Ingredient Focus: Citrulline Part 3 – How Much?

In Part 1, we learned citrulline is watermelon extract. In Part 2, we learned citrulline’s value is what it does once the body converts it to arginine. In Part 3, we discuss the optimal dosage.

So how much citrulline do we need?

You may wonder, “If citrulline is so great because of how it turns into arginine, can’t I just take arginine?”

Citrulline is better absorbed than arginine. It’s also better tolerated. Doses over 10 grams of arginine can result in diarrhea and other gastrointestinal distress, but doses of citrulline up to 15 grams don’t cause these side effects according to this study.

Citrulline Malate versus L-citrulline

One gram of L-citrulline equates to 1.76 grams of citrulline malate. Citrulline malate is citrulline attached to the natural fruit acid, malic acid. Research studies on citrulline for sports performance typically use citrulline malate more than L-citrulline, so that is the preferred form.

For circulatory health (via arginine and subsequent nitric oxide production), citrulline doses are typically 1 gram (1,000 milligrams) three times with meals.

Although citrulline is not proven to improve muscle soreness, creatine production, or muscle protein synthesis, 6-8 grams as citrulline malate is commonly taken before, and less commonly after, a workout.

Supplements with Citrulline Malate




Citrulline is promoted with claims about improving muscle pump, and strength and power, but “this supplement has somewhat inconclusive findings,” according to’s 2016 supplement guide. This sentiment is echoed by the in-depth assessment of citrulline research on The guide’s rating continues, “…some studies report positive changes following use, while others report no change. The anecdotal evidence is favorable, and although more research is needed, it is still considered safe for use.”

References and Related Reading

Citrulline Part 1 (What It Is) and Part 2 (What It Does)

WTRMLN WTR – Energy Drink of the Month – June 2016

Citrulline on (note – this site has HEAPS of information, but it may be a bit technical for some)



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