T Nation

Dextrose vs Maltodextrin


I'm wondering which one is better for post-workout,in an already workout drink mix?


Dextrose is sweeet. maltodextrin is tasteless. I use maltodextrin in a weight gainer and dextrose in my PWO because of the taste.

Anyone know the benefits between mixing them and taking them separate?


Ive read in a few places that both should be included in a pwo shake.


PWO I use 50/50 split between the two.


The goal post workout is to digest nutrients (PWO shake) quickly so they are transported to our muscles. This process slows when the ingested fluid contains a high osmolarity concentration. The shorter chain length a carbohydrate has, the higher it raises the solution's osmolarity. A pure glucose (dextrose) solution induces very high concentrations of solute. A combination of dextrose and maltodextrin gives a solution with a decreased osmolarity so glucose will enter the blood as a faster rate.

However, using only maltodextrine for this reason isn't optimal. A solution containing two substrates (in this case maltodexrin and dextrose) stimulates the activation of more transport mechanisms in the intestinal lumen, as opposed to just maltodextrin or dextrose alone. This way more carbohydrates are transported out of the small intestine and absorbed into the blood, leading to faster and greater circulation of carbohydrates.

Hopefully this does a decent job explaining. Feel free to post any questions.


I got a PM and thought I'd answer it here in case others were curious.

Dextrose is a simple sugar. It is an isomer of glucose, D-glucose. D-glucose is found in living organisms while L-glucose is not. The D enantiomer rotates light to the right, while the L enantiomer rotates light to the left. The Latin expression 'dexter' meaning 'right' was used in calling 'D-glucose' 'Dextrose.'

Maltodextrin is a chain of maltodextrin. While maltodextrin is technically classified as a complex carb because of the number of dextrose molecules chained together, it is digested almost nearly as fast as dextrose. This is because the hydrogen bonds linking the dextrose molecules within maltodextrin are very weak, allowing the body to quickly and easily break them apart during processing.

Both have very fast digestion rates. While adding both to a shake might increase the speed at which glucose is taken up by the muscles, I doubt it's that big of a deal for most people. But if you're looking for that little extra edge, and you're a nutrition Nazi, this could work for you.

Sorry about getting off track there, but I think it's interesting stuff, but then again I am a nerd. Or warrior nerd as TC put it. It makes being a nerd completely justifiable, and I love it.


Where are you getting your Maltodextrin? I need to fine a good source on line that will send to an APO to get some. I got a dextrose outlet now but as per the pervious post it sounds like adding maltrodextrin is a good idea.


Any Homebrewing shop should carry this. You shouldn't have to pay over $2 per pound.


is there a difference concerning insulin spike?

I would of thought that Malto was easy to come buy in the US. Its very easy to get here in the UK


Cool, didnt know that.

Heres another (very) loosley related nerd fact for you, we get the word sinister from the Latin word 'Sinstra' meaning left cos in those days being left-handed was considered freaky and sinister!!


Yeah, any wine or beermaking store carries this stuff.

As for insulin spike, I'm no nutritionist, but I'd imagine they're similar, as they are absorbed into the bloodstream at a comparable rate.


You'll never notice a difference between the two once they are in your body.
Same goes for a combo mix.


How come Surge just has maltodextrin and no dextrose?


d glucose


Very cool and informative, James. You've done quite a 'decent job explaining'. Thanks.


Excellent description. I wasn't going to read this thread, but I'm glad I did. Very helpful info.


you sound like you have been reading that weird christian bbing forum.

How does maltodextrin /dextrose combination "A solution containing two substrates stimulates the activation of more transport mechanisms in the intestinal lumen" if they are both transported as glucose?


WTF? Christian bodybuilding forums? How does biochemistry relate to that? Anyway, so answer your question, The bonds of the maltodextrin are not broken down until it reaches the small intestine, where various enzymes do this. Amylase, an enzyme found in the saliva designed to break down carbohydrades, will also perform this role, but the maltodextrine isn't in your mouth long enough to completely break down every molecule's bonds.

Further, amylase is denatured in the stomach, so unless you actually chew the complex carbs (in this case maltodexrin) for an extended period (in this case you'd be drinking it), you don't have to worry about this. once maltodexrine is broken down in the small intestine it is converted into the simpler dextrose. Thus, having both in your PWO shake will allow an enhanced carbohydrate uptake into the blood.


Because there is a christian bbing forum using the same bizzare concept that you are using.

I didnt ask this.

Except for the pancreatic amylase that digests the maltodextrin to glucose? but I didnt ask this

No, once maltodextrin is digested, it is dextrose, there is no conversion.

except taking in malto and dextose = glucose

taken up by the same mechanism

not faster, no greater transport mechanisms, becuase its the same substrate.


The digestion rates are so similar I dont think it matters much which your PWO drink has, the osmolarity level you want is obtained with the maltodextrin and the dextrose since it is digested faster is still needed, but I honestly dont know how much of a difference this all makes in the big scheme of things. It is interesting though..