What is Cluster Dextrin?

what is cluster dextrin

Cluster Dextrinis a low glycemic, highly branched cyclic dextrin (HBCD), which has a high molecular weight and ultra-low osmolality.


These properties of HBCD makes it highly soluble and promotes fast gastric emptying, virtually eliminating any gastric distress often associated with less advanced carbohydrates.

What does cluster dextrin do?

Cluster Dextrin also maintains a slow-release, offering the ideal interaction between carbohydrate breakdown and the normal release of free fatty acids.

The result is a superior carbohydrate that delivers smooth, constant energy and replenishes muscle glycogen stores without spiking blood sugar levels.

Cluster dextrin benefits

Cluster Dextrin® is research-proven to:

  • Enhance endurance performance
  • Promote fast gastric emptying times
  • Lower markers for stress hormones after exhaustive exercise compared to other carbohydrate sources. No other carbohydrate source can demonstrate clinical data like this.

Cluster Dextrin Carb For Runners

Research on cluster dextrin:
  • In a 2013 human clinical trial of Cluster Dextrin®, 24 adult male athletes showed that during cycling exercise, the group administered 15 grams of Cluster Dextrin performed better than those who took the same amount of maltodextrin.
  • An additional research study conducted in 2015 found swimmers who supplemented with HBCD before doing intervals at 75–90% VO2 max were able to improve time to exhaustion by 70% compared to when they supplemented with either water or glucose.
  • Hiroshi et al. (2004) discovered subjects who consumed a sports drink based on 10% HBCD during bicycle exercise experienced few gastrointestinal disorders and consequently could continue the exercise comfortably with little fatigue compared to the groups who consumed a glucose-based sports drink.
  • Lastly, a 2014 study conducted by Suzuki et al. found that triathletes who consumed HBCD before a race had a reduced stress hormone response and lower urinary cytokine levels compared to when they supplemented with glucose. This suggests that HBCD lowers the inflammatory response of exercise, which in turn leads to increases in performance and less time spent recovering.

When to take cluster destrin

  • 30 grams thirty minutes before exercise to increase blood glucose.
  • 30 - 90 grams during exercise to fuel performance.

    The bottom line on cluster dextrin

    Cluster Dextrin Carb For Cyclists

    Cluster Dextrin® has the same molecular weight as maltodextrin but with more “branching.”

    Branching refers to short chains of poly- and oligosaccharides that “branch” out from the main starch molecule. This enhances digestion. Research on Cluster Dextrin® has demonstrated that it has faster gastric emptying time, reducing the potential for upset stomachs, and improves endurance performance.

    This is why it is the primary carbohydrate in our SustainElite sports drink.



    1. Takii, H., KOMETANI, T., NISHIMURA, T., KURIKI, T., & FUSHIKI, T. (2004). A sports drink based on highly branched cyclic dextrin generates few gastrointestinal disorders in untrained men during bicycle exercise. Food science and technology research, 10(4), 428-431.
    2. Kometani T, Takii H, Shiraki T, Nomura T. Endurance enhancing effect of cyclic cluster dextrin. FOOD Style21. 2003;7:62–65.
    3. Takii, H., Takii, N. Y., Kometani, T., Nishimura, T., Nakae, T., Kuriki, T., & Fushiki, T. (2005). Fluids containing a highly branched cyclic dextrin influence the gastric emptying rate. International journal of sports medicine,26(4), 314-319.
    4. Furuyashiki, T., Tanimoto, H., Yokoyama, Y., Kitaura, Y., Kuriki, T., & Shimomura, Y. (2014). Effects of ingesting highly branched cyclic dextrin during endurance exercise on rating of perceived exertion and blood components associated with energy metabolism. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 78(12), 2117-2119.
    5. Takii, H., Ishihara, K., Kometani, T., Okada, S., & Fushiki, T. (1999). Enhancement of swimming endurance in mice by highly branched cyclic dextrin. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry, 63(12), 2045-2052.
    6. Smith-Ryan, A., & Antonio, J. (Eds.). (2013).Sports Nutrition & Performance Enhancing Supplements. Linus Learning.

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