You may have heard of these 2 different supplements either on their own or as part of a pre-workout mix and wondered what the differences are between L-Citrulline vs. Citrulline Malate.
While these are very similar supplements, in this article, we’ll be covering a few key differences to keep in mind.
The difference between L-Citrulline vs. Citrulline Malate is very minor. While these are the same basic supplements, L-Citrulline bonded with malate becomes Citrulline Malate. This means more Citrulline Malate needs to be taken to get the same effects as L-Citrulline, although the additional malate might have applications for endurance performance.
L-Citrulline vs Citrulline Malate
L-Citrulline is primarily used for its purposes related to vasodilation. However, current research suggests L-Citrulline has minimal effect on blood flow. With that being said, L-Citrulline taken at a dose of 6g/day did show an increase in post-exercise reoxygenation rate, which may lead to improved endurance performance and reduced fatigue.
Meanwhile, Citrulline Malate will have the same general effects. The main difference is that it’s bonded with malate. This means you will need to take more citrulline malate to achieve the same effects. However, the presence of malate does also appear to improve aerobic function.
What Is L-Citrulline and What Are Its Potential Benefits?
While L-Citrulline is commonly thought to improve blood flow, there is minimal evidence to support this. While further research is needed to determine the exact mechanism behind its effectiveness, it appears improvements in performance and recovery largely have to do with Citrulline’s ability to boost muscle reoxygenation.
How to Take Citrulline for Best Results?
While 3g of L-Citrulline a day is considered the minimum effective dose for positive effects, it appears that a higher dose of 6g+ is ideal for optimal effects.
For acute effects, L-Citrulline should be taken around an hour before a given workout.
However, studies that demonstrate positive effects often involve L-Citrulline being taken every day.
What Is Citrulline Malate and What Are Its Potential Benefits?
As mentioned, Citrulline Malate is the same basic supplement as L-Citrulline Malate. The main difference is that it’s bonded with malate. It appears the main benefit of this over pure L-Citrulline is that the presence of malate may have some effects on aerobic capacity but the evidence is very limited.
Beyond this, the 2 supplements will have the same core effects on performance and recovery given an equivalent dose. As we’ll cover below, however, more Citrulline Malate needs to be taken to achieve the same effects as pure L-Citrulline.
How to Take Citrulline Malate for Best Results?
In terms of timing, there doesn’t appear to be any difference between Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline. Similarly, it should have some acute effects, although it’s likely best to be taken consistently.
As mentioned, you will need to take more Citrulline Malate to achieve the same results as a pure L-Citrulline supplement. These supplements are most commonly dosed at a 2:1 ratio of Citrulline to Malate, although they do occasionally have a lower, less effective ratio.
However, assuming a 2:1 ratio, for every 3g of Citrulline Malate, you’ll be getting roughly 2g (2.2g) of pure L-Citrulline.
As a result, we recommend taking at least 6g of Citrulline Malate at a time to get ~4g of L-Citrulline and get minimal effective dose. However, a higher dose of 12g+ for closer to 8g of pure L-Citrulline may be optimal.
Summary: Which Is Better, Citrulline or Citrulline Malate?
Overall, because these are the same basic supplement, it’s difficult to say what the best form of L-Citrulline is. While you’ll need to take slightly more Citrulline Malate to get the same effects, it appears the presence of malate may have some advantages (nonsignificant probably) in terms of aerobic performance but we are lacking strong evidence.
So, as long as you’re aware of the need for a different dose, these supplements should deliver very similar effects when taken consistently.
Best L-Citrulline Supplement
- Form: Powder
- Servings: 120
- Suitable for Vegans: Yes
- Servings per Container (3g): 80
- Package Information: 240g
- Price per Serving: ~$0.23
- Company Founded: 2012
If you’re interested in a pure L-Citrulline supplement, our top pick is Transparent Labs for its consistent commitment to delivering high-quality options. Let’s see what you can expect from this supplement.
