Data from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study with male triathletes indicated that adding Glico’s Cluster Dextrin to a sports drink reduced stress-related cytokines after a dualthon, compared with a glucose beverage.
“These results suggests that the stress hormone response can be spared by the external energy supply, and that the intake of highly branched cyclic dextrin might have preventive effects on the stress responses of the body during exhaustive endurance exercise as compared with the glucose drink,” wrote scientists from Waseda University, Ezaki Glico Co., Nihon University School of Medicine, and Kinki University report their findings in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.
The ingredient is said to have three primary attributes: high solubility, fast gastric emptying time, and its ability to enhance stamina by managing blood glucose, said Glico in a release. The high-molecular weight and narrow molecular weight distribution also allow it to swiftly exit the upper gastric tract, according to the company, and this may also help reduce cramping and bloating that may be experienced with other carbohydrate sources.
Ezaki Glico produces Cluster Dextrin using a proprietary enzyme derivation process to yield a cluster-structured glucose polymer.
A spokesperson for the company told us that the ingredient can be used in both foods and dietary supplements and it is already included in sports nutrition products in the US.
The researchers recruited seven male triathletes who participated in two duathlon events one month apart. The events consisted of running 5 kilometers, followed by cycling 40 km, and another run of 5 km. Participants were given either a 5% Cluster Dextrin beverage or a 5% glucose-based beverage in quantities of 200 mL following the running phase, 1,000 nL during the cycling phase, and another 200 mL at the end.
Data from blood and urine analysis indicated that the first and second duathlons led to significant increases in lymphocyte and neutrophil counts, but significant differences were observed between the trials. Specifically, noradrenalin concentrations increased significantly during exercise in the glucose group, but no such increases were observed in the Cluster Dextrin group.
Cytokine concentration, including interleukin-8 (IL-8), IL-10, and IL-12p40, were found to increase with vigorous exercise, with a greater propensity toward inflammation, which hastens fatigue and increases the risk of injury and illness. Data from the trial indicated that the Cluster Dextrin group had lower concentrations of the stress-related cytokines. Additional data from seasoned swimmers supported the the pre- and post-race blood and urine biochemical analyses.
“In conclusion, the present investigation demonstrated that the [highly branched cyclic dextrin]-based drink attenuated plasma catecholamine concentrations and urinary cytokine concentrations such as IL-8, IL-10, and IL12p40, compared with the drink containing the same amount of glucose, suggesting modification of immune system,” they wrote.
“Further research with greater subject numbers is needed to determine the mechanisms by which consuming glucose polymers during exercise influences cytokine kinetics following exercise.”
Glico has also investigated the potential of the ingredient beyond enhancing endurance with internal data indicating that Cluster Dextrin may also improve flavors by masking bitterness, reducing acidity, and helping maintain their aromas longer.
These features enhance its applicability for sports nutrition drinks and formulas, said the company, since branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and citric acid, mainstays of many sports nutrition products, impart flavors that detrimentally affect the palatability of the product. “In Japan, Glico uses Cluster Dextrin in its own Citric Acid & BCAA sports nutrition product to mask the acidity of the former and tame the bitterness of the latter, heightening its flavor appeal,” said the company.
“A great deal of the Cluster Dextrin Glico produces is used in Japan for modifying flavor,” it added.
Data from a ten person tasting panel indicated that adding the Cluster Dextrin ingredient at a level of 2% to a beverage containing BCAA (1.6%) and citric acid (0.75%) significantly improved the drinkability of the product, added the company.
Source: The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Volume 54, Number 5, Pages 622-630, doi:
“Effect of a sports drink based on highly-branched cyclic dextrin on cytokine responses to exhaustive endurance exercise”
Authors: K. Suzuki, K. Shiraishi, K. Yoshitani, K. Sugama, T. Kometani