Bodybuilding isn't just about increasing muscle mass, it's also about improving your body's overall shape. If you follow an intensive training plan combined with an optimized diet, your muscle fibers should be 'repaired' on an ongoing basis after they are damaged. Unfortunately, muscle soreness often leads to a reduction in strength and endurance, and thus to a forced reduction of training intensity. However, there is a supplement that can help in post-workout regeneration even in the case of extremely exhausting exercise. The substance is called Citrulline.
What is L-Citrulline
Citrulline is a non-protein amino acid that is widely used in sports and medicine. It is one of three amino acids (along with ornithine and arginine) that take an active part in the urea Krebs cycle.
The use of citrulline alone does not have a direct effect on the muscle building process. It should be noted, however, that supplementation with this substance supports the quality of workout routines, and thus indirectly improves your shape.
How L-Citrulline works
As an element involved in the Krebs cycle, citrulline helps transform harmful ammonia into urea. In its practical form, citrulline leads to a reduction in muscle soreness and fatigue. Through the production of arginine, nitric oxide (NO) is formed as a result of these metabolic changes.
In turn, NO affects muscle hypertrophy commonly known as 'muscle pump', which intensifies blood flow in muscles. This improves metabolic efficiency and post-workout regeneration processes.
The phenomenon of the muscle pump itself is based on the fact that during exercise the secretion of nitric oxide is stimulated via neurons and nerves. The production of this substance results in relaxation of the muscles lining blood vessels. This leads ultimately to the increased synthesis of a guanylyl cyclase which ultimately forms the molecule cGMP. This molecule causes an even greater relaxation of the muscles lining the blood vessels and thus - even greater blood circulation in muscles. Blood transports all necessary nutrients to each tissue, so improving blood flow to muscles leads to an increased supply of all needed substances.
In addition, supplementing citrulline also leads to an increase in growth hormone levels after training.
Despite the lack of known side effects, there are contraindications for the use of citrulline, which may affect specific groups of people.
Supplementation is not advisable for people who have any cardiovascular problems or gastrointestinal dysfunctions. This is due to the mechanism of citrulline actions, which may increase the intensity of hypertension symptoms. Increasing the metabolism rate in the body in the case of digestive tract diseases can lead to an exacerbation of the symptoms associated with these diseases.
However, if we decide to supplement with citrulline, despite previously mentioned issues, it is advisable to visit a doctor or dietician beforehand.