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Watermelon, Pomegranate, and Citrulline May Help Muscle Damage After Exercise

After intense exercise, muscles suffer damage in order to build new muscle. A recent study suggests that L-citrulline enriched watermelon juice may help reduce muscle soreness and markers of muscle damage after exercise.


Participants in the study included 19 young men between the ages of 18 and 30 who were given one 200 mL dose of one of four drinks: watermelon juice; watermelon juice enriched with citrulline; watermelon and pomegranate juice enriched with citrulline and ellagitannins; or a placebo. After each dose, the men completed eight sets of eight repetitions of half-squat exercise.


Each intervention was followed by a one week washout period, after which the men underwent a different intervention.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that that watermelon, pomegranate, and citrulline combination was associated with significantly less muscle soreness when compared with the placebo. They also noted no muscle soreness 48 hours after the participants took that intervention.


Researchers from Catholic University of Murcia in Spain conducted the study. It was published on May 17, 2017, in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


Recent studies suggest that L-citrulline has antioxidant properties that could be useful in combating hypertension, heart failure, and atherosclerosis. In addition to supplements, L-citrulluine is also found in watermelons, other melons, squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins.


Watermelon is rich in antioxidants and numerous studies have shown it to be good for heart health. It has also been shown to be good for reducing the risk of colon cancer, asthma, arthritis and prostate cancer.


Pomegranates are packed with protective vitamins, and ongoing research is investigating their ability to improve heart health, reduce cholesterol, reduce joint pain and possibly reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

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