Citrulline Malate Benefits and Side Effects

Citrulline Malate Benefits and Side Effects

One of the benefits that you can experience from taking a pre-workout supplement is great muscle pumps. Not only does this make you feel and look great, but the increased blood flow can promote muscle growth and endurance in the gym too.

But what can you take to boost muscle pumps during your workout? Citrulline Malate.

Citrulline has proven to deliver intense muscle pumps, as well as other benefits, in numerous scientific studies.

It’s one of the best ingredients you can find in a pre-workout supplement, and 100% natural; extracted from watermelons, melons, or apples.

After you’ve read this article, you’ll know:

  • What is citrulline malate?
  • What are the benefits of this nutrient?
  • The science behind it.
  • How much should you consume?
  • Are there any side effects?

What is Citrulline Malate?

Citrulline malate (C. Malate) is an amino acid that turns into L-Arginine in your kidneys after oral supplementation. L-Arginine is important in boosting your nitric oxide levels, which widens your blood vessels (vasodilation) and improves blood flow.

It’s name is derived from the Latin word for ‘watermelon’ – where this amino acid was first extracted from in 1914.

What does this do?

Increased blood flow results in you experiencing intense muscle pumps while you lift weights.

Why not take L-Arginine directly?

Well, L-Arginine has a poor absorption rate, meaning it won’t actually increase your nitric oxide levels.

On the other hand, citrulline malate has a great absorption rate, meaning its more effective in lower doses – and at improving your nitric oxide levels.

Therefore, citrulline malate is your best option. It’s proven to promote great muscle pumps in the gym.

The difference between L-Citrulline and C. Malate

If you’ve seen L-Citrulline on ingredient lists before, you’re probably wondering what the difference is between that and the malate version.

But the answer is simple: C. Malate is L-Citrulline with added Malic Acid.

This may not seem like a big change, but it makes a big difference – C. Malate comes with more benefits than L-Citrulline.

Why is C. Malate Better Than L-Citrulline?

We’ve established that L-Citrulline promotes muscle pumps while you lift weights. This is good.

So what does the added malic acid do?

Well, citrulline malate plays an important role in the way your body produces energy – what’s called the tricarboxlic cycle.

Basically, it more beneficial than L-Citrulline, as it helps boost your energy levels – as well as promoting intense muscle pumps in the gym.

Where is it sourced? 

Citrulline can be extracted from various different sources, including; melons, squashes, cucumbers and pumpkins.

But watermelons are the best source of the nutrient, where it’s found in its highest amount – it’s estimated that 3.3 kg of watermelon equals supplementing 1 kg of L-Arginine.

However, it would be too difficult to consume enough watermelon to experience it’s benefits (it’s optimal dose is 6,000 mg-8,000 mg, meaning you’d have to eat at least 19.8 kg of watermelon).

What are the benefits?

Citrulline malate’s main benefit is boosting your nitric oxide production. What does nitric oxide do?

Nitric oxide opens your blood vessels (vasodilation) and improves your blood flow – resulting in intense muscle pumps while you lift weights.

As well as making you feel and look great, muscle pumps promote muscle growth too.


Answer: As more blood is pumped through your body, your muscles are delivered more testosterone, growth hormone, amino acids and nutrients that promote growth.

But that’s not all. The increased blood flow you’ll experience by taking this nutrient also reduces your recovery time.

As your muscles are being delivered more oxygen-rich red blood cells, your body is able to decrease the build up of ammonia (a muscle by-product that inhibits growth).

This means you’ll be able to perform more reps per set, while your recovery time from each workout is reduced.

Benefits summed up:

  • Look good, feel good – as your muscles will expand, you’ll feel amazing due to having more blood pumped through into your muscles.
  • Citrulline malate improves nitric oxide production – this means your blood vessels will open up (vasodilation), resulting in increased blood flow and intense muscle pumps during your workout.
  • Promotes muscle gains – your muscles are delivered more testosterone, growth hormone, amino acids, and nutrients that fuel your muscles and promote growth.
  • Improves endurance and reduces recovery time – your muscles are delivered more oxygen-rich red blood cells, meaning your body will detox itself of muscle toxins that inhibit growth, such as Ammonia.

