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Look at most popular pre-workout supplements and you’ll find they have several ingredients common.

L-citrulline is one of them.

Its name comes from citrullus, the Latin word for watermelon, which is a natural source of it. Other food sources include peanuts, soybeans, and kidney beans.

Most supplements aren’t all that special and can’t live up to the hype, but, as you’ll see, L-citrulline is one of the proven winners.

And in this podcast, we’re going to answer all your questions:

  • What is L-citrulline?
  • What are its benefits and side effects?
  • How much do you have to take to see results?
  • What’s the best way to supplement with it?
  • And more…

Let’s start at the top.

Time Stamps:

9:57 – How did citrulline get its name?
10:27 – What is l-citrulline?
11:40 – Why do people supplement with l-citrulline?
14:09 – What are the benefits of supplementing with l-citrulline?
19:24 – How much l-citrulline do I need to take to get the benefits?
23:24 – How do I get l-citrulline?

Mentioned on The Show:

Shop Legion Supplements Here

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Hello, hello, welcome to Muscle for Life, a new episode. I’m Mike Matthews and I am corona free as of Monday, March 16th. Where’s some wood? There we go. And I hope you are too, and I hope it remains that way. And it probably will. We will probably be okay if we follow the simple recommendations of staying calm, but taking reasonable precautions, including social distancing, washing our hands frequently, avoiding touching our eyes, nose, and mouth, practicing good respiratory hygiene.

So, you know, covering your mouth and… your nose with a bent elbow or a tissue if you cough or if you sneeze and then throwing the tissue away right away and seeking medical care early in the case of fever, cough or difficulty breathing. And one other little bit of housekeeping before we get to the topic at hand, which is L citrulline.

That’s what we’re going to be talking about mostly in today’s episode. I want to Talk quickly about an email that I sent out last Friday announcing Legion’s new product, which is an immune support product. Timing is funny, I know, and I made a joke about the timing in the email. And, you know, every so often I get the opportunity to look back on something that I’ve said or done and go…

Wow. Dumb. Well, this is one of those moments. You see, I sent out that email Friday about this new product called Immune, and it was, uh, tone deaf, I think is a good word. You know, it was exactly the type of email that I am wont to write. It was freewheeling and flippant, and that was exactly the problem.

given the gravity of the global situation. And so, while many people liked the email, and thought the copy was funny, some people were rubbed the wrong way, and it went against the grain for them. And I understand. You know, to them, it looked like maybe I was making light of the pandemic in general, and the people who are suffering and dying.

And what’s more, because the email was to promote a new product that supports immune function, it also looked kind of like a shameless, shameful attempt to maybe cash in on the crisis. And I do understand those reactions. There weren’t many, but there were a few. And especially from people who have recently entered my orbit and don’t really know me and don’t know if they should trust me or not.

So this is a mea culpa. Now, this type of optic gaffe is obvious in hindsight now that I look back on it, but it wasn’t just a few days ago before I hit the send button on that email because I was only looking at the situation. through my eyes, which don’t see an approaching Armageddon. Now, I also spend very little time on social media, I don’t watch the news, and I’m mostly surrounded by people who feel the same as I do.

And, so, I just didn’t realize how worried many people are about what’s happening. Now, if I would have had the whole picture last week, my email would have been very different. It’s also worth quickly clarifying a few things based on the discussions that I’ve had with some of my followers over the last few days.

So one, this product is called Immune has actually been nine months in the making and it was delayed by my manufacturer for two months. So the timing here is complete coincidence, not an attempt to wring a few bucks out of a Global crisis to the financial implications of this product launch are completely irrelevant to the business.

I mean, I have a couple thousand bottles of immune and I sell over 50, 000 bottles of product. It barely even registers, honestly. Three, I really do believe releasing immune now is better than after COVID 19 has passed, because it may help some people not get infected and recover faster if they do. Now, that is pure speculation, of course, but I do think it’s a Reasonable statement given the evidence of the effectiveness of the ingredients with other viral infections.

And if you want to read for yourself how it works and if you want to look at that evidence, just go over to legionapproducts. com and go to our store, click on immune, and then go down to the FAQ all the way at the bottom of the product page and you’ll see The first question is something along the lines of, will immune help me fight C Ovid 19?

