Citrulline Malate

First published on July 19th, 2020. Updated on October 15, 2023.
3 minutes average read.

Citrulline Malate is an amino acid compound which is usually found in most pre-workout supplements, although dosage may vary. Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid which means the body creates it’s own source, but perhaps not to the levels that an athlete would require. There are certain food which naturally contain citrulline such as watermelon, but not in huge amounts.

Citrulline is converted into another amino acid called arginine in the kidneys after ingested via supplementation. Arginine is a potent nitric oxide (NO) booster and vasodilator, producing a greater amount of nitric oxide in the body means more blood and oxygen is available to working muscles in order to train harder for longer.

You may wonder why you wouldn’t cut out the middle-man and purchase arginine instead if that seems to be the amino acid which triggers this NO boosting affect. Well it turns out that supplementing with citrulline has been found to actually have a greater effect on arginine levels in your body than actually supplementing with arginine. This is due to the half-life and bioavailability of citrulline, it’s more readily available to be converted into arginine. You’ll find that a lot of pre-workout supplements contain both citrulline malate and a from of arginine. Citrulline also helps to reduce ammonia build up within skeletal muscle, this may help to reduce muscular fatigue.

Malate is a salt or ester of malic acid. Malate is a key enzyme in the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle and plays an important metabolic role in aerobic energy producing pathways. The TCA cycle is responsible for two thirds of the body’s energy through the use of fats and carbs in the diet. It then goes through a process which creates NADH2 which is a co-enzyme that produces ATP, the main energy source for muscle contraction. By keeping malate readily available the TCA cycle will run smoothly allowing muscles to have enough energy to keep moving.


Supplementation of between 6-8g of citrulline malate has been found to delay the onset of muscle fatigue. This means you can perform more reps/sets, by doing so you’re increasing volume and time under tension which is one way in which to progressively overload the muscle for muscle growth. As mentioned previously, due to its NO boosting capabilities, more oxygen is being delivered to muscle tissue, this has been found beneficial in sports which involve aerobic running and cycling. Apart from that, citrulline also gives you a big pump and temporarily increases vascularity which is an aesthetic plus when working out!

Citrulline malate is a great addition to add to your supplement list and can be stacked with creatine and beta-alanine for an increased pre-workout boost! These compounds are found in most pre-workout supplements. It’s beneficial to take citrulline malate around 30 minutes prior to a workout to feel the full effects!


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