The Science Behind It

As Citrulline malate is a well researched nutrient, there have been numerous studies conducted on it. You’ll be glad to know that they back up the claims, proving that it does deliver its benefits.

Here are the studies that’ve shown it to be effective: 

Promotes Nitric Oxide Production

In a study by Sureda A et al [1] 17 participants were randomly given 6 g doses of the watermelon extract, or a placebo 2 hours before exercise. Blood samples were taken twice – 15 minutes and 3 hours after the race.

The levels of nitric oxide and optimization of protein cells were significantly improved in the participants that were given citrulline prior to exercise.

The results: 

  • Citrulline malate boosted nitric oxide levels – The participants that were given 6 g doses of citrulline prior to exercise experienced higher levels of nitric oxide.

Improved Endurance and Reduced Recovery Time

A study conducted by Perez-Guisado J et al [2] analyzed the anaerobic performance and level of muscle soreness of 40 participants. They were given either 8 g of C. malate or a placebo in a randomized order.

The study found that the participants who were given doses of the nutrient were able to perform more reps on their bench presses, as well as experiencing a 40% reduction in muscle soreness at 24 and 48 hours after their training sessions.

The results: 

  • Citrulline Malate significantly improved endurance and reduced recovery time – The participants who were given 8g doses saw improvements to their bench press, and reductions in muscle soreness 24 & 48 hours after their workouts.

The results of this test were replicated in other studies too – Hickner RC et al [3] and Bendahan D et al [4].

Increases Muscle Gains

In a study by Jourdan M et al [5], the muscle protein synthesis in 8 participants were analyzed. They were given doses of either citrulline, or a placebo.

Muscle protein synthesis was higher in the participants that were given doses of C. Malate therefore showing there is a direct link between the nutrient and increased muscle gains.

The results:  

  • Citrulline malate enhanced muscle gains – The muscle protein synthesis in the participants that ingested it was higher.

How Much Should You Consume?

To experience the full benefits of supplementing citrulline malate, we recommend taking the optimal amount – between 6,000 mg-8,000 mg.

4 Gauge contains 6,000 mg, which promotes:

  • Intense Muscle Pumps
  • Enhanced Endurance
  • Reduced Recovery Time
  • Increased Muscle growth

Are There Any Side Effects?

Citrulline malate is extremely safe, even in doses as high as 15 g.

However, like with any nutrient, there’s always the risk of potential side effects. If consumed in a dose higher than 15 g, you may experience diarrhea or intestinal upset.

We’ve made sure that 4 Gauge contains the optimal amount at 6,000mg – providing you with all the benefits, without any unwanted side effects.


Citrulline malate is a great ingredient to have in a pre workout supplement, as it’s shown to deliver intense muscle pumps, enhanced endurance, and reduce recovery time.

It works by turning into L-Arginine in your kidneys, raising nitric oxide levels, and leading to widened blood vessels  – it’s more effective than consuming L-Arginine directly, as it has a better absorption rate.

The optimal amount of C. Malate to consume is between 6,000 mg-8,000 mg, although you can take up to 15 g without experiencing any side effects.

For this reason, it’s one of the safest ingredients on the market.


  1. Sureda, A et al. L-citrulline-malate influence over branched chain amino acid utilization during exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010; 110(2): 341-51
  2. Perez-Guisado, J et al. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010; 24(5): 1215-22
  3. Hickner, RC et al. L-citrulline reduces time to exhaustion and insulin response to a graded exercise test. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006; 38(4): 660-6
  4. Bendahan, D et al. Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle. Br J Sports Med. 2002; 36(4): 282-9
  5. Jourdan, M et al. Citrulline stimulates muscle protein synthesis in the post-absorptive state in healthy people fed a low-protein diet – A pilot study. Clin Nutr. 2015; 34(3): 449-56

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