First, it needs to be noted that each scoop only contains 2g of L-Citrulline. As covered above, you’ll need at least 3g of L-Citrulline for noticeable effects, with ~8g/day being ideal for boosting performance.
Considering there are 120 total servings here, if you were to take 4 servings a day, Transparent Labs’ L-Citrulline would still last you about a month!
Like all of Transparent Labs’ products, this is a simple, high-quality formula. The only ingredient is Fermented L-Citrulline meaning there are no unnecessary artificial ingredients added in. It’s worth noting this is unflavored, so if you’re after a flavored L-Citrulline supplement this may not be the best choice for you.
Finally, in terms of price, Transparent Labs delivers solid value for money. Assuming you’re taking 8g/day for optimal effects, each 8g serving will only cost you around $0.60!
Best Citrulline Malate Supplement
- Form: Powder
- Weight: 500 g
- Manufacturer country: Great Britain
- Floor: Unisex
- Taste: No taste
- Number of servings (capsules) in container: 250 servings
- Type: Citrullines
- Manufacturer: Myprotein
If you’d prefer to try a citrulline malate supplement, our top pick is MyProtein, which is also known for its consistent quality and excellent prices. Let’s see how this supplement stacks up compared to Transparent Labs.
MyProteins Citrulline Malate is dosed similarly low to Transparent Labs. Each serving is only 3g, meaning you’ll need to take 2-4 doses daily to get optimal effects. We recommend taking around 12g if you want to get the most out of this supplement.
With each bag being 1.1lb, MyProtein’s Citrulline Malate would last you around 42 days taking 12g/day.
Similar to Transparent Labs, this is a similarly simple supplement. The only ingredient is 100% Citrulline Malate with absolutely no unnecessary filler ingredients. As a result, this is also an exclusively unflavored supplement, which may not appeal to everyone.
For price, MyProtein is slightly more affordable when compared to Transparent Labs. Assuming a 12g serving for optimal effects, each serving would only cost you about $0.48!
Are Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline the Same Thing?
While Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline are the same basic supplement, Citrulline Malate is L-Citrulline bonded with Malate.
There appears to be some benefits (not really significant) to malate for aerobic exercise, although more Citrulline Malate will need to be taken to get the same effects as L-Citrulline.
What Is the Best Form of L-Citrulline to Take?
As long as you’re aware that more Citrulline Malate needs to be taken for the same effects, both supplements will deliver very similar effects. They’re also similarly priced, so really the difference between Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline comes down to personal preference and convenience.
Is Citrulline Better Than L-Arginine?
Yes, while both of these are commonly marketed as vasodilators and NO-boosters, L-Arginine does not appear to have any real effect on exercise performance. While Citrulline doesn’t appear to affect blood flow too much, it still has some genuine effects on performance and recovery.
Is It Ok to Take L-Citrulline Every Day?
Yes, in fact there are some benefits to L-Citrulline supplementation that come from taking Citrulline daily. While there are some more minor benefits to acute supplementation, we recommend taking it daily for optimal effects.
The main difference between L-Citrulline and Citrulline Malate is how they need to be dosed – slightly differently. For a kind of optimal dose we suggest 8g of Citrulline while with Citrulline Malate we suggest 12g.
So, whether you’re taking L-Citrulline or Citrulline Malate, you can expect to get the same core effects out of both these options. While its effects may not be major, you can expect a slight edge when it comes to fatigue and exercise performance.
Our top pick for a pure L-Citrulline supplement is Transparent Labs L-Citrulline. For a solid Citrulline Malate, check out MyProtein Citrulline Malate.
What’s your opinion on the question of Citrulline Malate vs L-Citrulline? Were you aware of the differences between these 2 supplements? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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Author: Jacek Szymanowski
Strength and Conditioning Specialist
With over 30 years of fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, and expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, Jacek offers a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, Jacek remains at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that his coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.