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Default 11-20-2005, 02:41 PM

Dextrose & Maltodextrin

This is a comprehensive analysis on the application of dextrose,
maltodextrin, water, and sodium for post workout nutrition. Below is an
outline that will allow you to instantaneously access whatever aspect
of the article you seek to examine:

Introduction to Gastric emptying and Osmolarity

What is Dextrose

What is Maltodextrin

Hydrogen Bonds/Digestion process

Importance of consuming a combination of Maltodextrin & Dextrose

Importance of water

What Hyponatremia is and how to avoid it

Glucose/Sodium transport system

For a complete review on this important meal, click the following link, The Window of Opportunity.

Introduction to Gastric emptying and Osmolarity

In the near future, we will do a complete breakdown on both these
important physiological occurrences. But for now, here is a general
overview, as it pertains to the article:


Gastric emptying - the process of digesting and emptying food out of the stomach.


Osmolarity - the concentration of particles in a solution.

How to speed gastric emptying, and what levels of osmolarity are
optimal in a given solution will be discussed. But first, two
carbohydrates, dextrose and maltodextrin, will be analyzed.


Dextrose, commonly called glucose, d-glucose, or blood sugar, occurs
naturally in food, and is moderately sweet. It is a monosaccharide
(basic unit of carbohydrates, C6H1206) and has a high glycemic index
(digested carbohydrates ability to raise blood glucose levels, also
called Gl) ranking at 100.


Maltodextrin is a sweat, easily digested carbohydrate made from
cornstarch. The starch is cooked, and then acid and/or enzymes (a
process similar to that used by the body to digest carbohydrates) are
used to break the starch into smaller chains (3-20 chains in
maltodextrin). These chains are composed of several dextrose molecules
held together by very weak hydrogen bonds.

To clarify, carbohydrates are molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen
produced by plants through photosynthesis. The term saccharide is a
synonym for carbohydrate; a monosaccharide (mono=1) is the fundamental
unit of carbohydrates. Disaccharides (Di=2) are molecules containing 2
monosaccharide units. Di and monosaccharides are also known as sugars,
simple sugars, or simple carbohydrates. Next are oligosaccharides, and
polysaccharides. Oligosaccharides are made of 3-9 monosaccharide links.
Polysaccharides consist of 10 to thousands of monosaccharide links. A
complex carbohydrate refers to many monosaccharide units linked
together. In addition, you will often hear the terms “long”, and
“short” carbohydrate chains. Short carbohydrate chains are those under
10 sugar molecules. And long chains are those over 10 sugar molecules.
Which fits in conjunction with the above terms, Oligosaccharides and

Dextrose is labeled a simple carbohydrate and Maltodextrin complex. And
now this should make perfect sense. But don’t be fooled by the word,
“complex.” The bonds that compose maltodextrin are very weak, and
readily broken apart in your stomach; moreover, the chain is extremely
minimal in composition. The weak bonds, and fragile composition of
maltodextrin cause it to be digested a fraction slower than dextrose.
Why this is so and what exactly hydrogen bonds are will be assessed

Hydrogen Bonds/Digestion process

A covalent bond is defined as atoms, which are held together by their
mutual attraction for sharing electrons. Co is for sharing, and valent
refers to valance electrons that are shared. Covalent bonds tend to
form from atoms in the upper right of the periodic table, know as
nonmetallic elements (with the exception of noble gases, which are the
last group of the periodic table to the right. These elements are very
stable and tend not to form bonds.) Now, electro negativity is an
atom’s ability to pull electrons toward itself when bonded. Electro
negativity is greatest for elements at the upper right of the periodic
table, and lowest for elements at the lower left. Noble gases again are
not included, because primarily they do not participate in chemical
bonding. To represent this, scientists use what is called a dipole
(pronounced die-pole) to say a side is slightly negative, or slightly
positive, because it has more or less electrons around itself. A bond
with a dipole (remember, di=2, 2 poles) is classified as a polar bond.
The higher amount of difference in electro negativity in the bonds, the
more polar the atom is (greater charge difference).

Electrical attractions are based on polarity between particles; they
tend to be very weak. The kind discussed today is called a
dipole-dipole attraction, which is defined as an attraction between two
polar molecules. In particular, one of the strongest dipole-dipole
attractions, known as the hydrogen bond will be analyzed. This
attraction occurs between molecules that have a hydrogen atom
covalently bonded to a highly electronegative atom--typically nitrogen,
oxygen or fluorine. In the case of maltodextrin, this is an H-O bond.
The strength of a hydrogen bond is based on two factors:

1. The strength of the dipoles involved (which depends on the
difference in electro negativity for the two atoms in either polar

2. How strongly nonbonding electrons on one molecule can attract a hydrogen atom on a nearby molecule.

Recent research has revealed that a small amount of electron sharing
occurs between the hydrogen and the nonbonding pair. Because electron
sharing is the definition of covalent bonds, the hydrogen bond is
correctly named a covalent bond. However, any hydrogen bond is many
times weaker than the typical covalent bond; therefore, it is also
appropriate to think of the hydrogen bond not as a bond, but as a very
strong dipole-dipole attraction between separate molecules. When
confronted with the proper enzymes, this bond has no chance, and is
easily separated from the above attractions. Which leads to the next
subject, digestion.

