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What is L-Citrulline Malate?
Sep 29, 2011 | By Stephen Christensen
L-citrulline helps your cells eliminate waste products, and it enhances the production of nitric oxide
Amino acids are nitrogen-containing molecules used by your cells to perform a wide variety of tasks. Their most prominent role is in the manufacture of proteins, which serve as structural elements, enzymes, transport and storage molecules, antibodies and hormones. L-citrulline helps your cells eliminate waste products, and it enhances the production of nitric oxide, a gas that is involved in many physiologic processes. L-citrulline malate is a supplemental form of this important amino acid.
Essential Versus Non-Essential
Your body uses 22 naturally occurring amino acids to accomplish its myriad metabolic tasks. Ten of these amino acids cannot be synthesized in your cells and must be acquired from your diet. The remainder can be manufactured from other compounds in healthy, well-nourished adults. According to Elson Haas, M.D., author of “Staying Healthy with Nutrition – The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine,” your cells make L-citrulline by combining L-ornithine, another amino acid, with ammonia and carbon dioxide. Most people make enough L-citrulline for their needs, but athletes and others may benefit from supplementation.
L-citrulline plays a pivotal role in removing ammonia from your tissues
Cellular metabolism normally generates waste products that must be eliminated from your body. The breakdown of proteins creates toxic ammonia, which must be converted to a nontoxic, water-soluble compound called urea so it can be transported through your bloodstream and eliminated through your kidneys. As part of the urea cycle, L-citrulline plays a pivotal role in removing ammonia from your tissues. In 2011, scientists at Japan’s University of Tsukuba showed that supplementation with L-citrulline improved endurance in exercised laboratory animals. In contrast, supplementation with L-arginine and L-ornithine, two other components of the urea cycle, does not improve endurance.
L-arginine and L-citrulline are chemically related amino acids, and they are frequently converted back and forth in your cells. However, the conversion from L-arginine to L-citrulline requires a different metabolic pathway than the conversion from L-citrulline to L-arginine. The conversion of citrulline to arginine utilizes a pathway that first produces ornithine. The arginine-to-citrulline conversion is more direct and produces a molecule of nitric oxide. One of nitric oxide’s many effects is to dilate your arteries, which improves blood flow to exercising muscles. It is believed that supplementation with L-citrulline increases arginine synthesis, which in turn enhances nitric oxide production.
Supplementation with L-citrulline malate could improve exercise performance
Supplementation with L-citrulline malate could improve exercise performance through two mechanisms. By facilitating removal of ammonia from exercising muscles, citrulline enhances cellular metabolism, improves energy production and extends exercise times. By increasing nitric oxide production, citrulline improves blood flow, which not only delivers more oxygen and nutrients to metabolically active tissues, but also hastens the removal of waste products. The optimal dosage of L-citrulline malate for exercise enhancement has not been determined, but daily doses of 3 to 6 grams have been used in human studies. If you have a medical condition, ask your doctor if you should take amino acid supplements.
• “Staying Healthy with Nutrition – The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicine: Citrulline”; Elson M. Haas, M.D.; 2006
• “Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology”; Effects of Citrulline Supplementation on Fatigue and Exercise Performance in Mice; K. Takeda, et al.; 2011
• “European Journal of Applied Physiology”; L-Citrulline Malate Influence over Branched Chain Amino Acid Utilization during Exercise; A. Sureda, et al.; September 2010
Article reviewed by Tina Boyle Last updated on: Sep 29, 2011
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/545080-what-is-l-citrulline-malate/#ixzz2CSLuYCZh
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