By: Stephanie Anderson
The heart is a foundational element to achieving overall health and L-citrulline powder may help support. Every organ and system in the human body needs blood and L-citrulline plays an important role in blood circulation. It may have benefits for:
- Heart health
- Sexual function
- Exercise performance
- Urea cycle disorders
Do take note that, although L-citrulline has many possible benefits, there is little to no sufficient medical evidence that it can cure or treat any disease. But there are studies that seem to support its potential. The U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA) also does not regulate L-citrulline as a drug, but you may be able to consume it with a doctor’s approval (x).
What is L-Citrulline?
The funny thing about L-citrulline is that its name is derived from the Latin word citrullus, which means “watermelon.” In fact, watermelon is one dietary source of L-citrulline, as well as squash, melons, cucumber and even pumpkins (x, x).
What role does L-citrulline play in the human body? Or rather, what sort of chemical component is it? L-citrulline is an amino acid, which are the building blocks of protein that builds the body’s cells. Specifically L-citrulline is a nonessential amino acid, which means the body makes it on its own, compared to an essential amino acid that we can only get from food or supplements (x).
L-citrulline is produced in the liver or the intestines, mainly from L-arginine (another nonessential amino acid) fermenting with certain microorganisms, but L-glutamine is another nonessential amino acid that can help produce it (x).
What is Nitric Oxide?
Nitric oxide—not to be confused with the very toxic nitric acid—is a bodily compound that naturally widens the blood vessels and stimulates the release of certain growth hormones. Some medications harness nitric oxide pathways to potentially improve blood flow throughout the body (x).
Chemically, nitric oxide is a free radical, a highly reactive and short-lived uncharged molecule. Oftentimes, we associate free radicals with aging and disease but they are a natural part of the body (x). Nitric oxide is created with the help of nitric oxide synthase enzymes, which catalyze the conversion of L-arginine to L-citrulline (x). This reaction is important to how cells communicate and signal each other. L-citrulline, in this case, is a signaling molecule for the cardiovascular system. That’s why it may have benefits on blood pressure and blood flow.
Nitric Oxide & Vasodilation
The key word for these benefits is vasodilation—the process that dilates or widens the blood vessels—when the blood vessels’ smooth muscle walls relax. Vasodilation is a natural response to low oxygen levels or increases in body temperature, but a doctor may also induce vasodilation in response to problems with circulation (x).
What is L-Citrulline Powder Used for?
Nitric oxide is a huge component of L-citrulline and therefore many of their potential benefits may go hand in hand. So what are the benefits of L-citrulline? The amino acid can naturally help widen the blood vessels, assisting with blood pressure and blood circulation. As a dietary supplement, L-citrulline powder may produce similar effects and help maintain health.
However, there is not a sufficient amount of medical evidence to claim that L-citrulline powder can cure or prevent any disease. If a patient decides to try the supplement, they should always get their doctor’s approval first.
Nitric Oxide Production for Heart Health
Of all the parts in the body that L-citrulline plays a role, the heart and blood vessels may receive the most benefits. Nitric oxide naturally plays an important role in regulating blood flow and can cause the blood vessels to widen by inducing vasodilation. L-citrulline may help support the process, possibly promoting healthy circulation and maybe even managing hypertension (high blood pressure) (x).
Although there is no solid evidence that L-citrulline can definitely help reduce blood pressure, early studies suggest positive results. A study on 10 healthy young men concluded that L-citrulline seemed to reduce the subjects’ blood pressure and increased nitric oxide levels (x).
A 2010 study concluded that short-term L-citrulline supplementation may help alleviate stiff arteries. The supplement seems to significantly reduce stiffness in the arteries compared to the placebo group, but the research did not detect a discernible difference in blood pressure changes between the two groups (x).
In another study from 2010, every day for two months, researchers gave 3 g of L-citrulline supplements to patients who had suffered heart failure. Then they administered a stress test using a treadmill. According to the research, the supplement may have significantly reduced the patients’ blood pressure and also improved function in the right ventricle in their hearts (x).
Healthy Blood Flow for Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction (ED) may be related to reduced blood flow to the penis. Although evidence is minimal, nitric oxide might be able to support vasodilation and increase blood flow. A blind study on 24 men over 55 years old showed that L-citrulline may have helped stimulate erections. After treatment, some of these men reported sex more often and increased satisfaction, though this study requires more research (x).
In addition, a 2011 study compared L-citrulline to phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors (such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra) for their potential abilities to address ED. While L-citrulline did not perform as well as the inhibitors, the study still concluded that L-citrulline supplementation was likely safe and potentially effective for patients with erectile dysfunction (x).
Protein Synthesis for Exercise Performance
Researchers think that supplementing with L-citrulline powder may improve oxygen flow to the muscles during exercise, which could improve athletic performance and reduce soreness after workouts (x). In fact, L-citrulline is an increasingly popular bodybuilding supplement/pre-workout formula, mainly because of its nitric oxide content. It may be able to dilate the blood vessels and allow more nutrients and oxygen to enter muscle mass. It may also remove extra ammonia build-up, which causes muscle fatigue (x).