Maltodextrin digestion starts right when it enters the mouth. The
salivary glands, located along the base of the jaw (there are actually
three specific glands here - parotid, submandibular and sublingual),
continually secrete lubricating mucus substances that mingle with food
particles during chewing. The enzyme salivary amylase (ptyalin) breaks
the hydrogen bonds between the repeating glucose units, beginning the
reduction of maltodextrin into smaller linked glucose molecules. When
the food-saliva mixture enters the more acidic stomach, breakdowns in
the chains from enzymatic action quickly cease because salivary amylase
deactivates under conditions of low pH (lower pH means more acidity).
After this, food enters the small intestine, and encounters pancreatic
amylase, a powerful enzyme released from the pancreas. This enzyme, in
conjunction with other enzymes, completes hydrolysis (catabolism of
larger molecules into smaller ones the body can absorb. Done by enzymes
and water) of maltodextrin into smaller chains of glucose molecules.
Finally, enzyme action on the surfaces of the cells of the intestinal
lumen's brush border completes the final stage of carbohydrate
digestion to monosaccharides. Due to the weak nature of these hydrogen
bonds, this is a swift process. In addition, the shorter the chains,
the quicker these molecules are separated. Therefore, maltodextrin at
3-20 monosaccharide links, is very easily digested. Once absorbed from
the small intestines into the bloodstream, the body uses glucose for 3
potential tasks:

1. Given directly to muscle cells for energy.

2. Stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver.

3. Converted to fat for energy storage. (Again see Window of Opportunity for how to eliminate option three)

As stated earlier, scientists simply try and mimic this process when
breaking down starches to maltodextrin. Actually, as one ventures
further in the studies of chemistry, biology, endocrinology, and such
like, they will see this is commonly the case.

Importance of consuming a combination of Maltodextrin & Dextrose

After reading Old School’s excellent article on post workout nutrition,
the reader is now aware of the importance of consuming easily digested,
high Gl carbohydrates at this time. But the question is, why a
combination of dextrose and maltodextrin? Both are high in Gl rating,
and easily digested right? True, but there is more logic than Gl rating
to stacking these two powerhouses. Read on for the answer.

Beginning with the first concept discussed called, “gastric emptying.”
Our goal post workout is to maintain a prompt digestion rate so
nutrients can transport swiftly and efficiently to our muscles. With
that said, it has been shown that this process slows when the ingested
fluid contains a high osmolarity concentration (the second concept
studied). Osmolarity is dependent on the number of particles in a
solution. That is, a100-milliliter solution with 20 glucose molecules
will have a higher osmolarity then a100-millileter solution that only
contains 10 molecules. The shorter chain length a carbohydrate has, the
higher it raises the solution's osmolarity. Therefore, it is no
surprise that a pure glucose solution (or dextrose, a monosaccharide)
induces very high concentrations of solute (1,3,10).

Fortunately these negative effects become greatly reduced when the
drink contains a glucose polymer stacked with dextrose. However, a
carbohydrate that is easily digested, and has a high Gl is still
desired. Hence, a combination of dextrose and maltodextrin is advised.
Osmolarity will be decreased, and glucose will still enter the blood
stream at a proficient rate, thus maintaining its anabolic nature (1,3).

A second factor concerning osmolarity must now be examined. From a
clinical standpoint, it is vital to take into consideration the fact
that plasma (the liquid portion of blood) has an Osmolarity of 300
mOsm. This means that if one were to inject a solution with a greater
concentration of solute into their blood, it would cause water from
inside their red blood cells to leave by Osmosis (water always travels
down its concentration gradient) and move into the plasma, in turn
shrinking the erythrocytes (red blood cells). This is because the cells
are iso-osmotic to the plasma (both have the same concentration of
solute) (11).

A similar concept can be applied to your post workout meal. If a
competitor were to consume a solution that was hypertonic or had a
higher concentration of solute then 300 mOsm, it could dehydrate them
(showing why digestion is rightfully slowed in a high concentrated
solution). The addition of maltodextrin once again solves this problem

The next question is, why not just use maltodextrin, and eliminate
dextrose since it is so proficient? Ah, once again it is not that
simple. Shi. X et al. in an outstanding study, tested the digestive
effects of two substrates (any substance acted upon by an enzyme) as
opposed to only one substrate in the small intestine. What they found
was quite fascinating. The solution containing two substrates
stimulated the activation of more transport mechanisms in the
intestinal lumen, than did its singular counterpart. Therefore, more
carbohydrates were transported out of the small intestine (absorbed
into the blood), which additionally aided a greater absorption rate of
water into the blood stream (by osmosis). Thus, the higher activation
rate of transport mechanisms, even with higher osmolarity facilitated
faster energy uptake and hydration (12)!

