Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate For Muscle Building

Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate For Muscle Building

Many of you looking for the edge in the gym will most likely have heard of Citrulline or Citrulline Malate from the ingredients panel of your favourite preworkout which is marketted to give you the greatest mucsle pump which as Arnold said in Pumping Iron “is better than cumming” (supposedly) . The purpose of supplementing with Citrulline or Citrulline Malate is to increase nitric oxide production via its conversion to the amino acid arginine which increases vasodilation in turn allow for greater blood flow, as well and oxygen and nutrient transportation to the muscles.

As a result a lifter may experience greater stamina, endurance and muscle pumps. Long-term results of increased nitric oxide production include faster muscle recovery between training sessions and enhanced muscle growth. That what we are all looking for right? So we know the benefits of Citrulline supplementation but which is better L-Citrulline or Citrulline Malate?

Many so called “experts” believe L-Citrulline is superior to Citrulline Malate as it is a pure amino acid, however this isn’t how it appears to translate in the research. Citrulline Malate is an organic compound that naturally occurs in fruit such as apples. Malic acid is used in many packaged foods as a preservative so it has a longer shelf life,usually this would ring alarm bells and we’d want to stay clear but studies have shown that if taken as a supplement, it can improve stamina and reduce the pain and inflammation induced by high intensity training.

The biggest difference between pure L-Citrulline and Citrulline Malate is the role Citrulline Malate plays in the Krebs cycle. Citrulline Malate aids in the conversion of the nutrients we take in (via food or drink) into useable energy, specifically ATP which helps provide more energy for high intensity exercise. Citrulline Malate has been shown to enhance aerobic and anaerobic energy production as well as all the benefits of L-Citrulline which makes Citrulline Malate a bigger bang for your buck supplement that pure L-Citrulline offering potential to maximize recovery and muscle growth.

Citrulline Malate Study #1

Unlike L-Citrulline, the effectiveness of Citrulline Malate is backed by several research studies.

One such study was conducted in 6 different gyms in the South of Spain. During the study, the participants were tested on their 1 repetition maximum for the flat barbell bench press. Before engaging in the bench press strength test, participants consumed (8 g) of Citrulline Malate or placebo (2-period crossover design) 1 hour before the workout. The participants completed 8 sets of bench press at 80% of their 1 rep maximum to complete muscle fatigue during the course of a chest-focused workout (4 sets at the beginning of the workout and 4 sets near the conclusion of the workout). The participants continued a series of 5 workouts per week for 2 weeks (chest, back, legs, shoulders, arms).

The results of the study showed a strong correlation between the ingestion of Citrulline Malate and an increase in the number of repetitions completed in the bench press test by the majority of study participants. These results led the researchers to believe that Citrulline Malate may help individuals lift more weight and more repetitions in the gym during each training session, while also recovering more quickly after each session.

Citrulline Malate Study #2

In another study conducted on the potential benefits of Citrulline Malate, a group of handball players were evaluated to see if Citrulline Malate could help decrease blood lactate level and postpone exercise fatigue.

For a period of 4 weeks, the handball players engaged in high intensity training for 4 days per week. The training primarily consisted of strength/resistance training and technique training for their sport. The athletes were given Stimol (contains Citrulline Malate) 3 times per day. They were given a 1 gram dose in the morning for breakfast, 1 gram during midday for lunch, and 1 gram in the evening for dinner. The placebo group was only given the placebo during these same periods during the day. The blood lactate levels of the athletes were measured before the training program began and after it concluded.

The results of the study showed a significant decrease in blood lactate levels immediately after exercise for those participants taking the Stimol supplement. The placebo group did not show any significant decrease in blood lactate levels during the study. The results give a lot of evidence that supplementing with Citrulline Malate may help postpone the effects of fatigue while participating in high intensity or endurance exercise.

Verdict & Advice

The research indicates that Citrulline Malate is superior to pure L-Citrulline so I would prefer to see my preworkout contain Citrulline Malate just based on the sheer fact it is backed by science, however that is not to say in future we won’t see more positive research on pure Citrulline. One key thing to note is Citrulline Malate is part L-Citrulline and part Malic acid, gram for gram this makes Citrulline Malate cheaper since it contains less pure L-Citrulline. Also baring in mind that Citrulline Malate can come in a 1:1 ratio and 2:1 ratio so if your preworkout contains the 1:1 ratio you will need a larger dosage to get the desired pure L-Citrulline dosage and this is why i believe the 2:1 ratio is superior and the one which is used more convincingly in research so always check the label, if the ratio is 2:1 the company will no doubt state that since it is more expensive than standard 1:1 ratio and they’ll want you to know that! If it doesn’t state the ratio then i’d be a little wary and i’d either assume its the lower 1:1 ratio or i’d contact the company and ask for peace of mind.

So that’s my take on L-Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate, my preferred choice through my own experimentation and also what the research indicated. Hopefully this has helped you better understand the ingredients in your preworkout and some things to look out for before spending your hard earned cash!

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Shaun Corrigan
Shaun Corrigan

Bodybuilder, Online Coach & Contest Prep Coach

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