What’s going on guys (and girls), we’re back with a little Workout Nutrition DIY – if you haven’t checked out the last Workout Edge blog post about how to shock your muscles into growth, go ahead and do that now.
In the early days I was always looking for ways to go for longer in my workouts. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ll know that the SUPP UP. Nutrition Guides are all about cutting through the fluff (*COUGH*pre-mixed supplements*COUGH*) and educating you about things that work – both backed by research and my own practical use.
I discovered it doesn’t take a lot – just careful selection of things that are most effective – so less is more. By now you’ve learned the benefits of Beta-Alanine, Betaine Anhydrous, and other supplements that are just that – effective – and you’ve learned how to, how much to, and when to take them.
Well today we’ll go over more about another supplement that’s useful – Citrulline Malate – which was mentioned in both SUPP UP. Nutrition Guides and the SUPP UP. Meal Planner and its effectiveness at keeping you going strong, rep after rep, set after set – so you can break PRs and keep progressing.
So you go to the store or hit up your favorite supplement website and buy some pre-workout. Sure that’s great and all, but have you dialed in on what each supplement does individually, and how/why it does it? This is where I believe some pre-mixes can be bunk.
If you’ve been over to the SUPP UP. store, you’ll know I believe in buying supplements individually, so you can tailor your own pre-, intra-, and post-workout to your needs. You’ll also know that when it comes to caffeine I believe in learning to workout without it, or cycle off of it.
Citrulline Malate, also known as L-Citrulline is one of the supplements you’ll find in your pre-workout – but also intra-workout shakes. This post is sweet and simple, so don’t go for a cup of coffee just yet.
What is Citrulline Malate?
Citrulline Malate is a compound made of the amino acid citrulline and natural salt malate, citrulline being found in foods like watermelon and cucumber (although in insignificant amounts).
What this does for the body.
Citrulline and malate when combined together reduce ammonia and lactic acid build up in skeleteal muscle, and increase regeneration of ATP and nitric oxide production.
How this helps your workouts.
That being said, research shows that citrulline malate is known for things like increasing endurance, protecting muscles from fatigue, decreasing muscle soreness, and helping muscles recover faster from intense workouts (if you want to have a look at the research yourself, check out: Rhim et al, 2020; Pérez-Guisado & Jakeman, 2010 at the end of this post under References)
Now let’s move onto the research…
What’s information without some research backing it? Two studies showed the following results…
The first study, which you can check out under Pérez-Guisado & Jakeman (2010), did the following:
- The study was carried out to determine the effects of a single dose of citrulline malate on the performance of flat barbell bench presses as an anaerobic exercise and in terms of decreasing muscle soreness post-workout
- 41 men did 2 consecutive chest training sessions (16 sets). 8 grams of citrulline malate was used in 1 of the 2 training sessions, one hour before the workout; a placebo was used in the other. The men were then tested using the repetitions fatigue test, at 80% of their 1 rep max, in 8 sets of flat barbell bench presses during the chest training session.
The results? The number of reps showed a significant increase when comparing the placebo session to the session where the men took citrulline malate, from the third set evaluated. This increase correlated positively with the number of sets, achieving a whopping 52.92% more reps and a 100% response in the last set.
In addition, there was a decrease (40% to be exact – which means getting back in the gym quicker!) in muscle soreness 24 and 48 hours after the chest training session, and a response higher than 90% was achieved when supplementing with citrulline malate.
This shows that the use of citrulline malate can be useful in increasing athletic performance in high-intensity anaerobic exercises, with short rest times, and in relieving post-workout DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness). This also shows citrulline malate can also be very useful to athletes undergoing intensive preparation involving a high level of training or in competitive events.
The second study, which you can check out under Rhim et al (2020), strengthening the first study, pulled together research from 13 different studies, doing and discovering the following:
- A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to determine the effect of citrulline supplements on post-workout rating of perceived exertion (RPE), muscle soreness, and blood lactate levels
- Several trials were looked at, involving healthy people, and that investigated the acute effect of citrulline malate supplements on RPE, muscle soreness, and blood lactate levels; the supplementation time frame was also limited to 2 hours before exercise. In total, the analysis included 13 eligible articles including a total of 206 participants.
The results? The most frequent dosage used in the studies was 8 grams of citrulline malate, and it was found that citrulline malate significantly reduced RPE and muscle soreness 24 and 48 hours post-workout.
Pair the two studies with a less “formal” experiment – aka me having used the stuff for years now and noticing a signficant difference in workout duration and fatigue when reviewing my workout logs (get yours free here), and it’s pretty clear citrulline malate is definitely something to consider adding to your pre- and intra-workout stack.
That’s all folks.
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Bendahan, D., Mattei, J.P., Ghattas, B., Confort-Gouny, S., Le Guern, M.E., Cozzone, P.J. 2002. Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 36, pp. 282-289. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bjsm.36.4.282
Callis, A., Magnan de Bornier, B., Serrano, J. J., Bellet, H., & Saumade, R. 1991. Activity of citrulline malate on acid-base balance and blood ammonia and amino acid levels. Study in the animal and in man. Arzneimittel-Forschung. 41(6), pp. 660–663. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1930358/
Pérez-Guisado, J., Jakeman, P.M. 2010. Citrulline Malate Enhances Athletic Anaerobic Performance and Relieves Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 24(5), pp. 1215-1222. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0
Rhim, H.C., Kim, S.J., Park, J., Jang, K. 2020. Effect of citrulline on post-exercise rating of perceived exertion, muscle soreness, and blood lactate levels: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sport and Health Science. 9(6), pp. 553-561. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2020.02.003
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