And I explain why I and others on my scientific advisory board, not just me, why we believe that it may help. It’s not a cure, it is not guaranteed to prevent anything from happening at all. But given what we know about how some of these ingredients have worked with other viruses, they may help with c Ovid 19.

as well. Furthermore, let’s not forget that there are many other obnoxious bugs out there that are going around, aside from COVID 19, and the ingredients in Immune have been proven effective against many of those. That’s the reason we made the product in the first place. Fourth, and finally, I didn’t realize that the term immune booster is, is really stigmatized, whereas immune support is more acceptable.

Now what’s funny about this is that’s the case regardless of whether something boosts the immune system or not. So for instance, the available evidence suggests that eating a clove or two of raw garlic every day will literally… boost your immune system. I’m talking about the dictionary definition to help improve, or help increase, or help enhance.

But some experts would vehemently deny this, and they would insist that garlic can only assist or support the immune system. Now, why is this? I think the primary reason is the immune boosting well has been poisoned by scammers who are selling vitamin C and lysine pills. Selling stuff that isn’t going to do much of anything, not to mention what they’re claiming.

And so anything that claims to boost the immune system is automatically discarded as fake news. Kind of like detoxing, right? Semantics. Semantics are fun. So, anyway, I just wanted to get this message out there on the podcast for anyone who saw the email and maybe didn’t like it. Not enough to reply to me, but at least thought that it was in poor taste, I do understand.

And I actually sent a follow up email explaining what I’ve just explained here. But again, email can be finicky. Sometimes emails make it through filters. Sometimes they don’t. All right, that is it for immune and COVID 19. And one other COVID 19 thing that is a bit of good news is over at Legion Athletics blog.

This week, I’m going to say probably Wednesday or Thursday. Friday, we are going to be publishing an in depth article on working out from home, and it’s going to talk about bodyweight exercises that we can do, um, stuff we can do with dumbbells and kettlebells and bands, because of course, many gyms are closed and many more are closing, and it also is probably smart to not go to the gym right now, even if your gym is open, but we don’t want to stop working out.

Well, we don’t have to. And we actually can get some pretty good workouts in just using our body and using kettlebells and dumbbells and bands as well if we have them available. So again, that’ll be coming this week over at Legion’s blog and by the time this goes up, it may already be live. But I have to see exactly when we’re going to be publishing this episode.

Again, it’s uh, Monday, March 16th now. And I think by Wednesday or Friday, the article will go live and I’ll probably do a podcast on it as well, just to get the information out there more broadly. All right, let’s shift gears, shall we, and talk supplementation. Let’s talk about L citrulline, which is one of the most popular ingredients in pre workout supplements these days.

And I like to think that I and everyone here at Legion had something to do with that, because back when I started the company in 2014 and launched with a couple products, including our pre workout. Pulse, it had and still has eight grams of citrulline malate per serving, and at the time that was very unique.

One, you didn’t find citrulline malate in too many pre workouts at the time, and two, you definitely did not find it in that dose, which is the proper dose. You might find two grams per serving. But definitely not eight. I think the most I remember seeing back then was four grams per serving. And so if you wanted to get more, you had to take more than one serving per session, which also meant getting a lot more caffeine than I wanted, at least.

And these days, though, again, you see citrulline. in a lot of pre workouts. It still is often under dosed, but you do see some 6 grams per serving doses out there, which is not bad. 8 grams is a bit better, which is why I use 8 grams. But anyway, as citrulline is getting more and more popular and more and more people are hearing about it and wondering how effective it really is and how much you should be taking.

I thought it would make sense to record an episode on this individual ingredient, kind of like what I did with Beta alanine a couple months ago. And I get asked about supplementation quite often, and I own a supplement company, but I don’t produce much podcast content on supplementation, ironically. So I think it would make sense to produce a bit more content on supplementation, particularly a bit more podcast content.

I’ve written a lot more about supplementation than I have recorded. All right, citrulline. Let’s start with the name. Why citrulline? Well, it comes from the Latin word for watermelon, citrullus, and that’s because that’s the natural source of citrulline. There are other food sources, though, that include peanuts, soybeans, and kidney beans.

And… While most supplements are not very special, can’t live up to the hype, L citrulline is one of the proven winners that is the weight of the evidence currently, and that’s what we’re talking about in this podcast, so let’s start with what it’s about. is it? L citrulline is a non essential amino acid, and that means that you don’t necessarily have to get it from foods because your body can produce it as needed, at least as far as general health goes, in general function.

