Citrulline is a naturally occurring amino acid, which means that it does not have to be obtained through our diet as it is synthesized from other amino acids in the body. Its main precursor is the amino acid glutamine. Citrulline has many important roles in the body but unlike some amino acids, it is not used to build proteins.
Citrulline plays an important role in the urea cycle, which is a process whereby it rids our body of ammonia (an extremely toxic substance for the central nervous system), which then becomes urea which is eliminated through our urine. Additionally, citrulline helps widen our blood vessels which in other words boosts our body’s nitric oxide production. This is what helps our arteries work more efficiently and thus improves the blood flow throughout our entire body. It also plays an important role in stimulating our immune system.
Citrulline may also help lower high blood pressure in people with hypertension but individuals with low blood pressure should be careful with taking citrulline supplements.
Taking citrulline supplements is thought to improve athletic performance but studies have not shown this effect on well-trained athletes. Also, the supplement might impact the way certain drugs work in the body. It is therefore always recommended to seek advice from a doctor or health care professional.
Even though citrulline is naturally produced by our bodies, we can increase our levels by eating foods containing citrulline. One of the richest sources of citrulline is watermelon which is found in both the fruit and the rind. Citrulline can also be found in bitter melons, muskmelons, pumpkins, squashes, gourds and cucumbers.
In conclusion, our citrulline levels impact many aspects of our mental and physical health. In order to make sure that your citrulline levels are balanced and steady, make sure to test your levels and to evaluate how you can make the right changes to rebalance your body and mind.