Exp Physiol 102.12 (2017) pp 1661–1671

<div>l-Citrulline (Cit) increases l-arginine (Arg), the primary substrate for nitric oxide biosynthesis. We tested the hypothesis that muscle blood flow during exercise would be enhanced by Cit supplementation in older adults. Femoral artery blood flow was measured during calf exercise using Doppler ultrasound, and vascular conductance (FVC) was calculated in 25 older adults (13womenand12men) before and after 14days of Cit (6gday−1) and placebo (maltodextrin) in a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. Plasma [Arg] and resting blood pressure were also measured before and after each condition.Women and men were analysed separately because of significant sex-by-condition interactions for the change in exercise blood flow and FVC. Plasma [Arg] was increased by 30 and 35% after Cit (P < 0.01) in women and men, respectively, with no change after placebo. Citrulline lowered diastolic blood pressure in men (75 ± 9 versus 71 ± 6 mmHg, P = 0.02), but this variable remained unchanged in women. Blood flow and FVC during exercise at higher workloads were increased after Cit in men (flow, 521 ±134 versus 584 ± 166 ml min−1, P = 0.04; FVC, 5.0 ± 1.5 versus 5.8 ± 1.7 m, min mmHg−1, P = 0.01) but were not different after placebo. These variables were not altered by Cit in women. Adjusting for baseline diastolic blood pressure removed (P = 0.10) the difference in FBF and FVC following Cit in men. These results indicate that l-citrulline has a modest effect of improving muscle blood flow during submaximal exercise in older men. </div>