Dextrose is a powerful and natural energy booster and makes for a great addition to any pre-workout drink.
In this article I’m going to highlight the biggest benefits to adding dextrose to your pre-workout regimine and how it can help you increase your bodybuilding and endurance gains.
What is Dextrose?
Glucose is sugar in the bloodstream and dextrose is what glucose is called when it’s produced from corn. Biochemically dextrose and glucose are identical.
Instant Energy Boost, No Crash
In terms of food, simple carbohydrates provide the most readily available source of energy for both your mind and muscles because they are quickly broken down into simple sugars and turned into glucose.
Since dextrose is already biochemically the same thing as glucose, it doesn’t need to be broken down and converted so it’s an almost instantaneous boost of energy that most people will feel within 10 minutes of consumption.
Think of it as high octane gasoline for your body and mind.
10g of dextrose supplementation does not lead to an energy crash like most people see with caffeine either.
Actually quite the opposite takes place and most people report feeling great for several hours after consumption.
Dextrose vs Table Sugar
Dextrose actually does a better job at filling your muscles glycogen stores whereas table sugar or sugars from say, apple juice, contain high amounts of fructose which mostly fills your liver’s glycogen stores instead of your muscles. (1, 2)
Dextrose Pre-Workout Benefits
Boost Athletic Performance
Researchers gave 31 elite college rowers from Ohio State either 10g of ribose (a type of simple sugar) or 10g of dextrose, before and after practice along with 8 ounces of water, everyday for 8 weeks.
The goal was to compare the effects of each type of sugar in time trials with the expectation they would prove how effective ribose is in improving athletic performance.
However, the results were unexpected and shocking!
Despite the researchers expecting to see the ribose group perform the best, the athletes consuming dextrose showed “significantly more improvement”.
In fact, the athletes in the dextrose group improved their times by an average of 15.2 seconds. A whopping 10 seconds faster than the improvement in the ribose group. (3)
In a 2000 meter row that is a massive difference which simply cannot be overstated.
More Effective When Combined with Creatine
Dextrose may be even more effective when combined with creatine as the two work together to increase muscle glycogen even further.
A recent study showed glycogen resynthesis was 82% higher when carb loading was combined with creatine supplementation. (4)
This means your recovery rate and ability to quickly perform again at a very high level may greatly improve.
Furthermore, a study showed combining creatine and dextrose was as effective for gaining strength as supplementing with protein. (11)
Boost Mental Performance
The human brain consumes around 120 of glucose each day and several studies have now shown huge increases in mental performance, focus and ability with glucose supplementation.
I want to highlight some of the benefits which have been seen in both children as well as young and older adults.
The mental benefits are so profound that even NASA has taken a close look at how effective it is.
Mental Benefits of glucose Supplementation Include:
- Short-term memory (5)
- Attention (5)
- Long-term verbal memory (6)
- Long-term spatial memory (6)
- Enhanced Memory (7)
- Enhanced Cognitive Performance (8)
If that isn’t enough, Andrew Scholey, the director of the Human Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Northumbria found both glucose and breathing pure oxygen improve mental performance. (9)
While his research looked directly at breathing pure oxygen and glucose, there are healthy supplements such as citrulline and nitrosigine which increase nitric oxide and therefore boost oxygen levels in the blood.
Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule which tells your blood vessels to expand, thus allowing more blood and oxygen to flow to your muscles, organs and brain.
It’s also believed that increasing nitric oxygen can enhance learning and memory.
In fact, according to researchers at the Toxicology Unit at University of Leicester, nitric oxide positively affects the brains computational abilities. (10)
It’s just speculation on my part until the human case studies are undertaken but I would cautiously suggest dextrose supplementation may be enhanced with natural nitric oxide boosters.
I would also suggest it is likely the athletic benefits of dextrose would be enhanced by natural nitric oxide boosters as increasing blood flow speeds nutrients throughout your system.
In addition boosting nitric oxide levels has been proven to increase athletic performance in and of itself.
How Much Dextrose Do You Need?
Just 10g of dextrose has proven to be highly effective for athletic performance and is enough for most people to see a nice uptick in mental performance as well.
This is great news because each gram of dextrose contains just 3.4 grams of calories.
Most people do not want to load up on calories because they do not want to gain fat. 34 calories will burn off fast in any high intensity workout regimine though and even many professional bodybuilders on a fat cut cycle will still feel quite comfortable using 10 – 15g of dextrose.
In fact, on a fat cut cycle which involves going into a calorie deficit, it may be even more beneficial because your body desperately needs that extra energy boost to power out those final sets and reps.
- Effects of glucose or fructose feeding on glycogen repletion in muscle and liver after exercise or fasting. Conlee RK, Lawler RM, Ross PE. – Link
- Glucose Plus Fructose Ingestion for Post-Exercise Recovery—Greater than the Sum of Its Parts? Javier T. Gonzalez, Cas J. Fuchs, Luc J. C. van Loon – Link
- Ribose versus dextrose supplementation, association with rowing performance: a double-blind study. Dunne L, Worley S, Macknin M. – Link
- Creatine ingestion augments dietary carbohydrate mediated muscle glycogen supercompensation during the initial 24 h of recovery following prolonged exhaustive exercise in humans. – P.A. Roberts, J. Fox, N. Peirce, S.W. Jones, A. Casey and P.L. Greenhaff – Link
- Effects of diet on behaviour and cognition in children. Bellisle F – Link
- Glucose facilitation of cognitive performance in healthy young adults: examination of the influence of fast-duration, time of day and pre-consumption plasma glucose levels. Sünram-Lea SI, Foster JK, Durlach P, Perez C. – Link
- Preliminary evidence that glucose ingestion facilitates prospective memory performance. Riby LM, Law AS, McLaughlin J, Murray J. – Link
- Cognitive performance is associated with glucose regulation in healthy elderly persons and can be enhanced with glucose and dietary carbohydrates. R. Kaplan, C. Greenwood, G. Winocur, T. Wolever The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 72, Issue 3, September 2000, Pages 825–836 – Link
- Cognitive Performance, Hyperoxia, and Heart Rate Following Oxygen Administration in Healthy Young Adults. A. Scholey, M. Moss, N. Neave, K. Wesnes. – Link
- Nitric Oxide Can Alter Brain Function. University of Leicester. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2008. – Link
- Creatine-dextrose and protein-dextrose induce similar strength gains during training. M. Tarnopolsky, G. Parise, N.J. Yardley, C.S. Ballantyne, S. Olatinji, S.M. Phillips. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 33(12):2044-52 – Link