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Citrulline Malate (L-citrulline, amino acid)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Jan 25, 2021


Uses of citulline malate

Citrulline malate, also referred to as L-citrulline, is a non-essential amino acid and is the precursor of the amino acid arginine.

Citrulline increases the amount of ornithine and arginine in the body and improves the ammonia recycling process and nitric oxide metabolism.

Nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator which widens blood vessels, decreasing blood pressure and improving blood flow to the muscles. These properties are useful for maintaining cardiovascular health, treating erectile dysfunction, and improving athletic performance and endurance.

How should I take citrulline malate?

Citrulline malate or L-citrulline is available in food supplement powders and capsules, oftentimes marketed as a workout supplement.

The powdered form should be mixed with water or juice and mixed or shaken thoroughly. Capsule forms should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. Both can be taken on an empty stomach or with meals.

It is best to take it before and during vigorous activity or high-intensity workouts to receive the full benefit.

How do I store citrulline malate?

Store at room temperature, away from moisture and direct sunlight. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of this drug that may have different storage needs. Therefore, it is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush it down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, do not use it if expired. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using citrulline malate?

Citrulline is naturally occurring in the body and typically does not need to be supplemented for most people for normal function. Certain foods contain citrulline in small amounts, including:

  • Watermelon (pakwan)
  • Pumpkin or squash (kalabasa)
  • Bittermelon (ampalaya)
  • Gourds (upo, kundol)
  • The seeds of the aforementioned fruit
  • It is important to note that while amino acids are considered the building blocks of protein, citrulline has less catabolic (building up) effects on muscles. If you are looking to build muscle, it would be best to take protein supplements or increase your protein intake through food.

    Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

    There isn’t enough information about the safety of using citrulline malate during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking citrulline malate.

    Side effects

    Possible side effects of citrulline malate

    Because citrulline is naturally occurring in the body, side effects are not likely to occur even in higher doses. Some people experience gastric upset with arginine and ornithine supplementation, however, the risk of this is lower with citrulline.

    Not everyone experiences these side effects while some may experience side effects not mentioned here. If you have any concerns about side effects, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


    What drugs may interact with citrulline malate?

    Citrulline malate may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects.

    To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist.

    For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

    Does food or alcohol interact with citrulline malate?

    Citrulline malate does not interact with any food. Alcohol may increase the vasodilatory effects of citrulline and nitric oxide can affect alcohol metabolism. Therefore, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol together with citrulline. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist regarding any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

    What health conditions may interact with citrulline malate?

    Citrulline malate supplementation may not be suitable for people who are hypovolemic or have low blood pressure. This may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.


    The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this drug.

    What is the dose of citrulline malate for an adult?

    For improving athletic performance

    Take 2.4-5 g daily for 1 week or 2 g daily for up to 2 months. A single dose of 8 g before heavy activity is considered safe and effective.

    For cardiovascular health

    Take 3 g daily for 2-4 months.

    What is the dose of citrulline malate for a child?

    There is no established pediatric dose. It may be unsafe for your child. Therefore, it is always important to consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

    How is citrulline malate available?

    This drug is available in the following brands, dosage forms, and strengths:

    • MyProtein “100% Citrulline Malate Amino Acid’ pre-workout supplement powder
    • Muscletech-Platinum “100% Citrulline Malate’ pre-workout supplement powder containing 2.32 g of L-citrulline per scoop
    • Now Foods-L-Citrulline 750 mg capsules
    • Swanson L-citrulline malate 750 mg capsules

    What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

    In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

    What should I do if I miss a dose?

    If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Written by

    Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


    Updated Jan 25, 2021

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