Researchers have conducted several studies to investigate the nitric oxide’s potential on muscle protein synthesis. One study found an association between L-arginine and the regulation of muscle development. (Remember L-citrulline plays a role in the urea cycle, which produces nitric oxide and L-arginine.) In some animal experiments, L-arginine demonstrates potential to enhance protein synthesis in skeletal muscle (x).
Why is Protein Synthesis Important?
Protein synthesis in general is important for exercise performance. Many athletes consume protein after exercise to make up for the protein the body loses during exercise. Exercise breaks down proteins, but no more than protein synthesis can keep up with, so there is no growth or waste. The greater and more intense the exercise, the more likely muscle protein synthesis occurs (x).
Removing Ammonia & Supporting the Urea Cycle
Research states that L-citrulline naturally helps support the urea cycle and the supplement may also do the same to keep levels healthy. In some cases, patients may develop a urea cycle disorder from a genetic mutation that causes defects in this process that can lead to excess ammonia in the body (x).
What is the Urea Cycle?
In short, the urea cycle converts ammonia—a toxic product of nitrogen metabolism—into urea, a substance filtered through the kidneys into the bloodstream and eventually excreted through urine. There are five main reactions to the urea cycle, but the final step turns L-citrulline into L-arginine and nitric oxide (x, x). Ammonia is a natural bodily waste, but if too much accumulates, it can cause damage in the body, leading to coma in extreme cases (x, x). Ammonia can also build up as a result of exercise and cause faster fatigue.
One study tested L-arginine and its potential to remove ammonia in rats. The researchers noticed that L-arginine seemed to reduce blood ammonia nitrogen levels in the study group about thirty minutes after injection. The study also suggested that the supplement increased L-citrulline and urea levels as a result (x).
How to Take L-Citrulline Supplements
As a dietary supplement, the recommended dosage for L-citrulline powder is 3,000 mg twice a day, or as directed by a physician. Remember to speak to a doctor before you consume any supplement because it may interfere with other medications or supplements or cause unwanted side effects.
Can You Take L-Citrulline & L-Arginine Together?
L-citrulline and L-arginine use different transporters when they’re absorbed in the gut. Therefore, researchers think it may be safe to combine these two amino acids to help increase arginine and nitric oxide levels. In one study, researchers set out to test whether oral supplementation with citrulline could increase arginine levels in the blood. They gave six different oral dosages of citrulline, arginine or a placebo to 20 healthy volunteers. After one week, the citrulline seemed to increase arginine concentration more effectively than arginine by itself (x).
However, there may be insufficient research to reach a definite conclusion, so consult a physician to make sure it’s safe to take these two together (x). In addition, although there are some studies that seem to produce positive results, there is no research that claims either of these supplements can completely cure or prevent any disease or illness.
Potential Side Effects of L-Citrulline Powder
Oral L-citrulline supplements are possibly safe in appropriate doses. However, if side effects do occur, they may be a result of exceeding the recommended dosage and may include mild intestinal discomfort (x).
Other Warnings & Precautions
There is not enough research to conclude whether it is safe for pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is best to avoid it to prevent any damage or complications. It may also interfere with medications used to treat high blood pressure, heart disease and erectile dysfunction because it affects some of the same bodily functions. To avoid any unwanted medication interactions, make sure to consult a doctor before you take the supplement.
Where to Buy L-Citrulline Supplements
You can purchase L-citrulline supplements in powder form at BulkSupplements.com. The company is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor for pure dietary supplements. BulkSupplements.com is not just a consumer brand. It also supplies pure ingredients to other brands that distribute food and other supplement products. All products at BulkSupplements.com are manufactured and tested according to current and proper manufacturing practices.
Are you interested in trying L-citrulline supplements to potentially support cardiovascular health, maintain healthy circulation and improve exercise performance? Contact BulkSupplements.com to place an order today.
They say a healthy gut means a healthy body, but so does having a healthy heart. Because L-citrulline plays a natural role in dilating the blood vessels it contributes to heart health by supporting healthy blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. The supplement derived from it may offer similar benefits. Although there is no scientific evidence that completely supports the supplement’s effects, some studies suggest possibilities.
The body already supplies L-citrulline on its own, but it is also in many fruits and vegetables. Its greatest strength is its natural role in nitric oxide production, which acts as a vasodilator. Nitric oxide is essential for heart health, but research also associates it with other conditions such as urea cycle disorders and erectile dysfunction. L-citrulline may also play a big part in protein synthesis to maintain muscle mass and maintaining healthy levels of ammonia.
Although it seems to have plenty of potential benefits, any supplement can cause side effects or interact with medications. To possibly avoid side effects, make sure to see a doctor before you take this supplement to ensure that it only benefits your health.
*** These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.