Move over creatine, Citrulline Malate (CitM) might be the next big breakthrough in performance supplementation.
It’s a combination of the amino acid citrulline and the organic salt malate, and is described as a promising non-essential amino acid that acts as a fatigue fighter, although medical experts have used it for years to address muscle weakness, and even treat a mental disorder called dementia.
Clear metabolites, deliver more nutrients
CitM offers a long list of claimed benefits, including:
- Sustained energy
- Increased strength
- Quicker recovery.
The main mechanism through which CitM fights fatigue is its ability to help remove ammonia from the body.
By removing this rate-limiting exercise metabolite, CitM supplements enable athletes to work longer by increasing endurance capacity and also improves recovery, with less soreness.
And, according to data presented at the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s 13th Annual Conference, CitM may be effective at elevating arginine and nitric oxide (NO) levels.
NO is a potent vasodilator, which enhances oxygen and nutrient delivery to working muscles, which could positively impact performance during training and racing, and aids the recovery process.
Build muscle, fight fatigue and boost energy
A study led by Lauren Wethington of the University of Arkansas investigated CitM’s ergogenic effects on female weightlifters.
The research team found an overall increase in performance among those who used CitM as a supplement during resistance training compared to subjects who took a placebo.
Wethington noted that during the final half of an exercise session, subjects completed significantly more repetitions when consuming CitM compared to the placebo.
Darryn Willoughby, Ph.D., an associate professor of exercise and nutritional biochemistry and molecular physiology, discussed the benefits of CitM at an International Society of Sports Nutrition conference held in Colorado Springs.
He explained that L-citrulline is not subject to pre-systemic elimination and could be a more efficient way to elevate extracellular L-arginine levels.
According to Willoughby, research findings indicate that short-term citrulline supplementation could functionally improve atrial stiffness by increasing vascular relaxation and increasing blood flow to the body.
CitM use would, therefore, be applicable for muscle building, fatigue relief and energy production because of the link it shares with NO production and athletic performance.
Enhanced immune support
CitM may also help support immune function during high volume exercise, according to Spanish researchers.
The research team studied the effect of the substance on white blood cell function by giving cyclists 6g of CitM before and after a race, and found that CitM mitigates the immunosuppressive (inhibitory) effect of a high training volume.
Based on available research, anyone looking for a performance benefit from quality supplements should consider CitM as part of a well-balanced nutritional support plan.