|Picture by Harsha K R from Flickr|
Guess what I read in a recent article? L-citrulline supplementation appears to help VO2 max levels and high intensity exercise performances. In real food form, watermelons are the best natural sources of L-citrulline.
In the published study, ten cyclists were given either L-citrulline, L-arginine or placebo tablets over a period of three seven-day cycles. On day six and seven, the subjects completed a moderate and intense cycling test.
Only the subjects taking the L-citrulline tablets had improved their VO2 max, time to exhaustion and maximum power during a 60 second all out sprint. There were no changes in performance in the L-arginine or placebo group.
Now, before you run out and eat/ drink all the watermelons you can, here are some of my personal thoughts.
The sample size (10 athletes) in the study was relatively small. Recreational cyclists were used in the study so the results may be different in elite athletes. So great news if you're a recreational athlete.
For elite athletes however, probably you may want to wait for more studies to be replicated to make sure the results are valid.
The subjects in the study were given L-citrulline tablets. You'll need to drink about 2.5 litres of watermelon juice to get the same dose of L-citrulline used in this study. And probably have to go the the toilet pretty soon after.
Bailey SJ, Blackwell JR et al (2015). L-citrulline Supplementation Improves O2 Uptake Kinetics And High -intensity Exercise Performance In Humans. J App Physiol. 119(4): 385-395. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00192.2014.