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Cyclodextrin: The new superstar among carbohydrates

General information about cyclodextrin

From a chemical point of view, cyclodextrin belongs to the family of cyclic oligosaccharides. These in turn consist of a macrocyclic ring of glucose subunits linked by glycosidic α-1,4 bonds. A distinction can be made between

α (alpha)-cyclodextrin: 6 glucose subunits
β (beta)-cyclodextrin: 7 glucose subunits
γ (gamma)-cyclodextrin: 8 glucose subunits

Production of cyclodextrin

Cyclic dextrin is produced using a unique enzyme process that breaks down starch into a cluster structure. Essentially, this creates a superior carbohydrate that is more easily absorbed by the body while maintaining the gradual release of starch.

The result is a carbohydrate that helps you train harder, longer, and recover faster. It is therefore often referred to as a high-performance carbohydrate.

These differ from other types of carbohydrates used in sports drinks by some properties.

Cyclodextrin compared to other carbohydrates

A double-blind study was conducted to investigate the difference between cyclodextrin and a conventional carbohydrate drink. For this purpose, 24 healthy subjects were divided into two groups. Group A received a drink containing 15g cyclodextrin, while group B received a drink containing amylopectin (= the main component of natural starch in potatoes).

The completed workout consisted of 30 minutes of cycling at 40% of VO2max and 90 minutes at 60% of VO2max. It was found that perceived exertion was lower in the cyclodextrin group.

Properties of cyclodextrin

  • Good water solubility: Cyclodextrins dissolve well in water, which has the advantage that they require only a small amount of water to dissolve completely in it. This is especially practical for sports drinks, so it is not necessary to consume a large amount of liquid to supply the required carbohydrates.
  • Fast absorption: cyclodextrin can pass through the membrane without much pressure, thats why our body can absorb cyclodextrin quickly.
  • Fast gastric emptying: Gastric emptying plays a major role for athletes as it is related to gastrointestinal problems. Gastrointestinal problems increase with the time spent in the stomach. Gastric emptying of cyclodextrin was studied in this context and the following was found:

As shown in the graph, cyclodextrins behave almost the same as water with regard to gastric emptying. This is a great advantage in terms of compatibility.

How important carbohydrates in general are, we have repeatedly described in our KNOWLEDGE CENTER. Which carbohydrate types there are, we tell you HERE. How many you should eat or drink to optimally supply your training, you can learn HERE.

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