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Visual comparison of Citrulline Malate and Arginine supplement bottles, with a chart in the background comparing their benefits for enhancing athletic performance.

Citrulline Malate vs. Arginine Supplements - Which One's Better?

Citrulline Malate and Arginine are both amino acids that play a role in the body's production of nitric oxide, which is important for vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels). However, they have different pathways and efficiencies in the body, leading to different effects when consumed as supplements.

  1. Citrulline Malate:

    • Conversion to Arginine: Citrulline is more effective at increasing plasma arginine levels than arginine itself. This is because it bypasses the liver and is not subject to breakdown before it is converted to arginine in the kidneys.
    • Nitric Oxide Production: By increasing arginine levels, citrulline indirectly boosts nitric oxide production. This can lead to improved blood flow, oxygen transportation, and nutrient delivery to muscles during exercise.
    • Reduction of Fatigue: Citrulline Malate has been shown to help reduce fatigue and improve endurance for both aerobic and anaerobic prolonged exercise.
    • Absorption: It is absorbed well and can be a more effective method of supplementing arginine in the body indirectly.
  2. Arginine:

    • Direct Involvement: Arginine is directly involved in the synthesis of nitric oxide.
    • Less Efficient Absorption: When taken as a supplement, arginine is less efficiently absorbed due to its breakdown by the enzyme arginase in the stomach and liver. This means that a significant portion of arginine supplementation may not be utilized for nitric oxide synthesis.
    • Other Roles: Apart from nitric oxide production, arginine plays various roles in the body, including wound healing, helping the kidneys remove waste products from the body, and maintaining immune and hormone function.


  • Citrulline Malate may be more effective for increasing arginine levels and thus nitric oxide production due to better absorption and bypassing liver breakdown. It's also linked to reduced fatigue in endurance exercises.
  • Arginine provides a direct source of nitric oxide synthesis but is less effective as a supplement due to its breakdown before it can be utilized efficiently in the body.

When choosing between the two, it often depends on the specific goals of the supplementation (e.g., improving exercise performance, enhancing blood flow), personal response to the supplements, and any existing medical conditions. Always consider consulting with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

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