Citrulline Prevents Gut Injury During Exercise

Citrulline is an amino acid that is converted to arginine, which increases levels of nitric oxide— an important chemical that regulates blood flow throughout the body. A study led by Kim van Wijck from the Netherlands showed that supplementing with 10 grams of citrulline before a one-hour bike ride at 70 percent of maximum effort protected the gut from injury and increased blood flow to the spleen, compared to a placebo (fake citrulline). The spleen is an important blood reservoir that increases blood volume during exercise. Other studies found that citrulline increases brown fat activity, which increases caloric expenditure and promotes fat burning. Citrulline increased levels of hormone-sensitive lipase by 150 percent, which promoted fat mobilization and use. Citrulline is an underappreciated supplement that improves fat burning and muscle blood flow, and protects the gut from injury during exercise. (Medicine Science Sports Exercise, 46: 2039-2046, 2014)

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