The Effects of Supplemental Citrulline Malate on Arterial Elasticity, Aerobic Performance, Blood Pressure, and Heart Rate​


Most of the top selling pre-workout supplements contain citrulline malate and claim that it boosts Nitric Oxide production by dilating vessels and increasing blood flow. Citrulline-malate (CM) is known to reduce fatigue during exercise; however only a few research studies suggest this claim. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of supplemental citrulline malate on the body when exercising. METHODS: A total of 8 females (Mean ± STDEV age = 24.13 ± 3.5 years; height = 62.78 ± 3.24 in ; BMI = 25.5 ± 4.9) between the ages of 20 and 30 years participated in the study. The subjects performed two sessions of upper body exercise. Each testing session consisted of two sets of exercise, one on the ergometer arm cycle and the second a push-ups test. The first bout required the subject to cycle on the arm ergometer at full force for 30 seconds. After the first bout, the subject had a 5-minute resting period. Meanwhile the subject rested, descriptive measurements were measured again (BP, & HR). After the resting period, a second exercise was conducted by instructing the subject to do push ups until muscle fatigue occurred or when the subject was unable to maintain the proper push up technique for two consecutive push ups. Immediately after the second exercise, heart rate, blood pressure, arterial elasticity, and other hemodynamic variables were measured at 0, 15, and 30 minutes post. The same procedure was performed at least three days after the first testing session, and the exact same protocol was performed with either placebo or citrulline malate depending on the first session. RESULTS: A trend was seen for the condition main effect for diastolic blood pressure (p=. 051). However, no significant condition*time interaction, condition main effect, or time main effect was observed for systolic blood pressure, heart rate, small arterial elasticity, large arterial elasticity, systemic vascular resistance, vascular impedance, pushups, and distance covered (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION: Citrulline malate supplementation prior to exercise did not demonstrate a significant improvement in blood pressure, heart rate, arterial elasticity, systemic vascular resistance, vascular impedance, pushup count, and distance traveled. This may be due to the low volume of exercise conducted in our workout protocol, thus, producing minimal muscle pump. However, Citrulline Malate did cause a notable trend in the decrease of diastolic blood pressure. This trend may signify a decrease in blood presssure with further research.

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