By Gabe Sanders Ph.D., NSCA-CSCS
In the world of fitness and athletic performance, people are always searching for ways to optimize their workouts and achieve their goals. One supplement that has gained attention in recent years is citrulline. Citrulline is an amino acid that plays a vital role in the urea cycle, but it's also garnered interest for its potential benefits to boost exercise performance.
Citrulline associated with improved endurance
A study published in 2021 by Gough et al. aimed to critically examine the impact of citrulline malate supplementation on exercise performance. Citrulline malate is a combination of citrulline and malic acid, often used as a supplement in fitness circles. The researchers found compelling evidence to suggest that citrulline malate could enhance exercise performance.
Specifically, it was associated with improved endurance during high-intensity exercise and reduced feelings of fatigue. These benefits are particularly relevant for endurance athletes and novice exercisers alike, as increased endurance and reduced fatigue can lead to better overall performance, regardless of your goals.
Another study by Vårvik and his colleagues reviewed the citrulline literature investigating the acute effects of citrulline malate on repetition performance during strength training sessions. Their findings indicated that citrulline malate supplementation can positively impact strength training performance.
It was observed that participants taking citrulline malate experienced increased repetitions during resistance exercises compared to those taking a placebo. This suggests that citrulline supplementation might enhance muscle endurance, potentially leading to more significant gains in strength and muscle mass over time.
Citrulline is a valuable addition
While the previous findings are evidence from two studies, these two studies do highlight the potential benefits of supplementing with citrulline. Whether you're an endurance athlete seeking improved performance during grueling workouts or a strength enthusiast looking to push your boundaries in the weight room, citrulline supplementation could be a valuable addition to your fitness regimen.
However, it's essential to remember that supplements should be used as part of a well-rounded approach to training and nutrition. Before incorporating citrulline into your routine, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to ensure it aligns with your individual health and fitness needs.
Lastly, keep in mind that research is an ongoing process, and new findings may emerge in the future to support or contradict the previously aforementioned studies. Stay informed about the latest scientific studies and always rely on reputable sources when making decisions about your supplementation choices.
Gough, Lewis A., et al. “A critical review of citrulline malate supplementation and exercise performance.” European journal of applied physiology 121.12 (2021): 3283-3295.
Vårvik, Fredrik Tonstad, Thomas Bjørnsen, and Adam M. Gonzalez. “Acute effect of citrulline malate on repetition performance during strength training: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism 31.4 (2021): 350-358.
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