L-Citrulline Does Not Directly Increase Testosterone but Does Support


What is L-Citrulline?

L-Citrulline is considered a non-essential amino acid since your body can manufacture it from other nutrients; however, some people in the fitness industry would consider it an essential amino acid simply because of its supposed benefits.

It is unique in that your kidneys take the amino acid and convert it into another amino acid called L-Arginine as well as nitric oxide.

What are the Benefits of L-Citrulline?

Before we discuss the benefits of L-Citrulline as they relate to testosterone, let’s take a look at other things that it may have a positive influence on.

Enhance Athletic Performance

The reason you’ll find L-Citrulline in most high-quality pre-workouts is because of its reported ability to enhance your performance intra-workout.

A popular study from the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research had cyclists supplement with it.

Those subjects who were given L-Citrulline saw a dramatic boost in their best times and a decrease in time needed to recover compared to the placebo group. (1-3)

Support Muscle Growth

When your aim is muscular hypertrophy, L-Citrulline may be able to push you into the growth zone.

Building muscle requires you to be within a specific set of acute variables: between 8 to 12 repetitions per set while using a tempo of two seconds up, no pause, and two seconds down.

If you’re fatiguing before you reach that point, you may miss out on muscle opportunity. Studies suggest that supplementation may improve exercise performance including endurance to reach the needed repetitions for growth. (3)

Boost Recovery

Continuing with the fitness-based benefits, L-Citrulline may be able to improve your recovery post-workout. Studies show that because of the increased rate of blood flow and high levels of nitric oxide via the L-Arginine conversion, subjects report faster and better recovery after training sessions. (4)

Does L-Citrulline Increase Testosterone?

Guys with Erectile Dysfunction

L-Citrulline is famously known as an effective way to help with mild to moderate cases of erectile dysfunction and many guys attribute this to increases in testosterone levels, which simply isn’t the case.

The reason medical experts recommend it for mild cases of erectile dysfunction is because of its ability to increase blood flow and enhance nitric oxide production, both of which are essential for getting things working downstairs. (5)

No Studies Confirming Testosterone Boosting Claims

Unfortunately for all of the testosterone boosting hopefuls, the science just isn’t there. There are plenty of studies confirming its benefits in other areas but there are no credible human-based studies that prove it to be the amazing testosterone booster it’s been said to be.

L-Citrulline: The Bottom Line

Looking to increase your performance at the gym?

Want to improve your recovery rate?

Need an extra spark in the bedroom?

L-Citrulline has you covered!

Want to boost your testosterone levels? L-Citrulline won’t be able to directly help you there.

While there are no studies confirming the benefits of it as a testosterone booster, it is worth noting that due to the increased blood flow and levels of nitric oxide, you may benefit by taking L-Citrulline alongside a proven testosterone booster.

Additional Editor’s Notes

iTestosterone Founder Robert ClarkDavid is spot on with his research on L-Citrulline. I wanted to add a couple of personal thoughts on it as well though since I am a big proponent of L-Citrulline (especially L-Citrulline DL Malate) and add it to my testosterone boosting smoothie recipe.

I do believe that it is a great nutrient to add to your supplement regimen. As David pointed out, there is no reason to believe it will directly increase your testosterone. However, as a support supplement, its plethora of benefits are absolutely fantastic!

With that said, I have a problem when I see it added to the ingredient list of testosterone boosters and it doesn’t matter if the form given is in plain L-Citrulline, DL Malate or L-Arginine.

The fact of the matter is, most studies only show positive effects with a minimum of 1.5 grams of daily supplementation. Many of the case studies use between 6 – 8 grams. (4)

That’s a safe dosage for most people but would require so many pills, the manufacturers could not add in any proven natural testosterone supplements along with it.

From what I have seen on the market, most companies adding L-Citrulline or L-Arginine to their testosterone boosters do so in a “proprietary blend” so they can get away with not telling you how much is actually in there.

I’ll give you a hint though, it will not likely be anywhere near 1.5 grams or more. I recommend to stay away from any company trying to sell you a proprietary blend for that matter as it’s nothing more than a cheap sales ploy.

L-Citrulline Supplementation

I highly suggest if you choose to supplement with L-Citrulline you take it in DL Malate form and as a stand alone powder.

Side effects are rare but some people do report minor stomach issues so I recommend starting off with 2 – 3 grams per day.

If you are taking it as a stand alone supplement you can try and increase that dosage to 5 grams per day to see if you notice an improvement with your gains at the higher limit.

This is the one I personally take. I either add it to my morning smoothie or take it about 30 minutes before a hard workout.


Check out my article on the Best Testosterone Boosters that really work!


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  1. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0. – Link
  2. Suzuki T, Morita M, Kobayashi Y, Kamimura A. Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2016;13:6. doi:10.1186/s12970-016-0117-z. – Link
  3. Figueroa A, Wong A, Jaime SJ, Gonzales JU. Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017 Jan;20(1):92-98. – Link
  4. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0. – Link
  5. Cormio L, De Siati M, Lorusso F, Selvaggio O, Mirabella L, Sanguedolce F, Carrieri G. Oral L-citrulline supplementation improves erection hardness in men with mild erectile dysfunction. Urology. 2011 Jan;77(1):119-22. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2010.08.028. – Link