And essential amino acids, on the other hand, must be obtained from your diet because the body doesn’t have any way to synthesize them to produce them. And in case you’re wondering, Why the L on the front of it that just refers to the structure of the amino acid and it denotes that it can be used to create proteins.

There’s another type of amino acid which is the D form D with a little hyphen and those types of amino acids are found in cells but not in proteins. Now physiologically speaking L citrulline plays a vital role in the urea Cycle, which is the process whereby your body eliminates toxic byproducts of digesting protein and generating cellular energy.

And in case you’re wondering, it’s called the urea cycle because the waste products are converted into a substance called urea, which is then expelled from the body through urine and sweat. Now, why do people supplement with L citrulline? Why is it popular? Well, the main reasons why people supplement with it are improving heart health, blood flow, and endurance, and boosting muscle growth and post workout recovery.

Now, this is why L citrulline is particularly popular among athletes of all types, not just weightlifters. And it’s also often chosen over another well known molecule that is involved in the urea cycle, L arginine. Now this too is a very popular supplement. Less popular now that L citrulline has gotten more and more attention and there’s a good reason for that.

You see L arginine is often sold as a nitric oxide booster. That’s probably what you know it as if you have heard of it and I remember first hearing about it all the way back. Oh, this was a while ago. Remember that supplement NO2? It was sold as a muscle growth and pump enhancer. And the main ingredient, if not the only ingredient, I don’t remember exactly, but the main ingredient was a form of arginine.

Now the problem with arginine is research shows that it can work, it can raise nitric oxide levels, but it’s also very unreliable. So studies have shown that it works for some people and then doesn’t work at all for others. And that means that really the best that can be said about arginine is if you take enough, six to ten grams or so, it may or may not help you get more out of your workouts.

And if you’re not familiar with Nitric oxide, by the way, it’s just a gas that’s produced by the body that widens blood vessels and improves blood flow, and that can enhance workout performance and lumps. Now, this little fact about arginine explains why most nitric oxide supplements are very hit and miss, and they always have been.

Some people experience a big increase in pump and noticeably better workouts and some people notice absolutely nothing. Now L citrulline is interesting because research shows that it is absorbed better than L arginine and it turns into it in the body and that process actually results in larger and longer elevations of arginine levels in the blood than supplementation with L arginine itself.

L citrulline also elevates plasma blood levels of another amino acid called ornithine which is also involved in the urea cycle. So let’s get into some of these specific benefits that you can get from supplementing with L citrulline. So one is it does improve physical performance. So research shows that supplementing with L citrulline can improve both your resistance and your endurance training, which is pretty neat.

So for example, in one study that was conducted with resistance trained men, supplementing with eight grams of L citrulline before their chest workouts increased the number of reps they could do by 52 percent on average, and it also significantly decreased post workout muscle soreness. And in another study, 6 grams of L citrulline per day increased cellular energy production during exercise by 34 percent on average.

And that, of course, increases your capacity for physical output and intensity. It’s on you to do it, but you’ll have more in the tank. You’ll have more. to give to your workouts. Alright, another proven benefit of L Citrulline has to do with heart health because of the effects that it has on blood flow. So, your arteries are the blood vessels that convey oxygenated blood throughout the body.

and they naturally contract and expand to control blood pressure and it’s vital that they retain their ability to do this because if they get too stiff and rigid or even worse if they get blocked that’s how you can have a heart attack or a stroke. Now as nitric oxide plays a key role in maintaining arterial health and function anything that boosts NO levels can help.

keep our arteries working the way that they should. And so, studies show that L citrulline can do just that. Because it does raise nitric oxide levels, it also can help keep our arteries functioning properly. Furthermore, L citrulline has also been shown to reduce blood pressure, which is another key factor in overall heart health.

Moving down the list to the next benefit, ED. Yes, L citrulline can help with boners because it can influence blood flow. So research shows that yes, it can give guys harder hard ons, the technical term. Now, it’s not going to be as effective as ED drugs, but it also has none of the potential side effects.

It’s simply an amino acid. And even if you don’t have ED, what many men report is harder erections when they are taking L citrulline every day. Another benefit of L citrulline is it reduces free radical damage in the body. Now, what does that mean exactly? Well, free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms that can cause damage to cells in the body through various chemical reactions.

