Cyclodextrins are a new type of high performance carbohydrate. They have a number of properties that make them different from other types of carbohydrates and sports drinks. They are used as an intra-workout or peri-workout supplement and beyond.
Benefits of cyclodextrin
Cyclodextrins have different properties such as:
- High molecular weight
- Excellent solubility in water (water solubility)
- Low osmolarity, due to the high molecular weight, which promotes rapid gastric emptying
- Greater resistance to the oxidative and degradative effects of light and heat sources
- Gradual release of glucose into the blood, with a consequent gradual and prolonged increase in glycemia.
These characteristics make the use of cyclodextrins in sport very effective, in fact, cyclodextrin supplements are used in different phases
Cyclodextrins in pre-training
In the pre-training phases, thanks to the prolonged availability of glucose in the blood, they have an ergogenic effect, effective in supporting subsequent athletic performance.
In fact, the ingestion of a single high molecular weight carbohydrate increases the speed of glycogen synthesis and improves the production of work during the subsequent endurance exercise, compared to the ingestion of low molecular weight carbohydrates.
Cyclodextrins during training
During training, cyclodextrins are used to control the oxidative process, delaying the protein degradation that is observed following prolonged physical activity and protecting musculoskeletal structures from inflammatory damage; this can happen in endurance sports where it is right to understand how to manage carbohydrates in endurance.
Some studies, in fact, attribute to the use of complex carbohydrates, such as cyclodextrins, also antioxidant and anti-catabolic activities, useful for preserving muscle integrity and reducing the damage induced by intense exercise.
In post-workout phases, cyclodextrins are used to optimize muscle glycogen recovery, stimulate insulin secretion and amino acid absorption by the muscle, in order to also improve protein synthesis.
One study also investigated the effects of a highly branched cyclodextrin-based sports drink on the cytokine response after endurance exercise. The results suggest that the drink may attenuate the cortisol response and reduce urinary cytokine levels after intense exercise.
Cyclodextrins also differ from other commercially available carbohydrate supplements based on glucose, dextrose or other sugars due to their low osmolarity, which is useful in reducing side effects on the gastrointestinal system, such as nausea, bloating, epigastric pain and diarrhea. generally caused by simpler carbohydrate supplements with higher osmolarity, which draw fluid into the gastrointestinal lumen.
Their ability to gradually release glucose units prevents the occurrence of excessive insulin and/or glycemic spikes, thereby decreasing the risk of incidence of diabetic disease and insulin resistance.
Another single-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial investigated the effect of oral α-cyclodextrin on blood lipoprotein levels in healthy subjects. The study demonstrated improvement in the blood lipid profile, in fact the number of LDL lipoproteins decreased by 10% for subjects treated with α-cyclodextrin compared to placebo. Fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance index also decreased during treatment.