Citrulline Malate Does Not Improve Muscle Recovery after Resistance Exercise in Untrained Young Adult Men

Nutrients. 2017 Oct 18;9(10):1132. doi: 10.3390/nu9101132.


The effects of citrulline malate (CM) on muscle recovery from resistance exercise remains unknown. We aimed to determine if citrulline malate supplementation improves muscle recovery after a single session of high-intensity resistance exercise (RE) in untrained young adult men. Nine young adult men (24.0 ± 3.3 years) participated in a double-blind crossover study in which they received 6 g of CM and placebo (PL) on two occasions, separated by a seven-day washout period. Each occasion consisted of a single session of high-intensity RE (0 h) and three subsequent fatigue tests sessions (at 24, 48, and 72 h) to assess the time course of muscle recovery. During the tests sessions, we assessed the following variables: number of maximum repetitions, electromyographic signal (i.e., root mean square (RMS) and median frequency (MF)), muscle soreness and perceived exertion, as well as blood levels of creatine kinase (CK), lactate, insulin, and testosterone:cortisol ratio. CK levels increased at 24 h post-exercise and remained elevate at 48 and 72 h, with no difference between CM and PL conditions. Muscle soreness increased at 24 h post-exercise, which progressively returned to baseline at 72 h in both conditions. Lactate levels increased immediately post-exercise and remained elevated at 24, 48, and 72 h in both conditions. No significant treatment × time interaction was found for all dependents variables (maximum repetitions, perceived exertion, CK, lactate, RMS, MF, and testosterone:cortisol ratio) during the recovery period. In conclusion, our data indicate that CM supplementation (single 6 g dose pre-workout) does not improve the muscle recovery process following a high-intensity RE session in untrained young adult men.

Keywords: amino acids; exercise; protein; skeletal muscle; supplementation; weight training.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Citrulline / adverse effects
  • Citrulline / analogs & derivatives*
  • Citrulline / therapeutic use
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Malates / adverse effects
  • Malates / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Muscle Fatigue / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Recovery of Function
  • Resistance Training*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Biomarkers
  • Malates
  • Citrulline
  • Lactic Acid
  • Testosterone
  • Creatine Kinase
  • citrulline malate
  • Hydrocortisone