Citrulline was first isolated from watermelon, thus its name was derived from the Latin word citrullus, meaning watermelon. Citrulline malate (CM) is a mixture of citrulline and malic acid, which is easily absorbed and has enhanced potency over citrulline alone. Research in the past decade has shown that CM can boost training intensity by a few well defined mechanisms. Taken prior to training, it increases the rate of phosphocreatine and ATP production—which translates to more energy and strength during training sessions. In addition to boosting ATP, CM also converts to arginine in your body. Arginine is the precursor to nitric oxide (NO), the gas molecule that boosts blood and nutrient delivery to your working muscles—which helps to delay fatigue. Notably, research suggests that CM supplements increase blood levels of arginine and NO more effectively than arginine ingestion itself.
A most recent article published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements provides the latest support for CM as an ergogenic aid that significantly boost training volume. Fourteen resistance-trained males participated in this randomized, counterbalanced, double-blind study. Subjects were randomly assigned to placebo (PL) or CM (8 g) and performed three sets each of chin-ups, reverse chin-ups, and push-ups to failure. One week later, subjects ingested the other supplement and performed the same protocol. The authors reported that CM supplementation increased the amount of repetitions performed for all exercises by up to 21%!
ACTION POINT: To take advantage of all citrulline malate has to offer, take 3-8 grams 30-60 minutes before training.
Wax B1, Kavazis AN, Luckett W. Effects of Supplemental Citrulline-Malate Ingestion on Blood Lactate, Cardiovascular Dynamics, and Resistance Exercise Performance in Trained Males. J Diet Suppl. 2015 Feb 12. [Epub ahead of print]