Highly branched cyclic dextrin, known as cluster dextrin, uniquely provides high-performance energy without spiking insulin.* It increases work capacity, decreases stress hormones, increases muscle pumps, and promotes advanced active rehydration.*
- Increases VO2 max time to exhaustion by 70% in elite swimmers (Shirak T, 2015).*
- Makes intense exercise actually feel easier (Furuyashiki T, 2014).*
- Decreases stress hormone levels following exhaustive exercise (Suzuki K, 2014).*
- Provides rapid hydration and nutrient loading without increasing gastric emptying time (Takii H, 2004).*
- Increases endurance to fatigue by 27% over glucose supplementation and doesn't spike insulin in comparison (Takii H, 1999).*
Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD), also known as Cluster dextrin, is an advanced performance carbohydrate. It's formed through the breakdown of amylopectin using enzymes. The enzymes break the amylopectin into clusters, which are then transformed into longer chains using additional branching enzymes.
HBCD is often used in peri-workout nutrition formulas because it drives supraphysiological levels of amino acids and other nutrients into the muscle cell.
Because of its low osmolality, HBCD travels rapidly through the stomach to the small intestine, where they're quickly absorbed and put into action.
And because of its unique molecular shape, HBCD transports amino acids into muscle cells, delaying fatigue, increasing performance and work capacity, and acting as a potent anti-catabolic agent (controlling cortisol).
Shiraki et al. compared highly branched cyclic dextrins to a glucose solution and plain water. The study found that time to exhaustion (high-intensity swimming intervals) was 70% longer in the HBCD group. Blood glucose levels increased significantly in the glucose-only group, but by the fourth interval (out of 10), they quickly dropped to levels similar to the water-only group.
While HBCD slightly raises insulin, it doesn't increase it nearly as much as other rapidly absorbed carbs. That's HBCD's superpower: It's quickly absorbed without spiking insulin, using mechanical-mediated transport to pump nutrients only into working muscles.
- Shiraki T et al. Evaluation of exercise performance with the intake of highly branched cyclic dextrin in athletes. Food Science and Technology Research. 2015 Volume 21 Issue 3 Pages 499-502. DOI: 10.3136/fstr.21.499. ABSTRACT: Highly branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD) is a novel type of maltodextrin with a narrow molecular weight distribution that is produced from starch. In this study, we investigated the effects of HBCD administration on endurance performance. Seven elite swimmers participated in three trials, conducted in random order. In each trial, the subjects received either HBCD, glucose (1.5 g carbohydrate/kg body weight) or water (as a control), and immediately carried out 10 cycles of intermittent swimming consisting of 5 min of swimming at 75% followed by 3 min of rest, and subsequent swimming at 90% to exhaustion. The time to fatigue was about 70% longer in the HBCD trial than that in the glucose and control trials, a significant difference. Plasma glucose in the HBCD group was maintained at higher levels during pre-swimming cycles than that in the glucose or water group. These results suggest that HBCD administration enhances endurance performance.
- Furuyashiki T et al. Effects of ingesting highly branched cyclic dextrin during endurance exercise on rating of perceived exertion and blood components associated with energy metabolism. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2014;78(12):2117-9. DOI: 10.1080/09168451.2014.943654. ABSTRACT: We compared the effect of relatively low doses (15 g) of highly branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD) with that of maltodextrin during endurance exercise on the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) in a crossover, double-blind study of healthy volunteers. The RPE increased during exercise and its increase was significantly less at 30 and 60 min after ingesting HBCD than maltodextrin.
- Suzuki K et al. Effect of a sports drink based on highly-branched cyclic dextrin on cytokine responses to exhaustive endurance exercise. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2014 Oct;54(5):622-30. PMID: 25270782. ABSTRACT: Background: Aim of the present study was to compare the effects of highly branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD) drink with a glucose-based control drink on immunoendocrine responses to endurance exercise. Methods: Using a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled cross-over design, seven male triathletes participated in two duathlon races separated by one month, consisting of 5 km of running, 40 km of cycling and 5 km of running. In the first race, four athletes consumed the HBCD-based drink and three athletes consumed the glucose-based drink. In the second race, three athletes consumed the HBCD-based drink and four athletes consumed the glucose-based drink. We collected blood and urine samples before and after the races to analyze leukocyte count and concentrations of hormones and cytokines. Results: Lymphocyte and neutrophil counts increased significantly after exercise in both trials (P < 0.05), but were not significantly different between the trials. Plasma noradrenalin concentration increased significantly (P < 0.05) during exercise in the glucose trial, but not in the HBCD trial. Plasma concentrations of interleukin (IL)-8 and IL-10 increased significantly during exercise in both trials (P < 0.05) but were not significantly different between the trials. Post-race urinary IL-8, IL-10 and IL-12p40 concentrations were significantly lower in the HBCD trial compared with the glucose trial (P < 0.05), although the plasma concentrations of these cytokines were not significantly different between both trials. Conclusion: These results suggest that the HBCD-based drink may attenuate the stress hormone response, and reduce the urinary cytokine levels following exhaustive exercise.
