T Nation

Waxy Maize / Waximaize?

I think the key difference is “osmolarity”…aka the ability to flow into the blood stream (the pace that it happens)

Primaforce makes a pure waxy maize starch product called Carb Slam…I haven’t started using it yet so I can’t comment on its effectiveness

I did a little shameless self promoting in my last post sorry.

But I’ll post something useful this time. This is Justin Harris’ work not mine. It’s long

After a workout, it is important to take in fast acting protein and carbs to begin repairing and rebuilding your hard earned muscle. But, what if there was a way to improve this practice?

Recently, a new player has emerged in the post workout carbohydrate war, high molecular weight carbohydrates. High molecular weight carbohydrates (HMW) have shown great promise in recent studies in a wide range of post workout benefits.

The words most often thrown out when talking about HMW carbohydrates are “gastric emptying” and “osmolality.” These terms essentially go hand in hand with each other. Osmolality, often confused with osmolarity, affects the transport of water and other solutes over the cell membranes. (10) Osmolality is essentially based around the specific osmolality of the blood, which is 280-303 mOsm/kg in humans. A solute that has the same osmolality of blood is said to be isotonic. A solute that has a lower osmolality than blood is hypotonic. The more hypotonic a solution is, the quicker it passes through the stomach into the small intestine where the bulk of energy uptake occurs. (11) Basically, a very low osmolality means it will get to your precious muscle as fast as possible.

The higher the molecular weight of a carbohydrate, the lower it�??s osmolality. The lower the molecular weight of a carbohydrate, the higher it�??s osmolality. So, a carbohydrate�??s molecular weight varies inversely to its osmolality. Knowing this, you can begin to more closely appreciate the difference between HMW carbohydrates and Dextrose. The molecular weight of the typical HMW carbohydrate that is marketed today has a molecular weight of 500,000-700,000. The molecular weight of Dextrose is approximately 180. (11) This stat helps quantify the difference between the two carb sources.

The Osmolality of said HMW carbohydrate is 11 mOsm/kg in a 5% solution., which is considerably lower than the osmolality of blood at 300 mOsm/kg. With an osmolality that low, the HMW carbohydrate is extremely hypotonic, and we know that the more hypotonic a solution is, the quicker it passes through the stomach into the small intestine.(11) This means that the world of carbohydrates, the HMW carbohydrate is a Ferrari Enzo, and Dextrose is your mother�??s Buick Skylark.

In fact, one popular HMW carbohydrate drink has been shown to pass through the stomach 80% faster than dextrose, allowing restoration of glycogen 70% faster than any other carbohydrate.(13) How would you like to like to start rebuilding muscle 70% sooner than you already are after a workout? One study on the subject showed that the mean glycogen synthesis rate was significantly higher for a HMW carbohydrate drink compared to a glucose drink for 2 hours after ingestion, with the scientists coming to the conclusion that “the osmolality of the carbohydrate drink may influence the rate of resynthesis of glycogen in muscle after its depletion by exercise.”(6) What the scientists are saying can be paraphrased as “a HMW carbohydrate will get to your muscles faster than the carbohydrate you�??re using now.” These studies showed that blood sugar levels and insulin levels were not statistically significantly different the HMW carbohydrate and the glucose. So, despite being a complex carbohydrate, compared to the sugary Dextrose, the HMW carbohydrate was still raising insulin at about the same level as Dextrose. So, at this point, what we�??re dealing with is something that powers through the stomach, leaving you with no bloated feeling, reaching the point of digestion at mach speeds, reaches the blood stream as fast as Dextrose, but restores glycogen 70% faster. Sounds too good to be true? It gets better.

What this all leads towards is that the Osmolality of HMW carbohydrates can potentially speed up the rate of glycogen synthesis post workout, as well as increase the uptake of vital nutrients added to the HMW carbohydrate drink. That�??s right, all the stuff you�??ve been taking after your workout, in the hopes of getting it to the muscle, can be sucked up right along with the HMW carbohydrate, faster than ever before. The only problem is, any amino based nutrient (protein, amino acids, creatine, etc.) has a much lower molecular weight than the HMW carbohydrate, so when adding other nutrients you must consider the effect those nutrients will have on the total molecular weight of the mix. So, at least in theory, too much protein, creatine, and other nutrients can take away some of its benefits.

For this reason, it is my belief that added amino based nutrients should be kept to a minimum during ingestion of a HMW carbohydrate drink. My current recommendations for a 200lb bodybuilder are 75g of a HMW carbohydrate mixed with 5g creatine, 8g L-leucine, and 5-10g of BCAA�??s. Since we�??re trying to keep extra nutrients to a minimum, we are focusing on select nutrients that give us the most “bang for our buck.” L-leucine has been shown in studies to be the specific amino acid to “switch on” protein synthesis. And all of the Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA�??s) have been shown to be preferentially taken up by skeletal muscle. Creatine has been shown in many studies to provide many benefits to bodybuilders. This means that the “best” amino acids will be available as quickly as possible to trigger muscle growth, and decrease catabolism.