And that may sound wholly bad. But it’s not actually free radicals are essential components of certain basic physiological processes that are necessary for us to stay alive. However, having excessive amounts of free radicals is associated with aging and age dependent diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disorders.

and other chronic conditions. Now everyday living inevitably results in the production of free radicals and intense exercise spikes production as well because it places the body under a lot of stress and L citrulline can help with this because studies show that it helps your body better deal with the exercise induced uptick in free radical production by priming immune cells and reducing the number of free radicals that are produced while we are working out.

Hey, before we continue, if you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, if you want to help me help more people get into the best shape of their lives, please do consider picking up one of my best selling health and fitness books. My most popular ones are Bigger, Leaner, Stronger for Men, Thinner, Leaner, Stronger for Women, my flexible dieting cookbook, The Shredded Chef.

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Audible, iTunes, Kobo, and Google Play, as well as in select Barnes Noble stores. So again, that is Bigger Leaner Stronger for Men, Thinner Leaner Stronger for Women, The Shredded Chef, and The Little Black Book of Workout Motivation. Oh, and one other thing is, you can get any one of those audiobooks 100 percent free when you sign up.

for an audible account. And that’s a great way to make those pockets of downtime, like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. Now, if you want to take audible up on that offer and get one of my audio books for free, just go to legionathletics. com slash audible and sign up for your account.

Now let’s talk about dosing. How much do you have to take to get those benefits? And the first thing you need to understand here is there are two widely available forms that you can choose from L citrulline and citrulline malate. And the only difference between them is citrulline malate is L citrulline combined with malic acid, which is a natural substance found in many fruits that’s involved in the creation of cellular energy in the body.

Now there isn’t Much human research available on the potential benefits of supplementing with malic acid, but it has been shown to improve endurance in the animal model. And there’s also evidence that when it’s combined with magnesium, it can help treat fibromyalgia and it may also offer cardiovascular benefits as well.

But again, we need more high quality human research to know if it is indeed worth supplementing with. Now that said, I myself prefer and I recommend citrulline malate over L citrulline because I do think it’s likely that malic acid confers additional health and performance benefits on top of what L citrulline has to offer.

Again, the evidence isn’t there yet, but there is good preliminary evidence. And citrulline malate is also the form that has been used in most studies demonstrating the performance benefits associated with L citrulline. And I like to use exactly what’s used in the research because again, the malic acid may be contributing to the effects seen.

There’s also no downside to citrulline malate. It’s just likely superior to L citrulline, at least for the purpose of having better workouts. And that’s the main reason why I’m using it every day. And I’m not going to lie, the BDE effect is kind of cool. It makes you feel like a true alpha male. Anyway, for the dosing, if you’re going to be taking citrulline whether it’s L citrulline or citrulline malate for non exercise related benefits go with three grams of L citrulline or five to six grams of citrulline malate per day and if you want to take it to improve exercise performance then you want to take three to five grams of L citrulline or six to eight grams of citrulline malate per day and the reason why you need to take more if you are taking citrulline malate is it also has the malic acid and there are different forms out there that have different ratios.

Like for example, some citrulline malates have a 1 to 1 ratio, so if you take 8 grams, you’re getting 4 grams of L citrulline and 4 grams of malic acid. And then you can also get a 2 to 1 citrulline malate, which is 2 parts L citrulline and 1 part malic acid, which is what I prefer, because we are trying to supplement with L citrulline after all, not malic acid.

And it’s also the standard form used in most of the research demonstrating most of the benefits and you could get the same benefits from a one to one, but you would have to then increase the dosing accordingly because eight grams of a two to one is not the same as a eight grams of a one to one. All right.

So let’s say you start taking six or eight grams of a two to one citrulline malate every day. What can you expect from that? You can expect improved circulation. You can expect bigger pumps in the gym. You can expect a bit more muscle endurance in your workouts and probably a bit more energy soreness

after workouts as well. Side effects. Are there any side effects? The great news is there have been no reported side effects of supplementing with L citrulline since it was discovered all the way back in 1930. And even at high doses. That said, it is known to interact adversely with certain medications, including nitrates and drugs for erectile dysfunction.

