L-citrulline and l-arginine are two amino acids, which are mainly known for increasing the production of nitric oxide in the body. Find out more information about these two amino acids, and their benefits, by going through this article.
L-citrulline and l-arginine are two types of amino acids. The amino acid citrulline was first isolated from the rind of watermelon, and is considered a non-essential amino acid, as it can be synthesized by the human body. It is produced in the human intestine from another amino acid, which is known as ‘glutamine’.
The amino acid arginine, on the other hand, is regarded as a conditionally essential amino acid. Our body can usually synthesize enough arginine, but at times, it can become necessary to take arginine containing foods and supplements to maintain the level of this amino acid in the body.
L-citrulline and L-arginine Benefits
Both the amino acids have more or less similar health benefits due to the fact that l-citrulline is ultimately converted to l-arginine, and then to nitric oxide by the body. L-arginine acts a precursor of nitric oxide, and many of its health benefits can be attributed to its importance in nitric oxide production. Basically, both citruline and arginine increase the level of nitric oxide in the body.
Nowadays, nitric oxide supplements are widely used by bodybuilders, as these supplements are believed to be effective in building muscles. However, this is not the only benefit of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide can help relax the blood vessels, which can improve their functioning, along with promoting blood circulation. The relaxation of the blood vessels or vasodilation can prove helpful in conditions, like chest pain or angina, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure. In other words, these two amino acids can boost the health of the heart and the cardiovascular system by increasing the availability of nitric oxide in the body.
L-citrulline, as well as l-arginine can provide relief in condition like erectile dysfunction. As both the amino acids increase the production of nitric oxide in the body, they can improve the blood flow to various parts of the body, including the penis. They can also help overcome stress, and physical and mental fatigue. They can help detoxify the liver, promote the elimination of ammonia and other waste materials from the body, improve the immune functions, maintain the level of nitrogen in the body, regulate the secretion of human growth hormone, and speed up the process of recovery after surgery.
L-citrulline and L-arginine Supplements
It is true that our body can produce these amino acids, and hence their supplementation is usually not required. But in certain circumstances, it can become necessary to take the supplements of these two amino acids. For example, conditions like, protein deficiency or protein malnutrition, excessive production of ammonia, disorder in urea synthesis, sepsis, and infections can necessitate the intake of l-arginine supplements.
Moreover, most of the l-arginine produced by the body is used by the liver and the kidneys, leaving only a small portion for other functions. So, the supplements of arginine and citrulline can help maintain the level of nitric oxide in the body. L-arginine and l-citrulline supplements usually do not produce any serious side effects. However, their excessive and prolonged use can lower blood pressure, and increase the production of stomach acid, which can worsen the symptoms of heartburn and digestive ailments. L-arginine supplements should not be used after a heart attack.
So, care must be taken while taking these supplements. Apart from supplements, several foods can also provide these two amino acids in sufficient amounts. Citrulline can be found in the rind of watermelon, as well as in cucumbers, cantaloupe, and milk. On the other hand, dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, soy beans, oats, nuts, and wheat are some important sources of arginine. But if you are considering to take the supplements of these two amino acids, then talk to your physician to find out more about the benefits and side effects of such supplements, and their appropriate dosage.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.