How Citrulline Malate may help you grow more muscle

Posted by Dayne Hudson in Muscle Building

Estimated reading time: 5mins

How Citrulline Malate may help you grow more muscle | Bulk Nutrients blog

What is Citrulline Malate?

Citrulline Malate is a combination of dietary amino acid L-Citrulline (found in abundance in watermelon) and malate -- an organic salt of malic acid. And when you put them together some exciting things can happen!

Citrulline Malate works by increasing nitric oxide production, which in turn allows for more blood flow into muscles. This has been shown to increase their output and power; just what we're looking for when it comes to increasing our performance in the gym. Further research supports this; leg press performance was found to increase in both women and men -- who also reported a lesser rate of perceived effort.

Additional research has found an increase in time to exhaustion during exercise upon Citrulline Malate consumption. Another benefit of Citrulline Malate may be its ability to help muscle protein synthesis (and thus potentially, growth) in subjects that have a low protein intake. Research has found Citrulline Malate to have an anabolic action in healthy subjects on a 3-day low-protein intake. So, if meeting your protein numbers can become difficult, Citrulline Malate may just help you grow muscle despite this. 

Citrulline Malate: Can it help with muscle soreness?

One of the hypotheses and early findings was Citrulline Malate's potentially positive effects of muscle soreness. So further research was conducted in 2010 to discover the effect it had on decreasing muscle soreness after flat bench press, and on performance. 41 men did 2 consecutive chest sessions, totalling 8 sets per workout (16 sets in total). And the study was well set up -- a randomised, double blind, 2-period crossover design, meaning there was little room for error.

In one of the sessions, 8 grams of Citrulline Malate was used. A placebo was then used in the other. The researchers reported that when the subjects were taking Citrulline Malate, "the number of repetitions showed a significant increase." And this increase was positively correlated with the number of sets, achieving 52.92% more reps in the last set when Citrulline Malate was taken! The researchers added:

"A significant decrease of 40% in muscle soreness at 24 hours and 48 hours after the pectoral training session...was achieved with Citrulline Malate supplementation. The only side effect reported was a feeling of stomach discomfort in 14.63% of the subjects."

Citrulline Malate has shown to reduce muscle soreness.
Citrulline Malate has shown to reduce muscle soreness.

The researchers concluded that Citrulline Malate may just be useful when it comes to bolstering athletic performance "in high-intensity anaerobic exercises with short rest times and to relieve post-exercise muscle soreness." They suggest that athletes undergoing high-level training for an event may benefit from the supplement.

Does Citrulline Malate help you grow more muscle?

One study examined Citrulline Malate's effect on muscle growth and found it made a significant difference after 4 weeks compared with a placebo. But then after 8 weeks, it evened out.

Currently, the literature doesn't support Citrulline Malate as a supplement that DIRECTLY helps with muscle growth. However, more research (particularly, long term research) is needed. Given Citrulline Malate's favourable effects on muscle soreness and performance, it's not silly to suggest it might just have long term effects on muscle growth. 

Does Citrulline Malate help with muscle strength?

A meta-analysis was recently conducted to answer this question, and the outcome was favourable. Whilst these findings were into elite athletes, and only found a slight benefit -- the truth is we need all the help we can get when it comes to our gym performance!

Bulk nutrients Citrulline Malate: “Science: Citrulline Malate will help with muscle performance.”
Bulk nutrients Citrulline Malate: “Science: Citrulline Malate will help with muscle performance.”

The bottom line is, the effects of Citrulline Malate are favourable, with more flattering research likely to come to light. So how much of it do you need?

The research suggests you'll require 6-8 g of Citrulline Malate for optimal results. 

And we've got you covered with our Bulk Nutrients Citrulline Malate that boasts 6 grams per serve. You can get 41 serves for just $20.

It may only be a modest increase, but Citrulline Malate has been found to increase muscle strength.
It may only be a modest increase, but Citrulline Malate has been found to increase muscle strength.

It boils down to this: Citrulline Malate may just indirectly influence muscle growth long term, and it definitely helps with performance and muscle soreness.

Whilst more research is needed into more of its positive benefits, Citrulline Malate doesn't quite get the applause it deserves in gym circles currently. But science paints a clear picture: it can only help us. 

So, you might give it a try; let us know how it works for you!


Gonzalez AM, Trexler ET. Effects of Citrulline Supplementation on Exercise Performance in Humans: A Review of the Current Literature. J Strength Cond Res. 2020 May;34(5):1480-1495. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003426. PMID: 31977835.

  1. Glenn JM, Gray M, Wethington LN, Stone MS, Stewart RW Jr, Moyen NE. Acute citrulline malate supplementation improves upper- and lower-body submaximal weightlifting exercise performance in resistance-trained females. Eur J Nutr. 2017 Mar;56(2):775-784. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-1124-6. Epub 2015 Dec 11. PMID: 26658899. 
  2. Villareal MO, Matsukawa T, Isoda H. L-Citrulline Supplementation-Increased Skeletal Muscle PGC-1α Expression is Associated With Exercise Performance and Increased Skeletal Muscle Weight. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018 May 24;62(14):e1701043. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201701043. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 29797700; PMCID: PMC6099278. 
  3. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0. PMID: 20386132.

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