Cyclic Dextrin – The Next Rage in Designer Carbohydrates 

What is Cyclic Dextrin?

Cyclic dextrins (cyclodextrins or highly branched cyclic dextrins (HBCDs) are a specific group type of carbohydrate that are essentially six to eight molecules of dextrose (glucose) chemically bonded together in the shape of a ring. Chemically speaking, cyclic dextrin is not too different in chemical components to maltodextrin. However, maltodextrin is arranged in a linear fashion, and not a ring. This ring structure is what gives cyclic dextrin some benefits you will not find with maltodextrin or other common carbohydrates.  Cyclic Dextrin has an average molecular weight of 160,000 Da, so they have an extremely low osmolality in solution and a rapid gastric emptying time. (*Compare Cyclic to dextrose, which has a molecular weight of around 180 Da!) The highly branched/cyclical structure of HBCDs also provides a rapid, but much sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream.  When Cluster Dextrin forms the energy foundation of a sports drink, its high-solubility and fast gastric emptying time bring it rapidly to the small intestine, there to break down and enter the bloodstream, while maintaining high blood sugar levels, and not inhibiting the burning of body fat. This makes it the most appropriate supplement yet developed for use in drinks supporting high endurance activities.

Cyclic Dextrin Benefits

All serious athletes know the importance of carbohydrates. They are a primary fuel source, are needed to replace muscle glycogen, and are essential for optimal performance. However, carbohydrates behave very differently depending on their properties. When cyclic dextrin is ingested, they behave in various ways that are beneficial to exercise performance, endurance , and bodybuilding.  Earlier studies involving the benefits of cyclic dextrin in exercise was performed with mice. It was shown that when highly branched cyclic dextrin was fed to mice, it was able to pass through the stomach quicker, and increased swimming endurance compared to either water or glucose solutions. Furthermore, this was done with a smaller spike in blood glucose levels, indicating a more sustained energy release (Takii et al, 1999). The same team of Japanese scientists later confirmed their findings with human subjects, showing equally positive results (Takii et al, 2004; Takii et al, 2005). The  researchers determined, through urinalysis of athletes who had used beverages containing Cluster Dextrin, that upon completion of a duathlon (a series comprising a 5-kilometer run, followed by 40 kilometers of cycling and another 5-kilometer run) the level of interleukin content present [(IL)-8, (IL)-10, (IL)-12p40] was significantly diminished, compared to those who used glucose-based drinks.  Their analysis revealed that Cluster Dextrin attenuated the release of stress hormones, including cytokines, induced by physical activity, far more than glucose, proving its effectiveness in reducing the depredating effect that vigorous exercise has on the immune system. The net result is an improvement in overall athletic conditioning and performance.


Most sports drinks contain carbs with a low molecular weight. These enter the bloodstream quickly, and the body responds by rocketing insulin secretion which, in turn, obstructs the burning of fat. High molecular weight Cyclic Dextrin degrades slowly, balancing insulin secretion with lipid breakdown.  Cyclic also contributes to accelerated muscle building, because carbs help in the development of sarcoplasm, the cytoplasm of striated muscle fiber. Its high efficiency in delivering energy and building muscle, fighting fatigue, and moving to the small intestine quickly, make it a very nice fit with in Muscle Elements pre-workout PreCre™.  The combination of 5 gm of cyclic dextrin with the 5 gms of creatine addresses the desired pump and muscular endurance you are looking for and expect throughout your workout. This combination promotes super glycogen compensation for fatigue resistance and glycogen flooded muscle cells that will produce long lasting muscle fullness and pumps!