Athletes all over the world – professionals and amateurs alike – for the most part fully understand the importance and value in consuming just as much protein as they can basically stomach on a day to day basis.
Protein is a huge piece of the puzzle when it comes to overall athletic performance, when it comes to building new lean muscle mass, repairing injured lean muscle mass, fueling athletic performance and activity, flooding your body with energy – and that’s all just the tip of the iceberg of what protein is capable of.
At the same time, though, there are some athletes out there that either do not buy in to protein for one reason or another or just aren’t able to eat it for specific dietary reasons, religious reasons, etc.
This obviously puts them at a significant disadvantage when it comes to their athletic capabilities stacked up against athletes that are consuming a lot of protein, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to be able to fuel themselves through smart dietary choices.
Common wisdom says that without protein you’re just not the athlete you could be however, researchers working out of the Mayo Clinic in the United States have recently published a paper in Clinical Nutrition showing that this may not be the case if you are consuming plenty of L-Citrulline in combination with a low protein diet.
Before we dig deeper into the findings of this research, it’s important to highlight where it began and where this theory was cooked up in the first place.
For a number of years now researchers have been conducting animal studies to determine how L-Citrulline supplementation actually works to protect muscle mass break down when those animals are eating low-calorie diets.
Scientists and researchers the world over understand that L-Citrulline does work to protect and insulate muscular degeneration and wasting with low-calorie diets. That is not disputed.
What they don’t fully understand this particular point injunction, though, is why L-Citrulline specifically is so effective at protecting lean muscle mass when folks are eating low-calorie diets – or why it works even better at not only protecting lean muscle mass but even building new lean muscle mass when athletes are eating low protein diets.
That’s what the researchers at the Mayo Clinic set out to figure out and that’s what their groundbreaking new research report shines a light on.
Working with eight individual athletic subjects that were asked to consume a low protein diet for three days (0.7 g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day), on the fourth day the same individuals were given between 11 g and 24 g of L-Citrulline combined with their low protein intake.
Researchers then analyzed the data that they received from this experimentation, seeing almost immediately that the introduction of L-Citrulline significantly increased the overall synthesis of new muscle protein that wasn’t present previously.
At the same time, researchers also discovered that throughout non-muscular tissue there was absolutely zero impact of the extra L-Citrulline on protein synthesis – really highlighting the fact that L-Citrulline in combination with a low protein diet only improves protein synthesis when it comes to your musculature.
For obvious reasons or examination is necessary to really understand how L-Citrulline works to protect, preserve, and even repopulate new muscular tissue in combination with low-calorie and low-protein diets – but right now we know that that’s exactly what’s going on.
Admittedly, the research study was rather limited and very short-term but we are only just barely beginning to scratch the surface of this new discovery. For now, it’s not a bad idea for athletes to be supplementing with extra L-Citrulline if they are consuming lower quantities of protein, that’s for sure.