What is L-Citrulline?

what is l-citrulline

First and foremost, L-Citrulline is similar to a few over the other ingredients that we talk about when it comes to supplementation.  As a non-essential amino acid, your body doesn’t actually require L-Citrulline to survive.  In fact, the L-Citrulline doesn’t do anything for you at all, really.  When we supplement with L-Citrulline, we are actually trying to increase the levels of arginine in our system.  We’ll get to more about how that happens in a second.  Before you go any further, you should review what the benefits of L-Citrulline supplementation are, the correct dosage for whatever your goals may be, and maybe some workouts that will maximize the effects of your supplementation.  Only then can you fully appreciate what L-Citrulline is and what it is used for.

Use L-Citrulline to Increase Arginine Levels

Apart from the fact that arginine is a little easier to say than L-Citrulline, it’s also one of the most underrated bits to muscle gains among bodybuilders.  Only those who are serious about the supplements and stacks needed to gain muscle mass are aware of its full potential.  Arginine is an essential amino acid, meaning that your body needs it to function.  It facilitates the breakdown of proteins.

Perhaps you’re starting to understand why arginine is so beneficial for body builders.  Proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass.  Not only will protein provide you with the energy needed to get through intense workouts, but it will allow muscles to have faster and healthier recoveries post workout.  The better a recovery period, the better a workout will be the next time around.

Your kidneys are some magical organs.  They can break down complex molecules so that your body can redirect the individual pieces to maximize benefits.  Since arginine is a key piece of L-Citrulline, increasing the L-Citrulline levels in your supplementation will increase the arginine levels in your body, leading to impressive muscle strength gains [1]!

So Why is L-Citrulline Made?

You may have already been asking yourself, “If arginine is what we really want, why not just supplement with that?”  You totally can!  If that’s the route you wish to go, feel free and purchase yourself some extra arginine supplement.  You’ll be missing out, but you can definitely do that.

That got your attention, eh?  Yes, you’ll be missing out on additional benefits.  The L-Citrulline supplements out on market are manufactured using arginine as an ingredient, sure.  But that obviously isn’t the only ingredient!  Most L-Citrulline enhancements carry nitric oxide boosters [2]We’ve talked about them before.  The boosters will work hand in hand with the arginine and many other supplements to give you more powerful pumps in the weight room.  Fighting off lactic acid build-up in your muscles will keep fatigue away and allow you to increase your rep count, leading to larger gains!

If you go out and try to compare booster prices plus arginine prices versus the price of a simple L-Citrulline solution, you’re going to understand why L-Citrulline supplements are a thing.  It’s going to save you some money to get the same results you would if you were to go out and purchase the supplements separately.


  1. Fricke O1, Baecker N, Heer M, Tutlewski B, Schoenau E.
    The effect of L-arginine administration on muscle force and power in postmenopausal women.
    Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2008 Sep;28(5):307-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-097X.2008.00809.x. Epub 2008 May 28.
  2. Joaquin U. Gonzales, Andrea Raymond, John Ashley, and Youngdeok Kim
    Does L-citrulline supplementation improve exercise blood flow in older adults?
    Exp Physiol. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2018 Jun 13.
    Published in final edited form as:
    Exp Physiol. 2017 Dec 1; 102(12): 1661–1671.
    Published online 2017 Oct 13. doi: 10.1113/EP086587
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