The Ergogenic Potential of Citrulline Malate and Beet Root Extract: Mechanisms and Implications for Exercise Performance

Citrulline malate and beet root extract have gained significant attention in the realm of sports nutrition due to their purported ergogenic effects on exercise performance. This article aims to critically review the current scientific literature to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the performance-enhancing properties of these dietary supplements. Citrulline malate, a combination of the amino acid citrulline and malic acid, has been studied for its ability to enhance nitric oxide production, thereby promoting vasodilation and improving blood flow to exercising muscles. On the other hand, beet root extract, rich in inorganic nitrate, has been shown to increase nitric oxide levels via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. Both compounds have demonstrated potential benefits in improving endurance, power output, and recovery in various exercise modalities. Understanding the mechanisms of action of citrulline malate and beet root extract can provide valuable insights into their efficacy as ergogenic aids and inform evidence-based strategies for enhancing exercise performance.

  1.  Enhancing exercise performance and promoting efficient recovery are perennial pursuits in sports science and nutrition. Athletes and fitness enthusiasts often seek ergogenic aids to gain a competitive edge or optimize training adaptations. Among the plethora of dietary supplements marketed for improving performance, citrulline malate and beet root extract have emerged as promising candidates due to their purported physiological effects on exercise performance. This article aims to delve into the mechanisms of action underlying the ergogenic properties of citrulline malate and beet root extract and their implications for exercise performance.

  2. Citrulline Malate: Mechanisms and Performance Effects Citrulline malate, a compound comprised of the amino acid citrulline and malic acid, has garnered attention for its potential to enhance exercise performance. Citrulline, a non-proteinogenic amino acid, plays a crucial role in the urea cycle, where it is converted into arginine, a precursor of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that enhances blood flow and nutrient delivery to exercising muscles, thereby promoting endurance and delaying fatigue.

Studies investigating the ergogenic effects of citrulline malate have reported improvements in various aspects of exercise performance, including increased endurance capacity, enhanced power output, and reduced perceptions of fatigue. These effects are thought to be mediated by the augmentation of NO production, leading to improved oxygen and nutrient delivery to active muscles. Additionally, citrulline malate may buffer intracellular acidosis through its malate component, potentially delaying the onset of muscular fatigue during high-intensity exercise.

  1. Beet Root Extract: Mechanisms and Performance Effects Beet root extract, derived from the root vegetable Beta vulgaris, has gained popularity as a dietary supplement due to its high nitrate content. Inorganic nitrate, abundant in beet root extract, can be converted into nitrite and subsequently into NO via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway, particularly under conditions of hypoxia or low pH, such as those encountered during exercise.


The ergogenic effects of beet root extract have been attributed to its ability to increase NO availability, leading to enhanced vasodilation, improved mitochondrial efficiency, and reduced oxygen cost during exercise. Several studies have demonstrated that supplementation with beet root extract or its constituents, such as nitrate-rich beet juice, can improve exercise performance across various modalities, including endurance exercise, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and team sports.

  1. Synergistic Effects and Practical Considerations While citrulline malate and beet root extract operate through distinct mechanisms to enhance exercise performance, their combination may elicit synergistic effects that potentiate their ergogenic properties. By simultaneously augmenting NO production through different pathways, these supplements could theoretically enhance vasodilation, blood flow, and oxygen delivery to a greater extent than either compound alone.


Practical considerations for optimizing the ergogenic effects of citrulline malate and beet root extract include dosage, timing of ingestion, and individual responsiveness. Optimal dosages of citrulline malate typically range from 6 to 8 grams per day (depending on weight and supplement ratio), while beet root extract supplementation often involves consuming approximately 300 to 500 milligrams of nitrate per day (3000mg of beet root). Timing-wise, consuming these supplements 30 to 60 minutes prior to exercise may maximize their performance-enhancing effects by ensuring peak plasma concentrations coincide with the onset of physical activity.

Citrulline malate and beet root extract represent promising dietary supplements for enhancing exercise performance through their respective mechanisms of action. Citrulline malate augments NO production, promoting vasodilation and delaying fatigue during prolonged exercise, while beet root extract increases NO availability via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway, improving mitochondrial efficiency and reducing the oxygen cost of exercise. Further research is warranted to elucidate the optimal dosing strategies, potential synergistic effects, and long-term implications of these supplements on exercise performance and overall health.