One supplement that has recently been introduced to bodybuilding is Citrulline Malate. Studies in humans and rats have demonstrated that in those suffering from asthenia (muscle weakness), treatment with Citrulline Malate improves muscle performance. Treatment with Citrulline Malate has also been shown clinically to significantly improve recovery of physical activity following acute disease.
So How Does Citrulline Malate Exert These Effects?
In subjects treated with Citrulline Malate compared with those untreated, following bicycle exercise the levels of ammonia and lactate in the blood of the Citrulline Malate treated subjects were much lower than the untreated subjects. This led to the finding that Citrulline Malate increases the rates of clearance of these substances from the blood.
The actual mechanism for Citrulline Malate’s action is not fully understood, but it has been shown that administration of Citrulline Malate leads to a greater production of ATP produced aerobically, and consequentially a lowered ATP production comes from anaerobic pathways. In simple terms, more energy is being produced by the aerobic pathway in your body, and so there is less lactic acid being produced and other such toxic by-products of anaerobic respiration, which lead to increased fatigue. Diet supplementation with Citrulline Malate hence is thought to increase the muscle’s ability to be able to produce energy (ATP) aerobically.
So What Advantage Does This Have for the Bodybuilder?
Well I personally cannot see that there will be any significant differences noticed in any low repetition muscle building exercise, which rely little on aerobic pathways. If anything, Citrulline Malate supplementation might mean that lactic acid build-up is reduced thus meaning that nearer the end of one’s weight training session, the user might be less fatigued than they would have been without Citrulline Malate, which may allow end of routine exercises to see improvements.
However, I would see Citrulline Malate’s main benefit to lie in the recovery of muscles – supplementing with it every day can lead to increased recovery between sessions. In addition, for those who engage in more vigorous cardiovascular (CV) sessions, and those who are incorporating CV for fat loss, Citrulline Malate supplementation should be beneficial in allowing the user to perhaps increase the intensity of the CV performed, or increase the duration and recovery, which can be useful to those trying to use CV for fat loss.
An ideal dose to start with of Citrulline Malate would be around 6g per day, ideally split (3g in morning, 3g in evening or pre-workout). The user can increase the dose to 10g, or heavier users (over 200lb body weight) / non-responders may wish to increase further to around 12-15g. Typical duration for results to be noticed would be 7-14 days.
This product does not need to be cycled, but it may be beneficial to do so, for example, 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off, etc. There is very little reported in the way of side effects. I recommend that Citrulline Malate be bought from a bulk powder supplier as this is the most cost effective way of purchasing it.
In summary, Citrulline Malate can be a useful supplement for the athlete who is trying to increase their recovery between workout sessions, and an even better supplement for those wishing to reduce fatigue from CV sessions, allowing them to experience increased stamina and endurance. Look for it as an ingredient in pre-workout formulas.