L-Citrulline Supplementation and Exercise in the Management of Sarcopenia

Nutrients. 2021 Sep 8;13(9):3133. doi: 10.3390/nu13093133.


Sarcopenia is a process associated to aging. Persistent inflammation and oxidative stress in muscle favour muscle wasting and decreased ability to perform physical activity. Controlled exercise can optimize blood flux and moderate the production of reactive oxygen species. Therefore, supplements that can work as a vasodilators and control oxidative stress, might be beneficial for active elders. In this context, we have tested citrulline supplementation in a group of 44 participants aged from 60-73 years that followed a physical activity program adapted to their age and capacities. Volunteers were divided in two groups: placebo (n = 22) and citrullline supplemented (n = 22). Different physical tests and blood extractions were performed at the beginning and at the end of intervention (six weeks). Strength and endurance showed a tendency to increase in the citrulline supplemented group, with no significant differences respect to placebo. However, walking speed in the citrulline supplemented group improved significantly compared to placebo. Markers of muscle damage as well as circulating levels of testosterone, cortisol and vitamin D showed no significant changes, but a tendency to improve at the end of intervention in the supplemented group compared to placebo. Additional studies are necessary to confirm the effect of citrulline supplementation in sarcopenia delay.

Keywords: aging; muscle wasting; physical activity; sarcopenia.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Citrulline / administration & dosage*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Elder Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Sarcopenia / physiopathology
  • Sarcopenia / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking Speed


  • Citrulline