L-citrulline Vs. L-arginine
Your body is a system that runs with the help of amino acids. There are many dietary supplements in the health care market today. Two such products are the L-citrulline (L-Cit) and L-arginine (L-Arg) compounds. However, there is a need to understand how these two supplements relate. One must also know how they differ. Therefore, continue reading this article to know which to choose as your safe dietary supplement.
A few general functions of the amino acids are:
- They help in the growth of muscles, skin, and connective tissues.
- They assist in the maintenance of muscle tone and tissue strength.
- They aid in quick recovery from any physical injuries.
- They help provide energy to the body.
L-arginine and L-citrulline are different amino acids. But there’s a relationship that these two amino acids share in performing certain body functions. They keep converting back and forth from one into the other.
Here are a few things you need to know about these two amino-acids.
Most amino acids serve as protein builders. L-citrulline is an amino acid found mostly in watermelons. The name “citrulline” comes from the Latin term “citrullus,” which means watermelon. It does not focus on making protein though it is an amino acid. Our body also makes citrulline. The small intestine is the organ that makes it. Thus, this makes it a non-essential component. Our body converts the L-citrulline to L-arginine.
L-citrulline is traditionally used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) and kidney damage. You can find this compound in fitness supplements too. That is because it helps to boost your body’s L-Cit levels. Here are a few functions of the watermelon extract:
- The main benefit of the L-Cit is that it helps to improve nitric oxide metabolism. Hence, the supplement focuses on the parts where nitric oxide functions.
- It also helps in the ammonia metabolism process.
- The supplements target functions that are related to athletic performance. They target ED and heart health too.
- It is known to improve blood flow in the body. It helps to reduce blood pressure too.
- It helps to reduce fatigue and enhances the endurance levels of the body.
- It provides more energy and enhances muscle growth.
There are little to no side effects of L-Cit. However, some users may experience cough, heartburn, swelling, urination changes, and an upset stomach.
L-arginine is an amino acid. This compound is essential for the production of proteins in the body. Red meat, fish, poultry, and milk products are a few foods that contain few amounts of L-arginine. The companies also make and distribute this compound in the form of food supplements and medicines.
Our body converts the available L-Arg compounds into nitric oxides. These nitric oxides help the blood vessels to open wide. This way, it allows for better blood flow. L-Arg helps in the increase in levels of the growth hormones and insulin in the body. Here are a few benefits of the L-Arg amino acid:
- Many athletes use this as a food supplement. That is because it produces nitric oxide after you take it.
- It helps people with high blood pressure or type-2 diabetes. These conditions cause an increase in an enzyme that reduces L-Arg- thus resulting in increased blood pressure. So, the consumption of L-Arg aids in resolving this undesired state of the body.
- It may help to reduce the symptoms of people suffering from chest pains. It may improve their workout tolerance too.
- Daily consumption of 2.5 to 5 grams of L-Arg seems to improve ED in men. However, earlier evidence shows that the potency is enhanced when mixed with maritime pine bark extract.
- It is also known to help people with high blood pressure by reducing stress.
- Some studies show that it also helps to stop inflammation of the digestive tract in young infants.
When taken in proper doses, L-arginine is very safe. It may cause some side effects like bloating, diarrhea, low blood pressure, allergies, and an upset tummy in rare cases.
It is a supplement mostly used by athletes. However, there is some proof that shows that it does not affect healthy adults.
How do L-citrulline and L-Arginine relate?
L-citrulline and L-arginine are both amino acids. When one takes the L-Cit, the body converts it to L-Arg in the kidneys. So, the L-Arg converts to nitric oxide for use in the body’s internal functions. More nitric oxides will create wider blood vessels. This action will allow more blood, oxygen, and nutrient delivery to the muscles.
It also helps in removing ammonia from the body. Ammonia is a waste product resulting from the breakdown of protein in the muscles. Hence, boosting the performance of the muscles vastly. It also helps to reduce fatigue.
A study showed that most people who have ED had low L-Arg and L-Cit levels.
Which of the two is better?
Both the amino acids play vital roles in boosting the nitric oxide levels in the body. When it comes to consumption, both are available as food supplements. But, research shows that the L-citrulline shows better benefits when compared to that of L-arginine’s.
- The converted L-arginine in the kidneys from L-Cit has a better absorption rate than the directly consumed L-Arg.
- The L-Cit is also able to increase plasma L-Arg levels more effectively than L-Arg itself. L-Cit also helps to maintain a more consistent L-Arg level in the body.
- L-Cit also causes broader expansion of the blood vessels than L-Arg. That is because, when consumed directly, the body uses L-Arg for many different body functions. Hence, the body doesn’t use all the absorbed L-Args to produce nitric oxide.
- Also, L-Cit supplements rarely upset the stomach when consumed orally. In contrast, there are many cases of stomach upsets on the oral consumption of L-Arg supplements. The reason for this is due to the low absorption of L-Arg supplements and may lead to diarrhea.
Hence, for long term health care, one may choose the use of L-Cit over L-Arg as a better food supplement option.
The applications and functions of both the L-arginine and L-citrulline are very similar. But due to a few differences in their functioning efficiency, experts recommend using L-Cit over L-Arg.
However, one may use L-Arg for quick results or in case the L-Cit supplement is absent. There are still researches and studies done to investigate other benefits of these two compounds. We hope this article helped you understand a few critical points on the concerned topic.