Maltodextrin is obtained from maize and is essentially a polysaccharide or complex carbohydrate formed by weakly related long-chain monosaccharides.
Maltodextrin is a common ingredient in many protein shakes and sports drinks, often claiming by manufacturers of these products that they are "sugar-free" because maltodextrin cannot be classified as sugar.
Maltodextrine is used as a "filler" in many dietary supplements because it is inexpensive, tasteless and does not appear as "sugar" on nutrition labelling.
Thanks to various cult diets, such as low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets, carbohydrates have recently earned quite poor praise. A large proportion of people engaged in strength training are armed in large quantities with proteins and essential fatty acids, but carbohydrates are often ingested in very small quantities or are simply not paid attention to their consumption.
This is a big mistake, because by ingesting them in the right way, carbohydrates can promote muscle growth, prevent their breakdown and even accelerate metabolism. To benefit from the use of maltodextrin, you must first understand how your body uses it for energy.
After entering the body, maltodextrine is quickly degraded to glucose; this leads to a rapid increase in insulin levels in the blood.
Although the body can also use fats and proteins to produce energy, glucose is necessary to ensure optimal function of organisms during training.
For active muscles and brains, glucose is the best energy source, and glucose residues are stored in the liver and muscles so that they can be used later.
True, if the energy storages in the muscles and liver are full, the remaining glucose is converted into body fat. That is why the intake of maltodextrin/carbohydrates in the right amount is very important both for increasing muscle mass, for providing energy during training, and for maintaining optimal metabolism.
Too many carbohydrates – this is also a problem, as it can adversely affect the percentage of body fat. However, taking them in the right amount is extremely important for your fitness goals. Therefore, the following question should be asked: "How does maltodextrin increase muscle mass?"
The role of insulin
As mentioned above, maltodextrine causes a rapid increase in insulin levels in the body. In fact, maltodextine is the best and most effective of the dietary supplements available on the market for rapid insulin levels.
Insulin is the main anabolic hormone that promotes muscle mass gain, since it improves the transport of amino acids to the skeletal muscles.
Insulin is a very important catalyst for protein synthesis, since glucose binds to muscle cells and triggers a number of reactions that promote muscle growth.
Insulin also neutralises cortisol, thus acting as a mechanism against muscle loss, since cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle proteins.
For this reason, in case of elevated insulin levels, cortisol levels decrease, resulting in suspension of muscle protein breakdown. This is exactly the main role of insulin against catabolism.
During severe training, the body may become catabolic, usually characterised by elevated cortisol concentrations.
Some muscle loss can be prevented by using maltodextrin before and after training.
After training, your body is in a catabolic state and it is very sensitive to the consumption of proteins and carbohydrates.
This is the optimal time to ingest maltodextrin, since it has very high glycemic properties, besides it acts on the body in the following ways:
- promotes protein synthesis by acting on the muscles in a post-workout state;
- restores energy reserves used during training;
After a hard workout in the weight room, many people rush to pick up a protein cocktail to promote muscle growth and regeneration. However, instead of using all the proteins ingested to feed your muscles, part of such a protein shake will inevitably be transformed into energy by your body.
It would be advisable to avoid this, since the insufficient supply of nutrients can mean less success in increasing muscle mass.
Adding maltodextrin to the post-workout cocktail not only ensures the replenishment of muscle cells with glycogen – it will also help prevent the transformation of this protein shake into energy.
This, in turn, allows you to increase the amount of protein ingested by the body and these amino acids can be used as "building materials" that enter the muscles under the influence of elevated insulin levels.
Maltodextrin is recommended to be ingested during training – this is how many professional bodybuilders use it up to two weeks before the upcoming competition.
In order to obtain a slim, embossed body, it is very important to maintain as much muscle mass as possible – especially during the body fat reduction or "drying" phase of the training program.
Thanks to the fact that maltodextrine is processed quickly, it is unlikely that it will accumulate in the body in the form of fat – it will be used immediately after the workout, as a result of which it helps to reduce the amount of body fat and ensures muscle mass gain.
In order for the body to gain energy, after physical activity, "unfeeded" muscles can be degraded. By adding maltodextrin to a protein cocktail or purchasing a ready-made product with both protein and maltodextrin in its composition, this unfavorable process can be avoided.
By supplying muscles with suitable nutrients, the efficiency of the fat burning process increases; metabolic rate increases and muscle mass inevitably increases.
Therefore, next time after another workout, when preparing a protein cocktail, do not forget to add maltodextrin to it!