Back in November I introduced many of you to Citrulline Malate…a brand new compound to us outside of European Labs. At the time I felt it was going to be the "Next Big Thing" in sports nutrition, and I even compared it to Lebron James the teenage rookie phenom in the NBA.
Well if you are a sports nut like me, you know that KING JAMES is representing to the fullest and straight ballin. He is averaging over 20 points a game as a teenager in his rookie season! What does this have to do with Citrulline Malate? Nothing, but just like Lebron James is representing in the NBA, Citrulline Malate is beginning to make waves in the gym and on the athletic arena. Having experienced the effects first hand, and having sent out a month supply to about 20 regular weight training and fitness enthusiasts, the final word is in. Real world results confirm what the studies say. Nearly every person I sent raw material to experienced increased resilience to fatigue and reported better recuperation.
A modest percentage of individuals reported improved mental alertness & clarity. And many individuals reported a significant increase in muscle fullness, or intensity of the pump in the gym.
I even managed to get a cyclist at my gym to give Citrulline Malate a fair shot and what he reported to me was fantastic. Not only was his threshold higher and was he able to maintain it longer, but he knocked almost 3 minutes off of his 45 minute loop!
So what can I tell you personally about my experience with Citrulline Malate? Definitely more endurance during grueling training sessions - especially leg training! Much better pumps in the gym and better pumps in between the sheets!
This tells me that Citrulline Malate, besides enhancing muscular endurance also has an effect on Nitric Oxide production. Something that the research said, but something I was unsure in terms of real world results of until I experimented with Citrulline Malate first-hand.
My pumps certainly could have come as a result of increased blood to the muscles from being able to pump out more repetitions from Citrulline Malate's cellular energy producing effects. But the fact that I was more of a marathon runner, as opposed to a sprinter in the bed has me convinced that Citrulline Malate is at least on par, if not better than Arginine for this effect.
Needless to say, my wife and I were both pleased with the results. Another important factor to note is that my recovery improved, and I seemed to have more alertness. Basically, Citrulline Malate delivered as advertised, just like Lebron James is delivering on the hype.
Since my first article on Citrulline Malate, I received many emails with questions about Citrulline Malate. So what I have done here is put together some of your questions so we can better understand exactly what Citrulline Malate is, how it works and how we can use it to maximize athletic performance and take things to the next level.
But first a brief description of what Citrulline Malate is, just in case you haven't heard or read anything about it.
Used and proven effective for over 20 years in Europe as a treatment for fatigue and dementia (dementia is a mental disorder that affects your ability to think, speak and move), Citrulline Malate (CM) has made its way into the western world in the arena of athletic performance nutrition.
This unique combination of the amino acid Citrullline and the organic salt Malate offers athletes with a new choice in improving performance and recovery. As an intermediate in the Urea Cycle, Citrulline aids in the removal of endotoxins such as lactic acid and ammonia1. These endotoxins are produced through intense physical activity, protein metabolism, and catabolic states. Endotoxins damage living cells and wreak havoc on athletic performance.
Researches also point to Citrulline as possibly a greater alternative to Arginine for enhancing plasma Arginine2 levels because of Citrullines effects on endogenous Arginine synthesis-meaning that CM may be a superior alternative to Arginine for regulating Nitric Oxide production, growth hormone release, insulin and creatine production.
And that's not all, it has also been discovered that supplementing CM at a dose as low as 6 grams a day significantly reduced muscle fatigue, increased ATP production by 34%, and caused a 20% increase in Phosphocreatine recovery after exercise3. What this means is that Citrulline Malate improved aerobic metabolism, cellular energy production, and promoted muscular recovery.
When all's said and done athletes using Citrulline Malate will have more energy to train better and harder and will recover faster from their training sessions.
How Exactly Does Citrulline Malate Work?
