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Dextrose is a 6 carbon sugar D-glucose and it is classed as a simple sugar. It is a monosaccharide and an immediate source of energy that is included in many sports recovery and performance drinks. Glucose, sucrose and maltose are also known as monosaccharides.
Dextrose is created on a commercial scale by synthesising starch from foods such as corn, wheat and rice.
It can be used to boost energy levels before, during and post work outs and is suitable for anyone training or competing.
This article will discuss the benefits associated with supplementing with dextrose and how it boosts energy which is essential to improving your training regime.
The benefits of Dextrose for high intensity exercise
Dextrose is the simplest form of carbohydrate and is absorbed quickly into your bloodstream via the walls of the intestines. This causes a larger influx of blood glucose levels and a rapid spike in your insulin levels to counteract this process.
This quick boost of energy is beneficial to bodybuilders and its impact of sparing muscle glycogen is well documented.
This mechanism increases the amount of overall energy available and boosts the amount of time to exhaustion.
Dextrose also maintains and sustains blood glucose levels and this is important in high intensity activities, to keep a constant flow of energy to the working muscles.
Research has indicated that dextrose is much better at maintaining blood sugar than using solely water and other simple carbs such as ribose.
In addition to maintaining blood sugar levels, supplementing with dextrose improves hydration levels and a dip of 10-12% hydration can impair performance drastically.
The benefits of Dextrose for recovery
After a strenuous bout of high intensity exercise, your muscle and liver glycogen are partially or fully depleted.
To help with your recovery it is essential that you replace the glycogen that has been used when exercising. You replenish your stores quickly and in the short term simple carbs such as dextrose are imperative in effectively performing this task within the body.
Research has indicated that by glycogen levels are replenished over 250% quicker than using protein on its own post exercise. However, the re-synthesis of glucose was even quicker when dextrose and proteins were combined post exercise.
This highlights that good practice to aid recovery post exercise is to add some dextrose or simple carbs into your protein shake, as this speeds up the recovery process significantly.
Dextrose benefits creatine absorption
By adding 18 g of dextrose to your creatine supplement will cause a spike in your insulin levels which helps to increase the amount of creatine absorbed by your skeletal muscles.
This stacking of supplements is very important, as it will boost energy levels and give you some serious muscle gains.
Most people who take lifting weights seriously have tried creatine, and it is a highly researched and effective supplement.
Creatine is found naturally in the body; it helps to supply energy to the muscle cells for explosive bouts of power/movement via break down of ATP into creatine phosphate.
Research has shown that creatine can enhance strength, muscle mass, recovery times, reduce fatigue and enables you to pump out longer sets along with more reps.
Creatine works primarily on the fast twitch type 2b muscle fibres; providing those with immediate energy and ensuring that these muscle types do not fatigue prematurely.
This strengthens the muscular contraction of these fast twitch fibres and enables the athletes to have more anaerobic power for a longer duration.
This has a massive increase in performance power athletes/weight trainers via the increase storage capacity of creatine within the muscle, aiding maximal power output, power output duration and recovery times.
Improved recovery may also be evident when taking this supplement due to a decrease in cell damage/inflammation within the muscle.
However, although there is an increase in the creatine storage within the muscle; everyone has a ceiling or upper limit of storage and could be a catalyst to how much progress that you make in muscle gains/strength.
Dextrose side effects
Used in large dosages continuously over a prolonged period of time can cause insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is a decreased ability for the cells of the body to respond to the normal actions of insulin.
The cells within the body become resistant to insulin, and are unable to utilise it effectively. This can lead to hyperglycaemia and/or high blood sugars.
During hyperglycaemia insulin levels will be elevated, leading to the conversion of the excess blood sugars to other substances such as glycoproteins and free fatty acids. This has a knock on effect in the pancreas with more insulin being produced to regulate the blood sugars; this state within the body can be a catalyst for hyperinsulinemia.
This condition occurs when there are excess levels of circulating insulin in the blood and is known as the pre-diabetic insulin resistance. It can cause elevated free fatty acids, reduced muscle glucose uptake and increased liver glucose production all contribute to high levels of blood glucose. These are all key contributing factors to heart disease and type 2 diabetes!
A key function of insulin is to drive the glucose into the body’s cells and to provide them with energy.
However, insulin resistance in muscle and fat reduces the glucose uptake and this causes blood sugars to rise; insulin resistance in the liver has a reduced rate of glycogen synthesis and storage.
Consequently, glucose production is slowed down and released into the blood instead of being stored in the liver, this places added pressure on the liver.
Use Dextrose safely and stick to the 0.15 grams per kg of body weight, of simple sugars before, during and post exercise.
It does boost energy levels and is great when stacked with creatine. However, excessive prolonged use can cause insulin resistance which is a gateway to many metabolic conditions.
Use with care and the training benefits and muscle gains will be evident.