Can Citrulline Malate Contribute to Bodybuilding & Athletic Performance

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A lot of recent research has focused on citrulline malate as the next big thing. Citrulline can indeed be quite beneficial for bodybuilding if you have the right expectations. You can improve your recovery and reduce the harmful effects of exercise in your body. Citrulline malate can also aid in protein synthesis, and improve circulation.

So how do all of these turn out for bodybuilders and athletes?

We are going to find that out in our citrulline guide for bodybuilding!

What is Citrulline Malate?

We will not go into the technical jargon of citrulline.

You can read that on many other sources. We will quickly run down through the basics.

Citrulline is an amino acid produced by our bodies. As a result, it’s not an essential amino acid.

We can supplement our natural citrulline levels eating many foods like watermelon. You can also get it in supplement form, just like BCAAs

Now, we were talking about citrulline malate. Where does the malate come from?

Well, malate is just added to the citrulline when sold as supplements. Malate or malic acid is what makes fruits like apple sour. According to studies, malate can help in the reduction of fatigue. It also makes the citrulline more stable in the supplement form. 

Next, we will see what role citrulline plays in our bodies. 

The Role of Citrulline Malate 

Citrulline has two major roles in our bodies. 

‘First, the amino acid plays a big role in clearing toxins from our bodies. Citrulline can boost our urea cycle, a process of clearing nitrogen waste from our system. A person with an improved urea cycle will have less ammonia, which can be toxic at high levels. 

Another important function of citrulline is to dilate blood vessels. That results in improved circulation. 

The amino acid also has other health benefits like-

  • Reduction of risks of heart diseases
  • Normalizing blood pressure levels
  • Improved erections

Now, let’s see how the compound is beneficial for bodybuilding.

How does Citrulline Malate Contribute to Bodybuilding

Citrulline supplements can help you enhance your athletic performance. You can also expect less fatigue and better recoveries from intensive training. Let’s check out how exactly citrulline affects your performance-

Lower Levels of Ammonia Buildup

We create a lot of waste and toxins when we exercise. A majority of these toxins are in the form of nitrogen that comes from the breakdown of amino acids in proteins. The nitrogen then goes on to produce harmful ammonia. 

Now, too much ammonia is not good for your health at all! You can get extremely tired, and even suffer from confusion and other psychological problem. In short, it can lead to a reduction in your athletic or gym performance. 

The urea cycle we talked about helps us get rid of toxic ammonia. Citrulline malate boosts the process of urea cycle and helps us remove toxins more effectively.

As a result, you develop less fatigue and can improve your performance. 

Increase Production of Nitric Oxide 

Citrulline malate can have a role in boosting your N.O. levels. 

When you consume citrulline, some of the amino acids convert into arginine, which then turns into nitric oxide.

As you know, nitric oxide facilitates the vasodilation of blood vessels, helping them to relax. Or in other words, your blood vessels widen to allow more blood to pass. 

Along with that, you experience a range of beneficial effects on your muscles

  • Improved oxygen transportation 
  • Enhanced nutrient uptake
  • Improved muscular functions
  • Increase output and growth

There is one interesting thing to note here. We said arginine facilitates the production of NO. Now, you can have more nitric oxide just by having arginine. Right?

Not really! Studies show that citrulline malate increases arginine levels far better than just consuming alone. That means you can have more N.O. by having citrulline malate, and not arginine supplements. 

Boosts ATP Production

According to Bodybuilding, citrulline malate helps in creatine synthesis. Now, we have talked in length how creatine helps produce ATP to power your muscles.

Now we have proof citrulline malate can directly help you boost creatine synthesis, and increase strength, muscle mass, and performance. 

Some evidence even suggests that citrulline can help refill phosphocreatine stores in the muscles. That again helps you perform better and increase energy. 

Citrulline malate is a common ingredient in many pre-workouts for its capability to increase energy and reduce fatigue. 

We have summarized the contributions of citrulline malate more or less. Now let’s sum up our findings and see what research has to say. 