Citrulline Malate works by powering ATP (major energy source for muscles) production and by eliminating metabolic pollutants such as Lactic Acid and Ammonia from the blood. Citrulline stimulates energy, boosts the immune system, is metabolized to form L-Arginine and as a result regulate Nitric Oxide production, and detoxifies ammonia, which damages living cells. All exercise results in production of Ammonia.
Malate conditions the recycling of lactate and pyruvate and is part of the kreb cycle and can supply instant and sustained energy. While the Citrulline part of Citrulline Malate acts to increase NO and to eliminate performance inhibiting metabolic toxins, the Malate part keeps our energy cycle going.
Citrulline Malate also aids in recovery. Subsequent to exercise, muscle levels of creatine phosphate are reduced and it takes some time for levels to be re-elevated. The more Creatine Phosphate your muscles have the stronger and better able to perform they will be. Citrulline Malate stimulates phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, meaning faster recuperation between workouts, and muscles that are primed for growth and your next training session.
What Is The Best Way To Take It & When?
Citrulline Malate is best taken on an empty stomach prior to exercise. Additional doses can be taken first thing in the morning upon rising and also before going to sleep.
Because Citrulline Malate can enhance plasma Arginine levels, it makes sense to use Citrulline Malate at the optimal times for Arginine supplementation.
How Much Should I Take Each Day & Is It Safe?
The minimum dose required for positive effects is 6 grams a day. However some studies have used doses as high as 18 grams a day with remarkable results. I personally experimented with doses as high as 15 grams a day and noticed more profound effect then when I was doing 6 grams a day. Nevertheless, 6 grams a day is enough to notice the ergogenic and health promoting properties of CM.
CM is extremely safe and there are no known negative side effects from its use.
How Soon Does It Take For CM To Start Working?
CM typically produces noticeable results in 15 days or less. This is in regards to performance, but it will immediately begin to work on clearing endotoxins from the body, promoting energy, and stimulating the immune system. Some people will notice results in as little as 3 to 5 days, but most users will see results in no later than 15 days.
Does Citrulline Malate Only Help With Aerobic Energy Production?
Most of the studies on Citrulline Malate show an increased ability to produce energy through our body's aerobic energy producing cycle. Strength athletes tend to be more concerned with increasing anaerobic energy which is used for explosive movements. Studies clearly show that CM favors the renal (having to do with the kidneys) reabsorption of bicarbonates and protects against metabolic acidosis.1
Very briefly…Anaerobic work involves the breakdown of glycogen. As a result of depleted glycogen stores from anaerobic work, Hydrogen Ions (H+) and lactic Acid in the muscle and blood both increase.
This rise in H+ is what causes an increase in acidity in the muscle and leads to the burning sensation of the muscles, fatigue and the failure to maintain high exercise intensity for prolonged periods. It is believed this decrease in ph and increase in acidity is what results in muscular fatigue and the decreased ability for the muscle to contract4,5.
Bicarbonates are our body's way of coping with the increased levels of H+ and a decreased pH. Bicarbonates work by stimulating the removal of H+ and lactic acid out of the muscle6.
So by aiding in the reabsorption of bicarbonates, CM may also help with increasing the anaerobic threshold and delaying the build up of H+ and lactic acid.
What Else Can I Take With It To Enhance Its Effectiveness?
There are several different compounds you can take with Citrulline Malate to increase its effectiveness, whether it is by some synergistic or additive effect.
For increased athletic performance, here is my list of compounds to stack with CM and what they do:
- Carnosine: Helps to increase the anaerobic threshold by buffering lactic acid.
- L-Carnitine: Boosts V02 max, spares glycogen, promotes recovery and stimulates energy production.
- Creatine: Helps to enhance performance by increasing skeletal muscle creatine phosphate stores and fueling ATP production.
- Arginine (and various Arginine salts): Neutralizes ammonia and is involved in a variety of enzymes and hormones; insulin, growth hormone, nitric oxide and creatine production.
- B-Vitamins: Coenzymes involved in energy production.
