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Best L-Citrulline Supplement

Citrulline supplements can improve athletic performance, cardiovascular health, and sexual function. Here are our top 6 picks.

Last Updated: Jun 20, 2022
Best L-Citrulline Supplement

If you’re among the nearly 50% of Americans trying to lose weight and get in shape, you’ve likely considered pre-workout supplements. Thousands of brands on the market promise everything from bulking you up to burning fat and boosting metabolism. But which ones work? And how do they work?

L-citrulline and citrulline malate supplements enhance athletic performance by boosting the body’s nitrous oxide production, increasing blood flow, and providing endurance and strength for deeper, more strenuous workouts. These supplements are taken pre-workout and can even benefit heart health, sexual performance, and immunity.

We tested the top brands of citrulline supplements and determined six clear winners in terms of quality, effectiveness, cost, and customer service.

If you don’t have time to read our complete guide, glance over our top picks below.

Summary of recommendations

Our Top Picks

Transparent Labs L-Citrulline Fermented

Transparent Labs L-Citrulline powder is pure and simple- no artificial sweeteners, flavorings, or preservatives.

Every scoop includes only high quality ingredients designed to boost energy, enhance performance, and aid in recovery. It’s the most affordable powder on the market, and you can save even more by bundling. All orders are covered by a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Citrulline supplements: top considerations

We considered four primary criteria to evaluate our top citrulline supplements: quality, cost, safety, and customer experience. Read our descriptions below to help you choose the right supplement for you.

Quality

Winner: Transparent Labs

Quality is our top priority when testing products. How well-manufactured is the supplement? Is the product effective and worth buying? It’s a rarity when our winner for quality also beats out the competition in terms of cost, but that’s precisely what Transparent Labs has done with its L-Citrulline Fermented powder.

We admire Transparent Labs as a company based on its commitment to providing scientifically backed ingredients and clearly labeling ingredient amounts on all its products. L-Citrulline Fermented is no different in this regard. It provides 2,000mg of high-quality fermented L-citrulline in every serving — with no fillers, additives, flavorings, or colorings.

Topping off its many attributes, Transparent Labs stands by the quality of its products, providing a 60-day, 100% money-back guarantee on everything it sells. If you’re not completely satisfied with L-Citrulline Fermented, simply contact customer service for a full refund.

Cost

Winner: NOW Sports

Cost is an essential consideration for everything we purchase because we want to make sure we’re buying the best product available at the best cost. This includes the product’s price, value, and any offers for deeper discounts provided by the company.

NOW Sports L-Citrulline 1200mg comes in a tablet formula that costs just $0.45 per serving. It provides an effective dosage in a vegan, keto-friendly, gluten-free, and non-GMO tablet that’s easy to carry and take on the go. NOW Sports also provides additional savings options when you buy bundles or opt-in to the auto-delivery subscription service. However, you can buy NOW Sports products from many local retailers, saving you shipping costs. If you order from the manufacturer, shipping is free on orders over $50.

Safety

Winner: NOW Sports

We all want to know if the product we’re considering is safe, and it’s essential to keep in mind that dietary supplements are regulated differently than food or drugs by the FDA. When testing supplements, we look at several factors, including:

  • Where it’s manufactured
  • If the manufacturer is cGMP-certified (meaning it follows Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations)
  • If the company produces known allergens at the same facility
  • If the product has undergone third-party testing
  • Whether the product is certified by official sports organizations for safety and purity

Answering these questions leads us to find the safest products available. And yet again, in this category, we chose NOW Sports L-Citrulline 1200mg as our winner based on its cGMP and Informed Sports certifications and third-party testing.

Customer experience

Winner: Jacked Factory

Customer experience is an important factor when choosing a new product or continuing with a product you’ve already tried. If you’re investing money in a supplement that doesn’t work for you, your risk is significantly reduced when you purchase a product with a customer satisfaction guarantee. This level of protection also gives you a sense that the company truly believes in what it’s selling.

Jacked Factory is our winner in this category because they provide a 90-day money-back guarantee. You can also quickly contact representatives by phone, email, or live chat. In our interactions with customer service representatives, they offered quick and helpful responses to our queries. The only downside is the lack of free shipping for subscription or bulk orders, which we hope Jacked Factory introduces soon.

How our top recommendations compare

The chart below shows how our top recommendations compare in terms of cost, transparency, ingredients, safety, and more. Your product choice depends on your lifestyle, budget, and dietary needs.