- Takii H et al. Fluids containing a highly branched cyclic dextrin influence the gastric emptying rate. Int J Sports Med. 2005 May;26(4):314-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-820999. ABSTRACT: The rates of gastric emptying for highly branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD) and other carbohydrate (CHO) solutions were examined using ultrasonograph techniques. Ten healthy volunteers ingested water, physiological saline, or solutions containing various CHO, such as HBCD, glucose, maltose, sucrose, and commercially available dextrin. After a subject drank one of the solutions, the relaxed cross-sectional area of the pylorus antrum was measured at rest by real-time ultrasonography. The time required for gastric emptying was correlated with the relaxed cross-sectional area of the pylorus antrum. Among all of the solutions tested, physiological saline was transferred fastest from the stomach to the small intestine. For solutions of the same CHO, 5% solution was transferred faster than 10% solution. For CHO solutions other than HBCD, a low osmotic pressure was associated with rapid transfer from the stomach. The gastric emptying time (GET) of HBCD solution increased with an increase in its concentration. A shorter GET was observed for the CHO solutions at 59 to 160 mOsm regardless of their concentration. A sports drink based on 10% HBCD adjusted to 150 mOsm by the addition of various minerals, vitamins, and organic acids was evacuated significantly (p < 0.05) faster than a 10% HBCD solution or a sports drink based on 10% commercially available dextrin (DE16), which has a higher osmotic pressure (269 mOsm). Our results suggest that a shorter GET could be achieved with CHO solutions with osmotic pressures of 59 - 160 mOsm. Therefore, a sports drink based on 10% HBCD adjusted to 150 mOsm by the addition of minerals, vitamins, and organic acids could supply adequate quantities of CHO, fluid, and minerals simultaneously in a short time, without increasing GET.
- Takii H et al. Enhancement of swimming endurance in mice by highly branched cyclic dextrin. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 1999 Dec;63(12):2045-52. DOI: 10.1271/bbb.63.2045. ABSTRACT: We investigated the ergogenic effect in mice of administering highly branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD), a new type of glucose polymer, on the swimming endurance in an adjustable-current swimming pool. Male Std ddY mice were administered a HBCD, a glucose solution or water via a stomach sonde 10 min before, 10 min after or 30 min after beginning swimming exercise, and were then obliged to swim in the pool. The total swimming period until exhaustion, an index of the swimming endurance, was measured. An ergogenic effect of HBCD was observed at a dose of 500 mg/kg of body weight, whereas it had no effect at a dose of 166 mg/kg of body wt (p < 0.05). The mice administered with the HBCD solution 10 min after starting the exercise were able to swim significantly longer (p < 0.05) than the mice who had ingested water or the glucose solution. The rise in mean blood glucose level in the mice administered with HBCD, which was measured 20 min after starting swimming, was significantly lower (p < 0.05) than that in the mice administered with glucose, although it was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that in the mice administered with water. The mean blood insulin rise in the mice given HBCD was significantly lower (p < 0.05) than that in the mice given glucose. The mice administered with HBCD 30 min after starting the exercise swam significantly longer (p < 0.05) than the mice who had ingested water, although the enhancement of swimming time was similar to that of the glucose-ingesting mice. The gastric emptying rate of the HBCD solution was significantly faster (p < 0.05) than that of the glucose solution. However, this glucose polymer must have spent more time being absorbed because it has to be hydrolyzed before absorption, reflecting a lower and possibly longer-lasting blood glucose level. We conclude that the prolongation of swimming endurance in mice administered with HBCD depended on its rapid and longer-lasting ability for supplying glucose with a lower postprandial blood insulin response, leading to a delayed onset of fatigue.