Principal Proposed Uses
Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid, meaning that the body can manufacture it from other nutrients. Within the body, citrulline is converted to the amino acid L-arginine . Some of the proposed uses of citrulline supplements are based on raising levels of arginine. Citrulline also plays a role in a physiological process called “the urea cycle,” in which toxic ammonia is converted to urea.
The body manufactures citrulline from the essential amino acid glutamine. Deficiency of citrulline is unlikely to occur.
A typical dose of citrulline is 6–18 grams daily. It is commonly sold in the form of citrulline malate.
There is little scientific support for any use of citrulline supplements.
Other proposed uses of citrulline are based on the fact that the body converts citrulline to the amino acid arginine . It is claimed by some that citrulline supplements are actually more effective at raising arginine levels than arginine supplements. However, this has not been established in any scientific sense. Furthermore, arginine itself is not a proven treatment for any condition. For example, citrulline is marketed as a treatment for impotence based on the assumption that arginine is effective for impotence. However, current evidence supporting arginine as an impotence treatment is weak at best, and citrulline itself has not been studied for this use in any meaningful way. Again, numerous testimonials are offered, but they mean little: placebos are very effective for impotence.
As a naturally occurring amino acid, citrulline is believed to be safe. However, maximum safe doses in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease have not been established.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -