By Vaughn Debow
It seems that every month a new super ingredient is discovered that will change how we workout forever. It stays popular for a couple of months, and then it is destined to be forgotten like countless “new” ingredients before it. Only a few select compounds are able to stand the test of time and remain popular, however one ingredient that has been decently popular for about 5 years has suddenly exploded onto the pre-workout scene. It has been included in almost every single formula released in the past 6-12 months, and support for it appears to still be building. For those of you that haven't guess what the ingredient is, it is none other than the Nitric Oxide boosting and Lactic Acid buffering powerhouse, Citrulline Malate.
Most people know that Citrulline Malate is used to get a pump and can increase their endurance, but very few understand how it actually works. When ingested, Citrulline Malate begins its work by helping to power up ATP production. ATP is the most basic form of energy our body creates, and is the major fuel source for our muscle cells. Citrulline Malate increases ATP by actively flushing Ammonia and Lactic Acid from our blood. By removing these waste products, the body will feel less of the normal signs of fatigue as the traditional “burn” caused by these waste products is significantly reduced. Because of the endurance effect of this ingredient, many athletes beyond just bodybuilders will be able to note a significant improvement to their performance by using it. All of you interested in running, biking, swimming, and even MMA will reap many benefits by adding Citrulline Malate into your daily regiment.
Now while many of us would love to increase our endurance, the vast majority of supplement users these days use ingredients that help increase the pump as well overall muscle size/density. Citrulline Malate is able to accomplish both of these through a single mechanism, increased Nitric Oxide. While the supplement industry has finally acknowledged that it has lied to all of us for years, and that Arginine can't actually raise N.O. levels, the fact of the matter is that Citrulline Malate does. Citrulline Malate increases N.O. by converting into Arginine. Now while some of you may be scratching your head thinking “But you just said Arginine can't raise N.O....”, the truth is that both are correct. Citrulline Malate allows for an increase of Arginine in our blood stream, which is then used to be made into Nitric Oxide. When we take Arginine orally, none of it enters our blood stream, so none of it is able to be converted into Nitric Oxide. By increasing our Nitric Oxide with Citrulline Malate, we get to treat our muscle cells with more oxygen, nutrients, and blood then they would normally receive. By getting more oxygen & nutrients our body is able to work harder for longer which results in more torn muscle fibers, which in turn means more muscle growth. On top of that, by getting more nutrients to our muscles we are able to repair them more quickly which results in less off time from the gym.
Now that the benefits of Citrulline Malate are easily seen, the most obvious question by users is how much they should take. Due to an unfortunately low amount of studies, the true effective dosage of Citrulline Malate is currently unknown. After 4-5 years of anecdotal evidence however, the recommended minimum dose of Citrulline Malate is 2,000mg with the maximum dose being as much as your stomach can handle. Some users note an upset stomach when consuming more than 10g in a single sitting, so the average Citrulline Malate aficionado will usually take 4-8g prior to their workout. This dose maximizes results, while minimizes any potential side effects seen from too large of a dose.
Finally, Citrulline Malate should be dosed depending on what your actual goals are. Those that wish to use Citrulline Malate purely for its endurance enhancing capabilities should consume 2-4g 2-3x/day. Bodybuilders looking for a huge pump should go for 2-10g prior to their workout. For those of you looking to enhance N.O., the pump, and endurance, try taking 2-5g prior to your workout, and an additional 2-5g post workout.