L Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate: Which is Best & What’s the Difference?

L Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate: Which is Best & What’s the Difference?

L Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate: Which is Best & What’s the Difference?


Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid, which means it can be endogenously produced in the body. This is not to say that it cannot be of benefit when supplemented in some scenarios, as we will go on to discuss. When considering supplements with citrulline, many people look to decipher the difference between L citrulline vs citrulline malate.

Citrulline acts as an arginine precursor in the body. It is preferred to take over arginine as its uptake and digestion is generally better and more efficient.

The relationship between citrulline, arginine, and ornithine is cyclical. Ornithine and ammonia merge to form citrulline. Citrulline is then converted into arginine in the kidneys. Arginine is metabolized to ornithine, which produces citrulline, which produces arginine, and the cycle continues!

Citrulline containing supplements are generally taken as they lead to an increase in nitric oxide production. Citrulline also plays into the urea cycle, where ammonia and lactic acid are eliminated. 

Is citrulline malate and L citrulline the same thing?

What about L citrulline DL malate vs L citrulline, are they the same?

L-citrulline DL malate is simply the longer way to say citrulline malate! The difference can come from the ratio of citrulline to malic acid used (usually 1:1 or 1:2).

What is the difference between L citrulline and citrulline malate?

L-Citrulline is the naturally found form of citrulline. It can be found in some fruits such as watermelon naturally.

The difference between citrulline malate and L citrulline is the addition of malic acid to citrulline. This may bring about additional benefits, so long as an effective dose is still used.

Malate boosts energy and increases performance further due to how it plays into the citric acid (krebs) cycle. The krebs cycle allows for the regeneration of ATP so that we can continue exercise.

Neither have any commonly supported side effects. Supplement manufacturers are well aware of this, hence it being favoured over arginine in most modern supplement.

L citrulline vs citrulline malate comparison

1. L citrulline vs citrulline malate for ED (erectile dysfunction)?

Low levels of citrulline have been detected in patients with erectile dysfunction, especially if caused by arterial problems. While other medications are still prescribed first, supplementation with L-citrulline may be helpful in these cases.

By increasing nitric oxide levels, l-citrulline supplementation causes the vasodilation of blood vessels for improved blood flow. This can not only increase pumps and vascular appearance in the gym, but can result in better performance in the bedroom.

Both L-Citrulline and Citrulline Malate can be beneficial for erectile dysfunction, provided the dosages are equated. Either form will stimulate the production of nitric oxide (NO), which then works in the as both a vasodilator and a neurotransmitter for sexual performance.

3-5g citrulline is recommended daily for ED. Note that 1.76 g of citrulline malate are required for an equivalent of 1 grams of L-Citrulline. If you do not have any interest in crossover sports/exercise performance benefits, l-citrulline would be just fine.

Always consult medical advice before attempting to self treat or if concerned.

2. What is the best type of citrulline for blood pressure?

L-citrulline and l-arginine have been suggested as possible natural ways to lower blood pressure. Citrulline is a precursor to arginine, which can then be converted into nitric oxide, which helps blood vessels dilate, thus reducing blood pressure.

A number of studies have investigated this, with citrulline supplementation resulting in reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in pre-hypertensive and hypertensive populations. Always discuss any concerns around blood pressure and interactions with other medications with a healthcare professional.

For avoiding high blood pressure, 3g l-citrulline twice a day has been suggested as an appropriate dosage. There are no studies showing any difference in using a citrulline malate supplement, but we can hypothesise that the same benefits would be seen by equating the dosages.

Based on the data we have, we'd go with an l-citrulline supplement.

3. What is the best form of citrulline for bodybuilding supplementation?

Bodybuilding is the scenario where citrulline malate shines over l-citrulline the most. In studies, subjects are able to perform more repetitions and experience less post-exercise muscle soreness when supplementing with citrulline malate.

For example, one 2010 Spanish study found that subjects who were taking citrulline malate squeezed out 50 percent more repetitions when working to the point of muscular failure than subjects taking a placebo.

Other Spanish researchers reported further benefits from increased arginine levels including elevated protein synthesis, creatine synthesis, and more efficient BCAA utilization by muscles during exercise.

It's not just bodybuilders who can benefit from citrulline supplementation. Several studies have focussed on cyclists. One Japanese study found that it improved performance in 4km time trial, while another indicated a 7% improvement in sprint power after a sustained time trial. Increased athletic performance, reduced recovery times and soreness can all be expected with supplemental citrulline malate.

6-8 grams of citrulline malate pre-workout is advised for bodybuilding and other sports.

Which is better citrulline malate or L citrulline?

Our conclusion We would suggest citrulline malate for sports performance, whether it be endurance or muscle building. The malate form will lead to better pumps, more reps and increased energy production. Just remember to look for more grams in a formula! Find the best citrulline malate supplement.

For erectile dysfunction or blood pressure, l-citrulline is just fine. Always run these applications by the relevant medical professional first.