- CoQ-10: plays a vital role in production of energy in every cell of the body, aids in circulation, and increases tissue oxygenation.
- Zinc: not only does it boost testosterone production and boost the immune system, but it is an essential trace element that activates the urea cycle.
Who Is Citrulline Malate Supplementation For?
CM is an extremely effective compound but I would not recommend its use for just anyone. Don't get me wrong... everyone who uses it can greatly benefit from its effects, but unless you are serious about your training or athletic performance, I would not recommend investing your money on CM.
Although extremely safe and healthful to use, the manufacturing cost of this product are extremely high, so it may not be worth the money for those who only make it to the gym twice a week or whose training is more of the going through the motion variety.
For serious and focused athletes and bodybuilders CM will prove to be very useful. It can be used on mass building cycles or fat burning weight loss cycles.
Bodybuilders dieting down for contests can make great use of this supplement. During contest time, bodybuilders are consuming fewer calories and training more frequently. Their bodies are also under the most amount of stress. CM can help provide the needed energy to train hardest when bodybuilders need it the most and make cardio sessions much easier leading to the increased ability to burn fat and keep muscle.
Also bodybuilders consume a tremendous amount of protein year round, but more so in preparation for contest and increased protein metabolism coupled with the catabolic stress of contest preparation can lead to higher than usual amounts of ammonia. CM will come to the rescue by keeping the body free and pure of this damaging metabolic waste!
The ability to force out more repetitions and stimulate recovery from CM supplementation should provide a better environment for those interested in muscle growth. And no doubt those athletes that perform at a high level of competition and require grueling training sessions to get to the top of their game will greatly benefit.
Boxers, soccer players, sprinters and cyclists can also benefit from a greater ability to produce more energy for their respective sporting events and training sessions. No matter what your sport, if you're serious about taking it to the next level, CM may just be what you are looking for.
So there you have it. You asked and I answered. I hope that I was able to bring a little more insight on this hot new compound and how it may help you in taking things to the next level. Don't hesitate to send me an email if you have any other questions or comments for me. Until next time, keep focused and go for what you want.
How Is Citrulline Superior To Arginine In Eliciting NO Induction & Increasing Plasma Arginine Levels?
When I stumbled across this information I was a bit confused myself. It seems as if Citrulline is better absorbed than Arginine, and since it is a precursor to Arginine, plasma levels of Arginine from oral Citrulline are elevated. Once Arginine is assimilated and goes through the liver, a great portion of it is degraded or broken down.
In Comparison, Citrulline is not cleared by the liver and is taken up by the kidneys and other tissues and then converts to Arginine. In regards to Nitric Oxide, Citrulline has shown to be more potent at reversing the negative actions of Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitors, which are enzymes that prevent the synthesis of Nitric Oxide.
- A. Callis, B. Magnan de Bornier, J.J. Serrano, H. Bellet, and R. Saumade. Activity of Citrulline Malate on Acid-Base Balance and Blood Ammonia and Amino Acid Levels
- Dhanakoti, S. N. et al, Am. J. Physiol. 259:E437-E442, (1990)
- Bendahan D, Mattei JP, Ghattas B, Confort-Gouny S, Le Guern ME, Cozzone PJ. Br J Sports Med. 2002 Aug;36(4):282-9. Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle.
- Donaldson SKB, Hermansen L, Bolles L., Differential direct effects of H+ on Ca2+ activated force of skinned fibres from the soleus, cardiac and adductor magnus muscles of rabbits. Plugers Arch 1978; 376: 55-65.
- Fabiato A, Fabiato F. Effects of pH on the myofilaments and sarcoplasmic reticulum of skinned cells from cardiac and skeletal muscle. J Physiolo 1978; 276: 233-5.
- Parkhouse WS, McKenzie DC. Possible contribution of skeletal muscle buffers to enhance anaerobic performance: a brief review. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1984; 16: 328-338.