Health Benefits of Citrulline Supplements

Citrulline is an amino acid with a wide range of health benefits. Taking citrulline supplements can reduce blood pressure and improve the ability of your arteries to expand. The body can produce it naturally and also available in some foods. However, taking supplements increases the body’s citrulline content above typical levels. While some people are aware of citrulline benefits for health and performance in exercise, others are skeptical.

How Does It Work?

Citrulline has several essential effects on the body. It operates primarily by enhancing vasodilation. The expansion of arteries or veins is referred to as vasodilation. It has been linked to decreased blood pressure and enhanced blood flow [1]. After consuming citrulline, some of it is transformed to another amino acid known as arginine. Arginine is turned into the chemical nitric oxide, which induces blood artery dilatation by relaxing the smooth muscle cells that constrict them [2].

Ingesting citrulline may enhance arginine levels in the body more than arginine alone [3]. This is because of changes in how the body process and absorbs arginine and citrulline [4]. One process involved in citrulline’s favourable benefits of exercise performance may be an increase in nitric oxide and blood flow.

Although citrulline is not an amino acid that is directly used to make proteins, it has been showed to boost protein synthesis by triggering a key signalling pathway involved in muscle development [5]. Citrulline may also decrease the intake of some amino acids by the liver and prevent their degradation [3]. It may help to maintain or increase muscle mass by having dual effects on protein synthesis and amino acid degradation.

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Citrulline may enhance blood flow by boosting the generation of nitric oxide. It may also benefit muscle by increasing protein synthesis and lowering amino acid breakdown.

Reduces Blood Pressure

Citrulline supplements can lower blood pressure, especially in those with high blood pressure levels. Studies in 40 participants show the effects of citrulline supplements on adults with high blood pressure or other heart conditions [6], [7]. They found that after eight weeks, the blood pressure of participants had decreased by 4–15%.

In a small study, researchers found that citrulline reduced blood pressure by 6–16% after 7 days in a small study examining 12 adults with normal blood pressure [8]. The evidence is not conclusive in healthy individuals, as other researchers found no benefits from citrulline over periods of four weeks [9]. Overall, it is unclear whether it significantly affects healthy individuals’ blood pressure.

Taking citrulline supplements may lower your blood pressure and improve the ability of your arteries to widen. These effects may occur more frequently in people with disease.

Widens Blood Vessels

Enhancing the ability of the blood vessels to enlarge might improve blood pressure and its flow. Studies have shown that a single dose of L-citrulline does not enlarge arteries in healthy or ill individuals [10], [11]. However, people who have heart disease or are at risk of heart disease have consumed L-citrulline for seven days or more had improved the ability of their arteries to widen [12], [13]. So, while a single dose may not be very effective in widening your blood vessels. Thus, taking citrulline supplements may have the benefits over the longer term.

Taking citrulline supplements may be beneficial in the long run. A single dose has little effect on an artery in healthy or unwell people. People who had ingested L-citrullin for seven days or more had improved their arteries’ ability to expand.

Boosts Exercise Performance

Citrulline was studied in both endurance and strength-based exercise because of its ability to increase blood flow. Several endurance exercise studies have used L-citrulline, while much of the resistance-based research has used citrulline malate. A single dose of citrulline does not appear to improve the performance of endurance exercises [14]. Taking citrulline supplements for one to two weeks does not affect oxygen consumption. It can increase oxygen in muscle tissue [15].

This means the amino acid may not allow the body to use more oxygen. However, it may improve the usage of oxygen in the exercising muscle. This may allow for better results in exercise. Cyclists taking citrulline could cycle 12% longer before exhaustion than those taking placebo in one study [16]. Taking these supplements can also improve power output during cycling. In a certain amount of time, that is how much force it can produce. Citrulline can affect the oxygen in the muscle, which can improve stamina [14].

For one to two weeks, using citrulline supplements has little effect on oxygen utilisation. It can boost stamina and power output by influencing the oxygen in the muscle.

Boosts Growth Hormone (GH)

Citrulline may boost growth hormone (GH) after exercise, which can cause muscle growth [17]. It may involve the rise in GH and other hormones after exercise in the beneficial adaptations that your body experiences when you are exercising [18]. The amino acid may also improve erections in men with erectile dysfunction, possibly by increasing blood flow [19].

Citrulline may increase growth hormone (GH) levels after exercise, which can lead to muscle growth. In men with erectile dysfunction, the amino acid may also improve erections.

Builds Muscle Faster

Several studies have shown that citrulline malate has the benefits of enhancing performance in weight training. One study in 41 men on the ability to perform repetitions during upper-body exercise [20]. After the consumption of citrulline malate, participants could perform 53% more repetitions than the placebo.

When they consumed citrulline malate before exercising, the muscle soreness of participants after exercise was 40% less. Other researchers also found that citrulline malate can reduce tiredness and increase the performance of the lower body in weight training [21]. Participants had taken the supplement 60 minutes before exercise in both studies.

Citrulline malate has been found to boost weight training performance. It can help you feel less fatigued and perform better in the lower body.

Types of Citrulline

In dietary supplements, there are two primary forms of citrulline:

L-Citrulline: This refers to citrulline by itself, with nothing else combined.

Citrulline Malate: This refers to the combination of citrulline and another compound called malate, which is important for the production of energy [22].

The two forms may produce some similar effects. However, citrulline’s malate form is more common in sport. It is not clear which form can better affect human health.

Safety and Side Effects

However, the highest doses of arginine in the blood did not appear to increase as much as expected, meaning there is a limit to how much of this supplement your body can use. Overall, the study showed that excessive doses are greater than 10 grams. Blood tests conducted in participants after taking citrulline supplements revealed no harmful changes to normal body functions or blood pressure. [23].

Citrulline, according to current research, is both safe and well-tolerated. Doses over 10 grams are definitely useless.


Citrulline is an amino acid, which has several health benefits. It also seems to be safe with no known side-effects. This supplement can promote healthy blood vessels and lower blood pressure, especially in people with heart or high blood pressure. Citrulline malate was researched the most for weight training. An 8-gram dose could reduce fatigue and boost workout performance. Citrulline may be the next supplement you should consider if you want to support heart health or boost your workout performance. Before taking any supplements, we strongly recommend consulting with your doctor.

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