Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "
Citrulline increases muscle mass and reduces fat mass by blocking the aging process
If you are heading towards old age, a daily dose of the alpha amino acid L-citrulline may help reduce the amount of fat and increase the amount of muscle you have. Researchers at the Sorbonne in France suggest this in an animal study they published in the Journal of Nutrition. Citrulline has a positive effect on body composition because it blocks aging processes at a fundamental level.
The figure above shows that the rats in the citrulline group had 14-48 percent more muscle mass after the supplementation than the animals in the other group.
The citrulline supplementation had no relevant effect on the anabolic signal molecule mTOR, but cells did manufacture more proteins such as TFAM as a result of the supplementation. These proteins enable cells to build up and repair more mitochondria. Mitochondria convert nutrients into energy.
NEAA = rats that were given non-essential amino acid mix in their food; CIT = rats that were given citrulline.
Citrulline seems to reduce this last aspect of aging. At least, the researchers found less oxidised LDL in the rats' blood. Oxidised cholesterol is bad news for the blood vessels, so this effect of citrulline is also positive.
The study was financed by the French Association Against Myopathies. The first author and two other co-authors of the study work for the French company Citrage [citrage.com]. Citrage sells citrulline supplements designed to maintain muscle strength.