These price comparisons are based on single purchases of each product and do not account for subscription plans or bulk purchases, which can often earn significant savings.

  Transparent Labs Swolverine NOW Sports BulkSupplements Doctor’s Best Jacked Factory
Cost per bottle $14.99 $56.99 $39.99 $14.96 $20.99 $29.99
Price per serving $0.13 $0.95 $0.45 $0.45 $0.32 $1
Satisfaction guarantee? 60-day         90-day
Vegan-friendly?
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Bulk or subscription savings? Savings on bundles Subscription savings Bulk savings Subscription savings   Subscription savings and stack options
Ingredient amounts listed
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Formula Powder Powder Tablets Powder Powder Capsules
Flavors Unflavored only Unflavored only   Unflavored only Unflavored only  
Informed Sport-certified?    
Yes
     
Free shipping? On orders over $99 On orders over $99 On orders over $50 On orders over $59 On orders over $20  

What is L-citrulline?

L-citrulline (or just citrulline) is a nonessential amino acid that the kidneys transform into L-arginine and nitric oxide in the body. These compounds benefit heart and blood vessel health and may boost the immune system.

One of the primary reasons people take citrulline supplements is for boosted endurance during intense workouts. Others take them to help lower blood pressure or ease symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

L-citrulline naturally occurs in foods, mainly watermelon, and it has no reported side effects. Some of the benefits you’ll likely encounter from taking a citrulline supplement include:

How do citrulline supplements work?

L-citrulline (CIT) is an organic nonessential amino acid primarily derived from watermelons. It is also naturally produced in the body through endogenous synthesis in the liver and intestines. It is rarely attained from a regular diet (unless you live on a watermelon farm).

Citrulline’s primary functions in the body are helping eliminate harmful substances like ammonia through the urine and promoting nitrous oxide production and vasodilation.

Taking a single dose of CIT is unlikely to have any significant effect. Still, studies examining longer-term use have demonstrated that supplementation may reduce systolic blood pressure at doses of up to six grams per day. For individuals at risk of heart disease and hypertension, supplementing citrulline may help prevent the need for medications down the line.

How do citrulline supplements aid athletic performance? By promoting nitric oxide production in the body, citrulline supplements increase the amount of oxygen in your muscle tissues. Nitric oxide modulates:

  • Mitochondrial respiration
  • Muscle energy
  • Metabolism
  • Blood flow

Thus, increasing nitric oxide production can improve endurance and reduce muscle soreness during and after workouts. It can also increase blood flow to the sexual organs, reducing symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

In studies of CIT supplementation in elderly and malnourished rats, researchers showed that those who received supplements gained muscle protein content, especially when supplemented with branched-chain amino acids (leucine, valine, and isoleucine) as well.

How citrulline malate is different

Citrulline malate (CM) combines L-citrulline with DL-malate, a compound derived from apples that may assist in converting food to energy. Developed originally for treating asthenia (abnormal physical weakness and lack of energy), citrulline malate supplements have been shown to improve athletic performance in numerous scientific trials.

This 2016 study showed that CM supplementation improved tennis match-play performance in women subjects, improving power and endurance. A 2015 study showed that CM supplementation improved muscle performance while having no significant impact on lactic acid levels for advanced weightlifters during repeated bouts of lower-body exercise.

Are citrulline supplements a good choice for you?

L-citrulline and citrulline malate supplements improve athletic performance over time, so you likely won’t feel immediately like the Hulk when kicking off a new regimen. They may boost your workouts and endurance, but these stimulant-free products won’t give you an immediate rush or cause unwanted jitters.

We found that we had greater ease at the gym when taking the supplements about an hour before workouts. Over time, we extended our training sessions with more intensity. After about two weeks, we noticed a significant change in our endurance levels. And for those interested — the male testers among our panel did experience improved sexual performance in about this time frame as well.

Who shouldn’t use citrulline supplements

Individuals taking vasodilators or other medications for high blood pressure should not take citrulline supplements without consulting their doctor. These supplements can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels when combined with certain medications.

Examples of vasodilators include:

  • Alprostadil IV
  • Corlopam
  • Deponit
  • Fenoldopam
  • Glyceryl trinitrate transdermal
  • Hydralazine
  • Loniten
  • Minitran

Other medications that interact with citrulline supplements include those prescribed for erectile dysfunction, including:

  • Tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra, Staxyn)

Pregnant or nursing individuals should also avoid citrulline supplements. Anyone with a chronic medical condition or those taking medications should talk to their doctor before beginning any new dietary supplement.