So if you are on either of those types of medications, make sure to check with your doctor first. And do the same if you’re pregnant. pregnant or breastfeeding or have any other reason to wonder is this for me because of some medical condition. All right, now let’s talk about actually getting the L citrulline, the supplements themselves.

Now as I’ve said a number of times, as you probably know and have seen, it’s often found in pre workout supplements. Now you know why. And so when you are evaluating a pre workout, keep in mind that if it contains less than six grams of citrulline malate per serving and only calls for one serving per day, it is underdosed.

Don’t buy it. You want to see six to eight grams per serving and the closer to eight grams, the better. Again, my pre workout pulse has eight grams per serving and you want to see a two to one citrulline malate. That’s important. Not a one to one. You also want to stay away from proprietary blends. Which would happen naturally if you’re trying to look into how much citrulline malate is in each serving, because you wouldn’t know.

Now, if you’re not familiar with a proprietary blend, it’s simply a collection of ingredients. And because of labeling laws, the supplement company doesn’t have to tell you. how much of each ingredient is in this blend, in this collection. It just has to tell you the weight of the overall blend. So you might have a muscle pump matrix that weighs, let’s say 15 grams that has 15 grams of actives in it.

And then you look at the actives and L citrulline or citrulline malate may be on the list along with other ingredients, but what you won’t see is how much. You only know how much the blend weighs. You don’t know how much they’ve put of each ingredient. And this is simply a way for supplement companies to hide.

They’re underdosing from you. There is no proprietary information behind these formulations or trade secrets. The research on any and all of the ingredients in any of these products is publicly available. So if I were to see Some ingredient that I wasn’t familiar with and I wanted to know if it’s a good ingredient or not and it is in a proprietary blend.

All I have to do is go look at the research on the ingredient. I don’t need to know what their dosing is. I can go look at the research myself and if I want to use the ingredient, I can just go with the dose in the research, the clinically effective dose. And one other. little thing that you should know about the proprietary blend is the ingredients are in the order of most to least so if a blend weighs Let’s say 15 grams and has five ingredients many people assume that it is is 3 grams per ingredient, but that’s not necessarily the case.

It could have 14 grams of the first ingredient and then it could have 250 milligrams of the remaining four ingredients for a total of 15 grams. And that’s important because often what you will find with proprietary blends is the first ingredient or two or three in these blends are cheap. And sometimes these blends have 10 or 15 ingredients because it makes for an impressive label.

You look at that blend and you think there’s all this stuff in it, but really what it is, is it’s 80 to 90 percent of the first couple ingredients out of, let’s say 10, and there are tiny amounts pixie dusted in of everything else simply so they can put them on the label. That is the proprietary blend game.

Any supplement company using proprietary blends is only using it for that reason. They’re trying to hide the dosing. Okay, so getting back on track here. with our citrulline discussion. You can get it in a pre workout. I recommend mine, of course, Pulse, or you can buy it in bulk like on Amazon from, I think, what is it?

Bulk supplements or bulk powders or something like that. You can get citrulline malate and you can just measure out 8 grams per day. It doesn’t taste very good though, I’m going to warn you. And you may be able to find pills too. I’m not sure. I haven’t looked in a while if there are citrulline pills.

Mostly what I’ve seen are powders. So the bottom line here is L citrulline is one of the more popular workout performance and Pre workout ingredients these days and for good reason. Studies clearly show that it can help you have better workouts. It can help you recover faster, at least reduce muscle soreness so you can train a bit more frequently or get in a bit more weekly volume.

And it can also support your heart health and it can make your dick work better. So I do recommend it. Six to eight grams of citrulline malate per day, two to one ratio citrulline to malic acid and you’re off to the races. All right, well, that’s it for today’s episode. I hope you found it interesting and helpful, and if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, could you please leave a quick review for the podcast on iTunes or wherever you are listening from, because those reviews not only convince people that they should check out the show, they also increase the search visibility.

I’ll see you in the next video. And help more people find their way to me and to the podcast and learn how to build their best body ever as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and whatever app you’re using to listen and you will not miss out on any of the new stuff that I have coming.

And last, if you didn’t like something about the show, then definitely shoot me an email. at Mike at muscle for life. com and share your thoughts. Let me know how you think I could do this better. I read every email myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. All right. Thanks again for listening to this episode and I hope to hear from you soon.

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