L-citrulline is one of three dietary amino acids in the urea cycle, in conjunction with L-arginine and L-ornithine. Our bodies are 20% protein, and amino acids are the building blocks of this protein. Our muscles, tissues, organs, and bones all contain a goodly amount of protein, and therefore amino acids, and these substances play an important role in many of our bodily functions, and L-arginine is an important player in this drama.
Meirion Jones, a well-known reporter for the BBC has reported that experts now believe that we can benefit from the addition of amino acid supplements to our diets, contrary to the thinking of previous years that more than sufficient amounts of these key elements are obtained by maintaining a healthy diet.
L-citrulline gets it name from the Latin word for watermelon, the fruit from which it was first isolated in 1914. This important amino acid is synthesized in the body by two other amino acids, arginine and ornithine. It is known to improve cardiovascular health by relaxing the arteries and blood vessels, allowing them to work better and thus improving blood flow throughout the body. It can, as well, improve sports performance by helping to reduce fatigue and increase endurance on both aerobic and anaerobic prolonged exercise. L-citrulline is also thought to enhance the body’s immune system.
Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis will develop antibodies to L-citrulline. While the reason for this is not currently known, the formation of such antibodies after ingesting citrulline is a potent diagnostic tool when dealing with the disease. And measuring the concentration of citrulline in the blood can serve as a measure of intestinal functionality. Animal research has shown that citrulline can, additionally, help in the treatment of some bowels dysfunctions such as short bowel syndrome, Celiac disease, and radiation caused damage to the small bowel. L-citrulline, in supplementary doses, will increase the amount of two other amino acids, arginine and ornithine, in plasma, which, in turn, improves the recycling of ammonia in the system. Due to its beneficial cardiovascular effects, it can be an effective treatment for cases of erectile dysfunction caused by high blood pressure.
L-citrulline is perceived to be the most beneficial of the three main amino acids of the urea cycle, primarily because it has proven to be an efficient way to increase levels of the other two amino acids, arginine and ornithine, in the plasma. Added to this is the fact that these other two amino acids seem to suffer a reduction in their absorption rate in the body when taken in dosages higher than 10 mg, often resulting in diarrhea. This is not true of citrulline.
A size of an effective supplemental dosage of L-citrulline will depend on the reason for which you require it. If your primary concern is circulatory health or erectile dysfunction, a dosage of 1000mg, taken three, times a day with meals is recommended, but the meal is not required. If you are taking a citrulline mallate, the dosage should be 1.76g for each gram of citrulline you would normally take. To enhance performance and endurance for sports or exercise the dose would be 6000g to 8000g, taken an hour before beginning.
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