Are citrulline supplements safe?

L-citrulline and citrulline malate supplements have no known side effects and are safe for most healthy adults. However, these supplements can interact with blood pressure and erectile dysfunction medications (see above: “Who shouldn’t take citrulline supplements”). If you are pregnant, nursing, or have any chronic medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before beginning any new supplement.

Transparent Labs L-Citrulline Fermented

Best overall and best budget pick (powder)

Pros

  • Least expensive among powder formulas
  • No artificial sweeteners, flavorings, or preservatives
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • Transparent ingredient labeling
  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Bundle savings options
  • Promotes endurance and strength
  • Free U.S. shipping on orders over $99

Cons

  • Not great tasting
  • Powder tends to foam up when mixing

When shopping for L-citrulline supplements, simplicity is critical. Transparent Labs L-Citrulline Fermented provides 2,000mg of fermented L-citrulline in every scoop with no additives, flavorings, colorings, or sweeteners. While not the best-tasting powder available, it was comparable to the other brands we tested. We also found that mixing it with apple juice or other flavored beverages made it more palatable. Transparent Labs stands behind its products, providing a 60-day 100% money-back guarantee for anyone who’s dissatisfied.

Ingredients and benefits

Transparent Labs L-Citrulline Fermented comes in a 0.52-pound tub containing 120 servings. Each 2g scoop provides 2,000mg of fermented L-citrulline and absolutely nothing else.

This supplement promises the following health benefits:

  • Increased nitric oxide production and blood flow
  • Improved physical performance
  • Better endurance
  • Improved muscle recovery
  • Reduced soreness

Pricing

Transparent Labs currently only offers L-Citrulline Fermented as a one-time purchase with no subscription or bulk savings options. One container with 120 servings costs $14.99, or $0.13 per serving. However, you can save money by purchasing this product as part of Transparent Labs’ pre-made bundles.

Buying from the company website ensures you get the 60-day customer satisfaction guarantee, and all orders over $99 include free shipping in the U.S. Shipping for orders under $99 starts at $7.99.

Swolverine Citrulline Malate

Runner-up overall

Pros

  • Supports athletic performance, endurance, and boosted energy
  • Clear ingredient transparency
  • Bundle savings options
  • Reduces soreness and promotes post-workout recovery
  • Higher dosage than many competitors
  • Better tasting than most alternatives
  • Free U.S. shipping on orders over $99

Cons

  • More expensive than other brands
  • Only one (unflavored) option

Some studies indicate that citrulline malate may be easier to absorb and contribute to more energy production during athletic training than L-citrulline alone (see “How citrulline malate is different” above). And no product provides a more significant dosage than Swolverine. This supplement may be the most expensive single-purchase product on our list, but it wins on effectiveness and flavor. Swolverine also provides clinical studies and research on its website to support its ingredients and efficacy.

Ingredients and benefits

Swolverine provides a synergistic 2:1 ratio of L-citrulline and malic acid in each 5g serving. It includes no additives, flavorings, or colorings.

It provides the following benefits:

  • Increases nitric oxide production
  • Improves physical strength and power
  • Enhances muscle recovery and supports tissue repair
  • Provides energy for longer, more intense training sessions
  • Reduces muscle fatigue

Pricing

Swolverine offers a subscription membership option for 15% savings on each order. By enrolling in this program, you can drop your price per serving from $0.95 to $0.81.

  Cost Price per serving
Single order $56.99 $0.95
Subscription order (15% off) $48.44 $0.81

Domestic shipping for Swolverine products starts at $6.99, although the company provides free shipping on all U.S. orders over $99.

NOW Sports L-Citrulline 1200mg

Best budget pick (capsules or tablets) and best for athletes

Pros

  • Keto-friendly, vegan, and kosher
  • Informed Sport-certified
  • Free of dairy, eggs, nuts, and soy
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • Convenient tablet formula
  • Provides more L-citrulline than other capsules and tablets
  • Free shipping on orders over $50
  • Subscription and stack savings options

Cons

  • Large tablets can be challenging to swallow for some
  • Tablet taste is unpleasant

NOW Sports manufactures a regular strength version of L-Citrulline that contains 750mg per tablet, but we opted for the maximum strength version providing 1,200mg of CIT per serving. This convenient tablet form is easy to take before hitting the gym, and it is a number one choice for those who can’t stand the taste or texture of the unflavored powder options. NOW Sports products are also Informed Sport-certified, meaning they are third-party tested for banned substances by the world class sports anti-doping laboratory, LGC.

