ll typically see on supplements and how to differentiate between them.

Commonly known as
  • L- Citrulline
  • Citrulline Malate
  • L-Citrulline DL-Malate/L-Citrulline DL-Malate 2:1
  • 1. Interchangeably called “Citrulline.”

    2. L-Citrulline combined with a form of Malic Acid called “Malate.”

    3. This is a form of L-Citrulline mixed with malate that is composed of D-Malic acid and L-Malic Acid.

    The 2:1 in the supplement name refers to the amount of L-Citrulline relative to the amount of malate
    (For example, every in 3g of product, there will be 2g of citrulline and 1g of malate)

    I’ll be covering which version of citrulline is best to take for which lifestyle in another post, supplement profiles are meant to give a general overview of the ingredient, but for the sake of brevity.

    L-citrulline Malate 2:1 is most common in athletic supplements (because of Malic acid + cost)

    L-citrulline is best for general well-being for non-athletic people.

    Now that we have some ground covered, let’s dig into the good stuff:
    How it works.

    How does L-citrulline work?

    L-citrulline lends a helping hand to practically every muscle tissue in the body.
    It’s usually noted as being part of the urea cycle and for boosting nitric oxide synthesis.
    The urea cycle is incredibly important for getting rid of toxic by-products in the body[1] (namely ammonia and carbon dioxide), but that’s not the main reason why it’s supplemented.
    We’re here for the nitric oxide benefits it provides.

    L-Citrullines systemic effects in the body
    L-Citrullines systemic effects

    L Citrulline and Nitric Oxide

    Nitric Oxide has a few metabolic pathways in which it can be produced, for the sake of this article, we’ll touch briefly on and how citrulline plays an AMAZING role as the MVP.

    Now, NO synthesis in not so many words happens by oxidizing heme bound L-arginine to produce both L-Citrulline and Nitric Oxide.[2]

    If you’re wondering
    “Well… why don’t I just take more Arginine to produce Nitric Oxide?”

    Kudos! that’s a great question!

    However; it turns out that Citrulline is actually MORE beneficial for raising serum Arginine levels than supplemental arginine is.[3]

    How is that so? It’s due to the fact that Citrulline doesn’t have an issue with passing through the GI tract or liver like arginine does.

    For example, Arginine loses nearly ¾‘s of its potency when supplemented orally whereas citrulline loses virtually none. [3]

    It’s also important to note that nitric oxide is important for endothelial health.
    NO is responsible for signaling vasodilation, which results in better blood and nutrient flow to areas of inflammation.
    On top of being incredibly good for heart health, NO is also responsible for giving you the pump you’re looking for (see below)

    My vascular arms, due in part to masteron and minimum of 7g L-citrulline a day
    Exhibit A, massive pumps courtesy of L-citrulline (and masteron)

    Where to Buy L-Citrulline?

    L-Citrulline product from bulk supplements.
    Pure L-Citrulline Powder

    If you want to try out L-Citrulline in any form (2:1, 1:1 ratios with DL Malate or by itself)

    You can do so EASILY!

    I’ve been using BulkSupplements products for about five years now.

    Up until I started manufacturing my own pre-workout to include L-citrulline in it, I used them for my Taurine, Creatine (still creatine on days where I don’t take Pre-workout) and L-Citrulline.

    There prices are pretty solid and you can even save 5% on your first order using the code SAVE5!

    L-Citrulline From BulkSupplements

    How much does it cost?

    100g$14.96
    250g$19.96
    500g$29.96
    1000g (1kg)$44.96
    5000g (5kg)$166.96
    Table of cost of Bulk-supplements product pricing

    So lets break this down.

    Assuming you use the HIGHEST beneficial dose, listed below, of 10 grams a day, everyday.

    You would need 3650g of L-Citrulline.

    Luckily, you can literally get that much from Bulk-supplements, no problem.

    However; I’m assuming most people wont, as they often have pre-workout powders that include it, miss days at the gym, forget to take it, etc. etc.

    If you WERE diligent and did, over the course of a year, it’d only cost ~$125 (assuming tax)

    Meaning this is roughly 40 cents a day for the extra bloodflow and MASSIVE pumps.

    Remember, that’s buying in HIGH quantities, for EVERY day use.

    If you take 5g of L-Citrulline, 3x a week (pre-workout). You’ll still see good results.

    PLUS, that’ll lower your initial purchasing basis, you’d only need to get a Kilogram, which is over $100 less. ($45 or so)

    Typical Dose of L-Citrulline

    Picture of scale weighing out supplement

    The Minimally efficacious dose is of L-Citrulline just under 3g

    Meaning IF you accidentally purchased Citrulline-Malate 2:1 by accident,

    All you would need is about 5 grams of that form to see some benefits like heart health and a slight increase in athletic performance.

    Most likely you would just use this dose as a cost effective method to promote better bloodflow.

    You would most likely see your endurance training slightly increase, and with weight training a better pump, which could potentially translate to easier lifts.

    I personally believe the maximal benefits at the higher dose is much more pronounced.

    The Maximally efficacious dose is typically 10g (higher than that, there’s usually stomach problems)

    However; some studies do note that even higher doses have been used in clinical aspects without any issues to digestion.

    I think that you should gauge your use based first on COST and then by benefit.

    NEVER buy L-arginine+ L-Citrulline capsules.

    They are SO expensive on a cost basis that it’s not even funny

    The 3g of l-citrulline throughout the day would help with endothelial health and nitric oxide signaling.

    The dose of 10g of L-Citrulline would help accomplish both to a much higher degree, as well as provide some additional athletic performance benefits.

    Personally, I take L-citrulline at 7g a day

    Lastly, if you would like to see more general overviews of supplements, click here.

    Also, you can also reach me via DM on Instagram @Damonisvegan if you want to suggest a topic!

    Citations

    1. Citrulline Supplementation: Impact on Cardiometabolic Health
      2. Nitric oxide synthases: regulation and function
      3 Supplemental Citrulline Is More Efficient Than Arginine in Increasing Systemic Arginine Availability in Mice

    More fun research for funsies.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6073798/

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31977835/

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