Citrulline is an amino acid that’s often associated with enhancing blood flow and producing “the pump.”
However, research suggests that citrulline provides other athlete-specific benefits that warrant its use. Best of all, it appears that citrulline is applicable for almost any athlete.
To come, we’ll discuss citrulline and cover its most powerful benefits for enhanced athletic performance.
WHAT IS CITRULLINE?
Before learning how citrulline is beneficial for performance, it's essential to understand what citrulline is and why you might use it.
Citrulline is an amino acid derived most notably from watermelon and other citrus fruits. However, this amino acid is a bit different from those you might be familiar with because its purpose is not to produce proteins (1).
Instead, citrulline acts as a precursor to a different amino acid known as arginine.
Chances are, you’ve heard of arginine before because it’s been popularized as a primary amino acid responsible for producing nitric oxide (2).
Nitric oxide, as you might know, is a molecule responsible for dilating and relaxing blood vessels, which improves the chances of experiencing “the pump” when lifting weights (3).
The fascinating thing here is that supplemental arginine is extensively metabolized in the liver when you ingest it, which means that it's not a great supplement. Citrulline, however, bypasses this process and converts to arginine, in effect, elevating arginine levels to produce nitric oxide (1, 4, 5).
But helping you gain a pump isn’t the only reason for using citrulline, especially if you’re an athlete.
Studies show that citrulline might improve athletic performance in several different ways, including limiting fatigue, enhancing energy metabolism, and even improving recovery from a molecular and physical standpoint (6, 7, 8).
Together, it’s clear that the benefits of citrulline warrant its use in your supplement routine.
THE BENEFITS OF SUPPLEMENTAL CITRULLINE
Even though citrulline’s ability to elevate arginine levels better than supplemental arginine itself is enough to warrant its use, there are a few distinct benefits of citrulline for athletic performance.
CITRULLINE LIMITS FATIGUE & ENHANCES PERFORMANCE