Ingredients and benefits

Like our other top choices for citrulline supplements, NOW Sports L-Citrulline 1200mg has clear ingredient transparency. It provides 1,200mg of L-citrulline in each tablet, which you can take one to two times daily. It offers the following benefits:

  • Boosted nitric oxide production
  • Easier, more intense workouts
  • Immunity support
  • Improved muscle recovery and reduced post-workout soreness

Pricing

NOW Sports products are widely available from pharmacies, big box stores, and online retailers. Ordering directly from the company can earn some savings on bulk purchases, although we had to buy elsewhere due to this product being sold out. When in stock, NOW Sports L-Citrulline 1200mg costs $39.99 for 120 tablets or $0.45 per serving.

Shipping on single orders costs $6.95 in the contiguous U.S. NOW Sports provides free shipping on all orders over $50.

BulkSupplements L-Citrulline Powder

Best for sexual health

Pros

  • Boosts the body’s nitric oxide production
  • Promotes heart and vascular health
  • Supports sexual health and reduces symptoms of erectile dysfunction
  • Free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and additives
  • Transparent ingredient labeling
  • Bulk and subscription savings options
  • Free U.S. shipping on orders over $59

Cons

  • Smaller packet sizes can leak
  • Unflavored powder formula

BulkSupplements provides a clean and pure powder with 3g of L-citrulline in each dose, which you can take once or twice daily. It is manufactured to cGMP standards and is onsite-lab and third-party tested for safety. This natural nitric oxide booster can increase energy and stamina at the gym and in the bedroom, contributing to sexual wellness and libido.

Ingredients and benefits

BulkSupplements L-Citrulline Powder comes in an unflavored formula. Each 3g scoop contains nothing but L-citrulline to provide the following benefits:

  • Improved endurance and strength
  • Better muscle repair
  • Reduced soreness during and after workouts
  • Healthy immunity
  • Improved sexual performance

Pricing

BulkSupplements L-Citrulline Powder comes in several sizes, from 100g (3.5oz) to 25kg (55lbs). Buying in greater bulk earns savings, as does the company’s Subscribe & Save program. Enrolling in this program will earn 5% off all orders.

Pricing below is for the 100g (3.5oz) package as a single and subscription order.

  Cost Price per serving
Single order $14.96 $0.45
Subscription order $14.21 $0.43

BulkSupplements provides free shipping in the contiguous U.S. for orders over $59. For orders under this amount, shipping starts at $8.95.

Doctor’s Best L-Citrulline

Best for dietary restrictions

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
  • Vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten- and soy-free
  • Contains a potent daily dosage of L-citrulline
  • Manufactured in a cGMP facility
  • Supports muscle synthesis
  • Helps reduce muscle fatigue
  • Free U.S. shipping on orders over $20

Cons

  • Poor quality tamper seal on packaging
  • Interacts with some medications and may cause inflammation

Doctor’s Best L-Citrulline is a powder formula that may appeal to those with dietary restrictions, as it is vegan and does not contain:

  • GMOs
  • Gluten
  • Soy
  • Artificial flavors or colors
  • Preservatives

This nitric oxide-promoting supplement supports vascular dilation and blood circulation, and it has the second-lowest price for powder formulas on our list.

Ingredients and benefits

Doctor’s Best provides 3g of Kyowa Quality (KQ) L-citrulline in each daily dose and includes no other ingredients. Kyowa Hakko is a high-quality and long-established manufacturer of amino acids and related compounds that stands as a global leader in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.

Benefits of Doctor’s Best L-Citrulline include:

  • Improved strength and endurance
  • Boosted nitric oxide levels
  • Improved muscle repair and reduced soreness
  • Better sexual performance
  • Healthy immunity

Pricing

Doctor’s Best L-Citrulline is widely available from pharmacies, big box stores, and online retailers. While there are no bulk purchase or subscription savings benefits by ordering directly from the manufacturer, you do get the added advantage of free shipping on all orders over $20. A single tub of this supplement contains 66 servings for $20.99, or $0.32 per scoop.

