Response of exercise-onset vasodilator kinetics to L-citrulline supplementation during different phases of the menstrual cycle

Joaquin U. Gonzales, Stephen M. Fischer, Arun Maharaj, Heather Vellers, Todd Anderson, Adcharee Karnjanapiboonwong, Seenivasan Subbiah, J. M. Kellawan, Arturo Figueroa

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The purpose of this study was to determine whether L-citrulline (CIT) supplementation during the follicular and luteal phases of the menstrual cycle would present differential effects on vasodilator kinetics in dynamically contracting muscle. Twenty-four women were studied during the follicular (day 15 after onset of menses, n = 13) or the luteal phase (day 25 after onset of menses, n = 11). Supplementation with CIT (6g/day) or placebo occurred 7-days prior to testing in a crossover design across two menstrual cycles. Forearm vascular conductance (FVC) was calculated from blood flow and mean arterial pressure measured continuously during handgrip exercise performed at 10% maximal grip strength. FVC was calculated for each duty cycle (contract:relax, 1:2s) and expressed as a change from baseline (ΔFVC) before being fit with a monoexponential model. Amplitude of the ΔFVC response and the number of duty cycles for ΔFVC to reach 63% of steady-state amplitude (τΔFVC) were derived from the model. Analysis of variance showed no difference in the amplitude of ΔFVC between CIT and placebo (p =.45) or between menstrual cycle phases (p =.11). Additionally, τΔFVC was not different (p =.35) between CIT and placebo in women tested during the follicular (6 ± 3 versus 5 ± 3 duty cycles) or luteal phase (9 ± 1 versus 8 ± 1 duty cycles) although τΔFVC was found to be slower for women tested during the luteal as compared to the follicular phase (8 ± 4 versus 5 ± 3 duty cycles, p =.02). These results indicate that exercise-onset vasodilator kinetics is unaltered with CIT supplementation in young healthy women irrespective of menstrual cycle phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14536
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • blood flow
  • l-citrulline
  • menstrual cycle
  • vasodilator kinetics


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