Citrulline is an amino acid that is found in foods such as watermelon, cucumbers, and pumpkins. It is also available as a supplement. Here are eight potential health benefits of citrulline, along with sources of the amino acid:
- Improves exercise performance: Citrulline supplementation has been shown to increase exercise performance by reducing fatigue and enhancing energy production. Citrulline is also thought to increase blood flow to the muscles, which can improve recovery after exercise. (Source: Pérez-Guisado et al., 2010)
- Reduces muscle soreness: Citrulline supplementation has been shown to reduce muscle soreness after exercise. This may be due to citrulline’s ability to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles. (Source: Suzuki et al., 2016)
- Improves erectile dysfunction: Citrulline supplementation has been shown to improve erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis. This may be due to citrulline’s ability to increase nitric oxide production in the body. (Source: Cormio et al., 2011)
- Lowers blood pressure: Citrulline supplementation has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. This may be due to citrulline’s ability to increase nitric oxide production, which can relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. (Source: Figueroa et al., 2010)
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease: Citrulline supplementation may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood flow, reducing blood pressure, and decreasing inflammation in the body. (Source: Ochiai et al., 2012)
- Improves immune function: Citrulline may help improve immune function by increasing arginine levels in the body. Arginine is an amino acid that is necessary for the production of immune cells. (Source: Dhanakoti et al., 1990)
- May improve cognitive function: Citrulline supplementation may improve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease. This may be due to citrulline’s ability to increase blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain. (Source: Kotwal et al., 2015)
- May improve wound healing: Citrulline may improve wound healing by increasing blood flow and promoting the production of collagen, a protein that is necessary for the healing process. (Source: Wu et al., 2013)
Sources of citrulline include watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins, and some other fruits and vegetables. Citrulline is also available as a supplement.
Cormio, L., De Siati, M., Lorusso, F., Selvaggio, O., Mirabella, L., Sanguedolce, F., … & Carrieri, G. (2011). Oral citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction. Urology, 77(1), 119-122.
Dhanakoti, S. N., Brosnan, J. T., Herzberg, G. R., & Brosnan, M. E. (1990). Renal arginine synthesis: studies in vitro and in vivo. American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology, 259(3), F404-F411.
Figueroa, A., Wong, A., Jaime, S. J., & Gonzales, J. U. (2010). Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, 13(6), 651-656.
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