L-Citrulline is what we call a non-essential amino acid. Non-essential because the body can produce this amino acid on its own. However, we can increase levels of L-Citrulline in the body through the consumption of foods and/or supplements containing L-Citrulline. Compared to most other amino acids, L-Citrulline is a non-protein amino acid meaning it is not involved in building proteins. It was first discovered and isolated from the juice of watermelon which, still to this day, are a fantastic natural source of L-Citrulline.
L-Citrulline is commonly known for one benefit which is increased vasodilation. This is due to the conversion of L-Citrulline after it has been consumed. In the body, L-Citrulline is converted into the amino acid Arginine; Arginine is then converted into the molecule Nitric Oxide (NO). Nitric Oxide causes vasodilation which is the widening and relaxing of blood vessels to allow more blood to flow at a higher rate. This increased blood flow holds a number of benefits within the body.
Improved performance & endurance
The increased vasodilation from consuming L-Citrulline can have a dramatic impact on physical performance. Increased vasodilation results in increased blood flow around the body and more importantly, to the working muscles. This increased blood flow then allows for increased nutrient delivery as well as increased oxygen delivery through the blood to those working muscles. Put all of that together and not only are you opening up the fuel line to your muscles but you've gone from using unleaded 91 octane to now using rocket fuel!
Numerous studies have shown improvements in performance, both with strength and endurance, when nitric oxide levels & vasodilation have been increased. Even though L-Citrulline is converted into Arginine and then that is converted into nitric oxide in the body, L-Citrulline is a better option to supplement with when compared to Arginine due to the absorption processes.
Reduced blood pressure
Studies have seen that supplementation with L-Citrulline can reduce blood pressure levels in people with high blood pressure. Furthermore, they also saw a reduction in blood pressure levels in people with normal blood pressure. Results of up to a 16% drop in blood pressure levels were seen after only 7 days of supplementation with L-Citrulline. Due to not all studies being conclusive with similar results, we can only assume this reduction in blood pressure is related to the increased vasodilation widening and relaxing blood vessels in the body.
Removal of harmful compounds
Both L-Citrulline and Arginine are among the amino acids that play a vital role in the Urea Cycle in the body. The Urea Cycle is responsible for the conversion of highly toxic ammonia to urea to then be excreted. Once converted, the urea is excreted through our urine.
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