How Citrulline Malate Helps Athletes and Bodybuilders

1. Reduction in Muscle Fatigue and Soreness

We just saw how it helps clear toxins and ammonia from your body. As a result, your muscles can maintain optimum pH levels to delay fatigue. That means you can work out for a long time without getting tired!

Citrulline can also reduce muscle soreness, according to As a result, citrulline malate can help athletes recover far better from intense training and exercise. 

2. Enhanced Endurance and Athletic Performance

Delaying fatigue naturally builds endurance and helps you exercise more intensely. On the other hand, creatine synthesis and nitric oxide also improve power and energy levels. According to research, citrulline malate can even increase the usage of oxygen by exercising muscles. 

All of the above contribute to building muscle power and endurance. 

We will now take a look at the research to establish our facts. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research assessed the effects of citrulline. The researchers divided 41 men into two groups, control, and placebo. 

By the end of the study, the researchers found the group taking citrulline malate to show improved strength. Compared to the placebo group, they increase their bench press repetitions by 53% before muscle exhaustion. The group also experienced 40% less muscle soreness.

In another study, professional cyclists taking citrulline cycled 12% longer than the placebo group up to the point of exhaustion. 

Both studies show citrulline malate to develop endurance and improve athletic performance. 

3. May Facilitate Muscle Growth

Now don’t get this wrong. Citrulline malate doesn’t help in protein synthesis in any way. However, it still may play a role in protecting muscles and building muscle mass. Let’s see how!

According to, citrulline can improve BCAA utilization by our muscles. As a result, your body will convert more BCAAs into protein and muscle fiber

Citrulline malate can promote protein synthesis through other means too- 

You can see how citrulline malate helps you synthesize protein passively and cuts back amino acid breakdown. As a result, you can build muscle mass and protect your muscles at the same time!

Citrulline may even have a role in boosting anabolic effects after exercising. In studies, the amino acid increased the growth hormone levels after working out. This mechanism will also help you build more muscle fiber. 

As you can see, citrulline can help you increase endurance, aid recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and promote muscle building. 

Citrulline Malate Dosage

Many pre-workout supplements come with citrulline to power your workouts. However, if you are taking only citrulline malate, you can consume 7 -8-grams of the supplement. 

If you are taking the only l-citrulline supplement, then 3 – 6-grams will suffice. You need to take less amount as the supplement contains only citrulline without any malate.

Also, you should take your supplements regularly. Single doses of citrulline don’t provide any beneficial effects.

Final Thoughts

Citrulline malate can bring significant differences in your performance and workouts. You can keep fatigue at bay and improve your muscle recovery. The amino acid also supplements your energy and provides strength to endure intense exercises longer.

You can call citrulline malate the king of all fatigue beaters and is perfect for supplementation. The amino acid even promotes protein synthesis and makes way for enhanced muscle building. Citrulline also protects your muscles and increases growth hormones for anabolic effects.

You can include citrulline malate in your supplement list or can use a pre-workout containing the ingredient. 


Does citrulline malate give you pumps?

Citrulline malate is scientifically-proven to increase the production of nitric oxide. Additionally, it also helps us make more creatine that increases ATP. Both will give you a boost o energy or pump. So yes, citrulline malate can give you pumps to lift more weight.

What do you mix citrulline malate with?

Citrulline malate is sour. So, you can mix it with at least a glass of water before drinking. Additionally, refer to your supplement label for instructions.

Is L-citrulline bad for kidneys?

L-citrulline has been found to be beneficial for patients with kidney diseases in studies. Taking L citrulline shouldn’t harm your kidneys if you are a healthy person. However, do consult your physician if you suffer from kidney ailments or have weak kidneys.

Should I take citrulline malate every day?

It is necessary to take citrulline malate every day. Single doses of citrulline will not provide and benefits. So, take your supplement at least for a month to see results. You can also talk to your trainer for pro tips.

Does citrulline malate keep you awake?

Citrulline has no effect on sleep. You can take it before going to bed without any problems. However, if your supplement has any additional stimulants, then it might keep you awake at night for a few hours.

What are the side effects of citrulline?

Side effects of citrulline may include dizziness, low blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness. Give your supplement a break if you think you are getting serious side effects.