One of these mechanisms is the glucose/Sodium co transport system
(discussed in further detail shortly). When a proper amount of sodium
and glucose are combined, an even greater amount of glucose is
absorbed, and in turn, a higher rate of H20 is absorbed. Thus, dextrose
increases fluid uptake, and contributes to blood glucose maintenance.
Which in turn helps spare liver and muscle glycogen from being depleted

As discussed in the Window of Opportunity, these factors make dextrose
and maltodextrin the perfect post workout combo. One can purchase both
of these in pure form from a local grocery store, or the Internet.

Importance of water

Gastric emptying is greatly influenced by its volume. Emptying rate
decreases exponentially as fluid volume is depleted. Therefore, an
effective way to speed gastric emptying is by maintaining high fluid
volumes in the stomach. This will also optimize nutrient passage into
the intestines. About 500 mL of water immediately before training
(spread through a 30 minute time span), and 200 mL every 15-20 minutes
(about the rate at which fluids are drained during intense training
sessions) of the workout has been recommended to maintain high water
levels in your stomach. For optimal hydration, consume a 92% water
solution in your post-workout shake. To calculate this, divide the
carbohydrate content (in grams) by the fluid volume (in millimeters),
and multiply by 100. Thus if you consumed 80 grams of carbohydrates in
1 L of water (1000 mL) you would be having 8% carbohydrates, and 92%
H2O (1,3,4,10).

Another reason to frequently drink water is avoidance of dehydration.
To name a few reasons why, dehydration reduces circulatory and
temperature-regulating capacities, which meet metabolic needs and
thermal demands of exercise, and recovery (8,9). The effects of this
can further reduce blood flow to the skin for more effective cooling.
For much more, read, Effect of Plasma Volume on Myofibril Hydration,
Nutrient Delivery, and Athletic Performance and Thermoregulation:
Physiological Responses and Adaptations to Exercise in Hot and Cold

What Hyponatremia is and how to avoid it

Hyponatremia occurs when plasma sodium concentrations fall below normal
levels in the body, and severe symptoms are triggered. Lighter symptoms
are headaches, nausea, cramping, and confusion. Ultimately, this may
lead to seizures, coma, pulmonary edema, and even death! These fatal
conditions usually pertain to long distance runners, consuming large
amounts of water with little or no sodium contained, and training in
stifling heat. Non-the-less, bodybuilders are still at risk, especially
during cutting season when cardio and posing hours are at a high point.
As such, I would highly recommend using sodium post workout, not only
to avoid any minor (much likelier to occur) or major side symptoms, but
also for its anabolic effects (5,7,8).

Editors Note: From Venom's description you can see why sodium depletion
pre-contest can be dangerous if not done correctly. Quite frankly it
usually is done incorrectly. Such a concept is worthy of a future
hyperplasia magazine article.

Sodium is the most abundant ion in the extra cellular space (outside of
cells). Adding a small amount has several benefits, such as:

1. Reduces urine output by maintaining osmotic drive (prevents water
from leaving, going out, or coming into cell to rapidly, maintaining
even flow). Moreover, this will promote thirst, and fluid retention
during recovery, further amplifying hydration.

2. Helps prevent hyponatremia by keeping sodium levels stable.

3. Helps maintain proper osmolarity levels.

4. Enhanced co transport efficiency.

In general, it is recommend to have 500-600 mg of sodium per liter of
solution after a workout, the solution being the recommended amount of
water and carbohydrates to consume at this time (6,7). For more read,
Sodium - A comprehensive Analysis

Glucose/Sodium transport system

Earlier in the article, the sodium/glucose co transport mechanism was
discussed. This concept falls under the heading of secondary active
transport. Primary active transport takes place via a pumping system.
Each cell contains proteins which break down ATP into ADP + P + Energy,
and uses the products to power the pump. The Sodium/Potassium Atpase,
pumps three sodium's out of the cell, and only two potassium's into it.
This makes sodium’s concentration higher on the outside of the cell.
Additionally, the inside of the cell is more negatively charged than
the outside. Sodium is a positively charged ion, and attracted to the
negative area. It has been pumped against its electrochemical gradient
(concentration is greater outside of the cell and more negative). Thus,
Na+ (sodium) will now move back into the cell.

There are proteins within a cell membrane, which act to transport
glucose. However, the binding site for glucose has a low affinity for
it, unless sodium is bound to it. Due to the electrochemical gradient,
sodium enters a binding site specific for it on the protein, and when
it does so, the protein changes its shape (allosteric reaction), so
that sodium can now bind, and be transported into the cell. This is
called co transport because two substances are transported into the
cell together; and secondary active transport because it takes
advantage of the concentration gradient set up by the primary
mechanism. Therefore, by taking in the proper amount of sodium, one
increases the concentration gradient outside of the cell, and
therefore, increases sodium's ability to bind to transport proteins. In
doing so, one not only increase glucose absorption, but as pointed out,
you also further increase water uptake across the luminal membrane of
the intestine.


Post workout is not any easy meal to get in. But with your new found
understanding on the physiological aspects, and undeniable benefits of
this anabolic monster, I hope you have been motivated to equip yourself
with the dedication to get the job done.
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Default 11-24-2005, 10:03 AM

Good article
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Default 11-24-2005, 11:56 AM

i only bring the best

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