The next ingredient in our Blast Off ingredient journey! L-Citrulline. This one sounds a bit more familiar, and like before we will start general on why this ingredient is important for athletic performance and get down into the details of the science.
As usual, we will start by defining some terms to break them down. Firstly, amino acids: we’ve all heard of them and know they are important for exercise and building muscle, but how many are there, and which does our body naturally produce and not? Well, there are 20 essential amino acids and 11 non-essential amino acids. An essential amino acid is a designation to show that the compound cannot be naturally produced by humans, and is therefore essential to our diet. L-citrulline in nonessential, meaning our body produces this already, and is found highly in watermelon.
A primary function of L-citrulline is vasodilation, increasing athletic performance, and helping with mid and post-exercise related recovery and blood flow. Vasodilation is the expansion of the diameter of the blood vessels, which inherently assists in decreasing blood pressure and increasing blood flow throughout the body. The simple physics of liquid flowing through a hose, pinch your thumb over the end and the pressure increases and sprays further. Think of the opposite effect by expanding the diameter of the tube.
So, L-citrulline is a nonessential amino acid that helps the body produce nitric oxide, which is produced in many cells and is what is directly responsible for relaxing vascular smooth muscle through a biochemical cascade.
Randomized studies have shown that physical performance increased in the group that took L-citrulline supplement before bench press compared to placebo and also longer term interest in the benefits to cardiovascular health.
There are entire products on the market that are solely L-citrulline powder to consume at various points throughout the day or before a workout.
Luckily, it’s another great ingredient we put in Blast Off. Enjoy!