Is Highly Branched Cluster Dextrin the best carbohydrate for your body?
Cluster Dextrin or HBCD is an advanced type of maltodextrin. It is more soluble and is absorbed more easily by the body than any other carb sources. HBCD is considered a far superior source of carbs compared to other types of GI carbs like maltodextrin and dextrose as it provides a sustained increase in energy levels without causing spikes in the blood glucose and/or insulin levels.
HBCD has a high molecular weight and low osmolarity, which helps to increase gastric emptying. This essentially means that the HCBD will remain for a much lesser time in your stomach as compared to regular carbohydrates and is absorbed by your intestines and sent to the muscles more quickly.
HBCD became a rage in the supplement world in 1999 after a study in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry Journal revealed that when administered HBCD, mice showed greater swimming endurance compared to when they were given glucose. It was seen that HBCD produced energy levels that were more stable, enhanced endurance, and had lesser insulin spikes. More recent studies in humans have shown HBCD to decrease perceived exertion and significantly increase time to exhaustion.
HBCD is a specialized type of cyclic dextrin which is formed when enzymes are used to break down amylopectin. The enzymes convert the starches into clusters that are then converted into longer chains by using additional branching enzymes.
Simple carbs such as waxy maize, dextrose, etc. are typically used as workout supplements. However, they are not really ideal choices when it comes to being a carb source for intra workouts. These carbs usually have a high osmolarity that triggers the osmoreceptors in the small intestine in order to delay gastric emptying.
Carbohydrates such as simple sugars are usually absorbed in the small intestine and anything which causes a delay of their entry into the small intestine causes a delay in the insulin spike and carrying of the nutrients to the muscles. As in the case of pre and intra-workout nutrition, apart from the carbohydrates getting delayed in getting to the muscles, the various other compounds like creatine, beta-alanine, betaine, etc. and the amino acids are also delayed.
This is where HBCD is beneficial. Its increased molecular weight and decreased osmolarity cause it to be an extremely quickly digesting carb which is absorbed rapidly and sent to the muscles equally as fast. And the faster the carbs and the essential amino acids reach your muscles, the better the workout and quicker the recovery.
HBCD is essentially a supplement that is designed for gradual and sustained release of energy that will let you work out for longer time periods before you experience fatigue. While other forms of carbs provide energy, because of its unique molecular structure, HCBD is different. It releases energy gradually into your bloodstream that aids in keeping the levels of blood sugar and insulin in control. Maintaining a stable glucose level is not only important for athletes but is extremely important for your overall health. Having a stable and constant energy supply not only enables your body to perform efficiently but also to be healthier, and enables you to be more active and productive.