Prevent Disease .com
Watermelon is known to play a role in improving cardiovascular health, but watermelon juice also has ‘excellent’potential as a functional drink to relieve sore muscles in athletes due to high levels of amino acid L-Citrulluine, a new Spanish study testing cyclists reports
A pilot study in 2010 showed that watermelon extracts may be effective at naturally reducing pre-hypertension. The research, led by food scientists at The Florida State University suggested that 6 weeks of L-citrulline extract from watermelon, reduced blood pressure and aortic wave reflection in middle aged individuals with pre-hypertension.
Another study from Purdue University and University of Kentucky showed that mice fed a diet including watermelon juice had lower weight, cholesterol and arterial plaque than a control group.
Scientists have said that watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido. “The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.
This presupposed adequate bioavailability of L-Citrulluine, which occurs at highest levels in watermelons (it also occurs in other melons, squashes, cucumbers and pumpkins) and can be biosynthesized by the human body using other sources.
“This amino acid could be supplied as watermelon juice or as products enriched in citrulline from watermelon extraction. In both cases, it is important to choose watermelon cultivars rich in this amino acid,” Tarazona-Diaz et al. write.
Little interest, until now…
Until recently, the authors add, L-Citrulluine attracted little interest among the nutrition community, due to its status as a non-protein amino acid viewed solely as a metabolic intermediary in the urea cycle.
Introducing their study, the team say its antioxidant properties and ability to generate nitric oxide made it a good candidate for treating conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, atherosclerosis.
Previous studies show it might also be used to treat sickle cell disease and sexual stamina and erectile functions, they add, while other benefits associated with L-Citrulluine intake include better athletic performance due to nitric oxide synthesis and better glucose transport in skeletal muscle.