This meal should be followed approximately 15-30min later with a meal containing protein and complex carbohydrates, preferably a fast digesting liquid protein such as a whey isolate, and some complex carbohydrates.

If you understand the make up of your muscle mass, you will learn that there is much more to the muscle than just contractile tissue. A large portion of your muscle mass area is made up of things besides muscle. There is water, glycogen, minerals, blood vessels, capillaries, etc., etc. By using these HMW carbohydrate powders, you can quickly draw the carbohydrate up into your muscles, along with water, and the cell volumizing nutrients you take along with it. With the faster glycogen restoration, you can decrease catabolism after a workout, and speed up the potential for synthesizing protein as new muscle. In plain English, the result is more muscle.

At the end of the day, we are talking minutia. Seriously, how much better gains are you going to get taking waxy maize versus malto/dextrose? You think its really going to make a difference? I don’t.

Wow, that’s like saying there is no difference between protein powders. In one sense, you are right: minutae is not going to make much difference in beginners, but to advanced lifters, all gains are more difficult to realize and are a result of minute changes in routine, diet, etc.

I’ll second the nod for WMS. One of the few things I disagree with Thibs about. Which probably means I’m wrong, lol, but still.

I thinks it’s important to not mix the WMS with too much protein because it’s important to not detract from the low osmolality (high molecular weight), which is what makes it so effective.

Here is Justin Harris’ protocol for a 250lb. male, which I have utilized with success:

1 scoop anatrop
1 scoop whey isolate, pepto pro, or gemma isolate
2 scoops waxy maize

1 teaspoon anatrop
1 scoop waxy maize
32oz crystal light

1 scoop anatrop
2 scoops whey isolate, pepto pro, or gemma isolate
3 scoops waxy maize

*Anatrop is Justin’s BCAA, additional L-leucine, creatine, and taurine mixture.

I have heard WMS described as firing a cannonball at a net, the net being the BCAAs or the like that you wish to accelerate through the digestive tract and the WMS being the cannonball, obviously.

Finally, here is Justin answering a question about it:

Q: Rob Kreider said at the Arnold strength seminar that we shouldn’t use waxy maize cause it dosn’t create an insulin surge? is this true?

A: I’ve written extensively on this.
Those commenting on waxy maize’s effects on insulin production are, for the most part, speaking on an urelated subject.

Insulin is secreted in response to blood sugar.
100g of carbs will produce a resultant insulin production.

Waxy maize won’t produce the level of insulin surge for reasons that make it BETTER.

The HIGH molecular weight and LOW osmolality of the waxy maize causes a rapid gastric clearance rate. This low osmolality dictates that monosacharides are taken to the blood streams very rapidly. HMW carbs replentish glycogen faster than LMW carbs.

Sugar causes a huge insulin spike…this is good…when it FINALLY happens after 20min of drawing water into your stomach.
By the time if finally gets to the small intestine, waxy maize has already been taken up to the muscle and is stored as glycogen.

Imagine a race with a formula 1 car and a Bentley.

Now, imagine that the formula 1 car has to be put together before it can start the race.
Of course it is faster than the bentley when it finally gets going, but by then, the bentley has already finished the race.

Insulin is very misunderstood by many people.

What makes waxy maize good is its molecular weight.
Measuring molecular weight isn’t a unique or rare phenomenon. Molecular weight is covered in high school chemistry, and every chemistry class after that.
The molecular weight of water would go as this:
Water is 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom.
The atomic weight of hydrogen is approximately 1.
The atomic weight of oxygen is approximately 16.
Take 2 hydrogen and 1 oxygen, and you get a combined atomic weight for a single water molecule of 18.
The molecular weight stems form the statement that one mole of water will have a mass of roughly 18 grams. (weight is used interchangeably here…although weight is only really a component of earth’s gravity creating an acceleration of 9.8m/s. Since we don’t typically measure molecular mass on other planets, weight and mass are used as the same with this)

Look up hypotonicity online and you’ll see why this is all important.

A HMW carb in a 15% solution is as much as 20 TIMES as hypotonic as blood.

Glucose based exercise drinks are often promoted as “isotonic” solutions. This is marketing to an uneducated consumer at its finest.
The isotonicity of the drinks makes it a POOR choice for its intended use.

There is actually a book called “Performance Functional Foods” that covers this topic in some depth.

I’ve used them both. Malo/dexto gives me stomach issues and bloating and made it impossible for me to consume Surge or similar products pre-workout. I also used to experience a large crash about an hour after using Surge. WMS does not, and is all use peri-workout now. I know those symptoms aren’t unique to me because I’ve talked with many who came to the same conclusion.

As for the comments of it’s effects being slowed by protein yadda yadda, those are true for any carbohydrate powder, not just WMS. At the end of the day it does digest slightly faster than malo/dex, but that effect alone probably isn’t worth buying it for. Being able to comfortably cram down a couple hundred calories all around my workout window is, which is why it is what I use now.