Jacked Factory N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Booster

Best customer service

Pros

  • Capsule formula is excellent for those who hate powders
  • Contains four active ingredients for nitric oxide production
  • Promotes endurance and strength
  • Supports cardiovascular health
  • Manufactured in the U.S. in a cGMP-certified facility
  • Promotes sexual health
  • 100% 90-day customer satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • More expensive than many competing brands
  • More ingredients may mean more sensitivity for some users
  • High shipping costs

Jacked Factory is a highly rated and respected brand manufacturing several supplements aimed at weightlifters, athletes, and everyday people looking to improve their physical performance in the gym. N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Booster provides more ingredients than just L-citrulline, and it works synergistically to boost muscle protein synthesis and nitric oxide metabolism. Jacked Factory also offers excellent customer service and a 100% 90-day money-back guarantee on all products.

Ingredients and benefits

Unlike the other products in our top picks, Jacked Factory contains three additional ingredients alongside L-citrulline. Among them is L-arginine, a semi-essential amino acid also serving as a substrate for nitric oxide production. In studies, L-arginine has demonstrated its potential as a treatment to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive adults.

The complete list of Jacked Factory N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Booster ingredients includes:

  • L-citrulline (1.5g)
  • Inositol-stabilized arginine silicate (Nitrosigine) (500mg)
  • L-glutathione (200mg)
  • Bioperine (black pepper fruit extract) (5mg)

Other ingredients include hypromellose (capsule) and L-leucine.

This supplement supports:

  • Muscle growth and recovery
  • Nitric oxide production
  • Healthy immunity
  • Reduced muscle soreness after workouts
  • Sexual health

Pricing

Jacked Factory offer a subscription program that takes 25% off your first order and 15% off subsequent orders. Enrolling in this membership drops the price of N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Booster from $1 per serving to just $0.85.

The pricing below is for a 90-capsule bottle, which covers 30 days.

  Cost Price per serving
Single order $29.99 $1
Subscription orders (cost after initial purchase) $25.49 $0.85

Jacked Factory does not provide free shipping on single or subscription orders. For orders to the United States, shipping is $9.99 and up.

Citrulline supplement FAQ

What are the risks of taking citrulline supplements?

Citrulline supplements are generally safe for healthy adults but can interact with several medications. These include medicines for high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, certain antidepressants, and others. We recommend talking with your doctor if you have any chronic health conditions or take ongoing medications before starting a new supplement. Citrulline supplements are not recommended for those who are pregnant or nursing.

Can I take citrulline supplements every day?

Citrulline supplements are safe for daily use. Citrulline is typically better tolerated than other amino acids due to how it is absorbed within the body. There are no significant risks of overdose for this supplement.

Can citrulline supplements cure erectile dysfunction?

Citrulline supplements can effectively reduce symptoms of mild erectile dysfunction by promoting blood flow throughout the body. In our experience, taking 3,000mg daily improved sexual performance after about two weeks.

How much citrulline supplement can I take?

Based on the latest research, the lowest effective dose of L-citrulline for cardiometabolic health is 3g per day, and the maximum effective level is 10g. This information is based on studies including only L-citrulline and no added compounds. If you’re taking a supplement that contains additional ingredients, you should talk to your dietician or doctor before increasing the dosage.

When is the best time to take a citrulline supplement?

You can take citrulline supplements at any time. However, they are most beneficial as a pre-workout supplement, as their main goal is to boost muscle oxygenation while reducing post-workout soreness and fatigue. We recommend taking these products about 30 minutes to an hour before workouts.

Do citrulline supplements have side effects?

Citrulline supplements do not have known side effects in healthy adults. However, as they can interfere with medications, you should not take them if you are taking high blood pressure medication or nitrates for heart disease. (For more details, see “Who shouldn’t take citrulline supplements” above.)

Can citrulline supplements affect your blood pressure?

Citrulline supplements impact blood pressure by acting as mild vasodilators and increasing blood flow throughout the body. Individuals at risk of hypertension should talk with their doctors to see if supplementation may be effective in improving cardiovascular health. However, those already taking medications for blood pressure need to consult a physician because these supplements can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels when used with vasodilators.

Can I take citrulline supplements with my prescription medication?

If you’re taking any ongoing medication, you should talk with your doctor before beginning citrulline supplementation or any dietary supplements. This is critical for those taking blood pressure and cardiovascular medications.

What’s the difference between an amino acid supplement and a citrulline supplement?

Amino acid supplements provide any number of essential, nonessential, or conditional amino acids. In contrast, citrulline supplements focus solely on the nonessential amino acid L-citrulline derived from watermelons.

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Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this review was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

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