Citrulline boosts your energy levels by lowering blood lactate concentration. It also enhances the process of elimination of ammonia. This article provides information on benefits and side effects of citrulline. Read on, to know more about citrulline malate and l-citrulline….
Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid which acts as a precursor of amino acid ‘arginine’. It is generated during the urea cycle when carbon dioxide and ammonia combine with ornithine. Chemical reactions taking place in our body produce citrulline from ornithine. It is required for the synthesis of urea and arginine. It promotes release of nitric oxide into the bloodstream which is essential for proper opening of blood vessels. Measurement of plasma citrulline concentration helps determine intestinal functionality. Although citrulline is an amino acid, it is not present in most of the proteins and enzymes. It is present in some specific proteins in the hair, skin and neural cells. Liver contains a high amount of citrulline.
Citrulline Health Benefits
- Citrulline is essential for maintaining the correct nitrogen level.
- It regulates important metabolic processes.
- It helps maintain the acid-base balance in the body.
- It strengthens your immune system and thus improves your overall health.
- It boosts energy levels and helps avoid muscle fatigue.
- It promotes the production of insulin, creatine and the growth hormone.
- It helps remove ammonia from the muscle cells and liver. Ammonia is a waste product. Citrulline thus acts as a detoxifying agent.
- It makes you fit for severe and extensive training. It helps prevent problems like cramping, bloating or water retention that are often experienced after hard training.
- It plays an important role in the production of arginine, which stimulates the release of human growth hormone and prolactin. Arginine helps in bodybuilding, in enhancing blood flow and in relieving stress.
- L-citrulline is present in most of the l-arginine supplements. The recommended daily dose of l-citrulline is 200-1000 mg once a day, before going to bed. L-citrulline and l-arginine help improve heart health as they promote vasodilatation, easy opening of the blood vessels. Improved blood flow helps lower the symptoms of angina and high blood pressure. Thus, citrulline reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. It helps strengthen the immune system and offers energy.
- L-citrulline works like Viagra. The health benefits offered by this amino acid include improvement in the sexual function in both men and women, providing physical and mental relief. It helps reduce stress, improves body metabolism and the communication between nerve cells and other parts of the body. As it brings about relaxation of blood vessels, all body parts receive sufficient blood. Improved blood flow helps prevent erectile disorders. It is also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, sickle cell disease, high blood pressure (it is used to control high blood pressure in children after heart surgery), and diabetes.
- Citrulline malate is a salt form of citrulline which influences lactic acid metabolism and prevents muscle fatigue. It helps reduce blood acidity and protects against ammonia poisoning, as it accelerates the process of removal of ammonia. Citrulline malate supplements are recommended to athletes. They help improve aerobic performance and capacity of the athletes and are considered better than l-arginine supplements. The recommended dose of citrulline malate is three to four grams twice daily.
In spite of several l-citrulline benefits, you need to follow the instructions on the label religiously when it comes to daily citrulline dosage or daily dose of arginine supplement. An overdose can result in mild or even serious side effects.
Knowing only the benefits of the nutritional supplements won’t help you in the long run. An overdose of citrulline can cause following side effects.
- L-citrulline can interact with some specific medications and can lessen their effectiveness.
- Those diagnosed with heart disease or cardiovascular problems should not take l-citrulline, because it may aggravate the problem.
- Overdose of l-citrulline may result in a sudden and unsafe drop in blood pressure.
- Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid taking citrulline.
The rind (white portion) of watermelon and walnuts are considered as good natural sources of citrulline. Protein rich foods like meat, fish, eggs, milk, legumes, etc. can provide sufficient amount of this amino acid. The malate or malic acid present in fruits like apples enhances the effects of citrulline. Although citrulline is known for the benefits that it offers, it is necessary to consult your physician before opting for the supplements.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.