When it comes to nitric oxide supplements, two of the most important ingredients are L-citrulline and L-arginine. While there has been some amount of concern and controversy regarding which ingredient is better for supplements, let us find out if there really is any truth to this debate.
Nitric oxide is not really included in these supplements. This is because nitric oxide is a gas. But during intense workouts and exercises, these supplements can help in increasing the level of nitric oxide in the body. This then widens the blood vessels, allowing the smooth flow of blood throughout the entire body. So in order to produce the greatest amount of nitric oxide within the body, arginine is needed no matter what. This is because it helps in supplying more oxygen to the muscles and fibers. Regardless of what people would like to believe, arginine is essential for consumption. And this can be found in many food items as well in abundance. Some of the most common examples include seeds and nuts, seafood, and meats. So while it is considered to be an important amino acid, it does have its fair share of limitations.
The problem is that arginine supplementation is subject to systemic and pre-systemic elimination from bacteria which can occur in the stomach as well as the enzyme arginase which can be found in both the liver and the gut. Other than that, arginine can cause a wide variety of side effects. Some of these include diarrhea, severe breathing problems, loss of weight and appetite, and it can even lead to cardiovascular diseases. The problem with arginine is that people can get addicted to it if consumed in heavy doses. And just like drug addiction, people may also suffer from withdrawal symptoms.
On the other hand, citrulline is an amino acid which is non-protein. In other words, it is not considered to be a necessary amino acid as a building block for protein. So when citrulline is included in the nitric oxide supplements, this then helps to convert into arginine and then increase the nitric oxide levels in the body.
With the help of citrulline supplementation, it helps in improving the performance in sports while at the same time reducing fatigue in exercise. It also helps in improving the level of endurance for both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Citrulline also helps in increasing arginine and ornithine plasma content in the body. This means that citrulline helps in improving the nitric oxide metabolism and the ammonia recycling process. It can also help in combatting high blood pressure.
After taking the supplements which contain citrulline, this citrulline is then converted into arginine inside the kidneys. While arginine has been found to increase the level of plasma in the body, citrulline spreads it out evenly throughout. This is what makes it possible to exercise for a longer amount of time.
When taken in small doses, arginine has been found to be subjected to reduced absorption. This is not the case with citrulline. It can also help in doubling the ornithine plasma content.
So as can be clearly seen, citrulline does have some benefits over arginine where nitric oxide supplements are concerned.