Nutrition, Top Story

What is Citrulline Malate?

Grant Dryden

Grant Dryden

This second part in our series on pre-workout supplements will cover the supplement Citrulline. If you haven’t already read our piece on Beta Alanine, you might want to check it out because it contains additional valuable information that we won’t cover in this article.

Citrulline has become nearly mandatory as an ingredient in all pre-workout supplements because it fights fatigue, enabling your workouts to last longer and produce less soreness.

What is Citrulline Malate and what does it do?

Citrulline is a non-essential alpha amino acid. This means that your body can manufacture it from the foods you eat (it is non-essential), and it is an organic compound (amino acid). It contains amine and carboxyl functional groups in its structure at the alpha-position from the carboxylate group.


When you ingest Citrulline, your body uses it in the mitochondria as part of the Urea cycle. The Urea cycle is a process that occurs mainly in your liver and converts highly toxic ammonia into a compound called urea which will then be secreted from your body. If ammonia is not removed from the body, it will hinder the body’s ability to produce energy that the muscles can use to function. This lack of energy causes fatigue. Studies suggest that Citrulline supplements will enable the body to more quickly flush out ammonia thereby reducing fatigue during intense exercises such as swimming.

The bottom line is that Citrulline helps your body flush out toxins preventing fatigue.

We’ve talked about Citrulline, what’s the Malate part?

Citrulline Malate is compound which will deliver Citrulline for metabolism. Other names for Citrulline include:

  • 2-amino-5-(carbamoylamino)pentanoic acid
  • Citrulline
  • Citrulline Malate
  • L-Citrulina
  • L-Citrulline AKG
  • L-Citrulline-Alpha Ketoglutaric Acid
  • L-Citrulline Malate
  • Malate de Citrulline

Specifically, Citrulline Malate is a salt or ester of malic acid. So, when you take it you get both Citrulline and malic acid. There are benefits to this since malic acid is used during the citric acid cycle (it helps to produce energy), but the primary goal is creating a mechanism through which to deliver Citrulline to your system. The expectation of using Citrulline Malate is for the Citrulline to reduce fatigue, and the Malate to produce energy.

When should I take it?

Citrulline is commonly taken 15-30 minutes before a workout in order to prep your muscles before exercise. After ingesting, your body will use this time to transport the substance to your muscles where it can be broken down. If you consistently use Citrulline over the course of 1-2 weeks, then clinical trials suggest that you will see a substantial increase in performance. Your muscles will get less tired and your recovery will be faster.

Optimal Dosage

Dosage depends on body size, but optimal dosages range between 6-8 grams per day. For reference, a 200lb person should be close to the 8 gram mark. I weigh 210 lbs and take 7.5 grams each morning (5:00am) before my workout.

Side Effects

There are no reported side effects associated with taking up to 10 grams of Citrulline.

Is it safe?

Yes, in recommended doses.

Citrulline can lower blood pressure because it dilates blood vessels, so taking over 10 grams is not recommended. This supplement has no known long-term dangers.

As always, it is safest to monitor yourself, discontinue use, and consult a doctor if your feel bad or notice a negative reaction after introducing it to your workout routine.

If you like what you’ve read and think this is the time to add Citrulline Malate to your diet, we highly recommend the Nutricost version. It’s inexpensive and high quality, there’s a lot of bang for your buck.

Nutricost L-Citrulline Malate (2:1) Powder (300 Grams)

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