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13/01/24 4

Maltodextrins: delay fatigue in endurance sports

Maltodextrins delay the onset of fatigue in sports such as cycling, running, mountain biking.

A carbohydrate supplement during physical exercise carried out between 60% and 80% of aerobic capacity is able to delay the onset of fatigue by 15-30 minutes.

If fatigue occurs in well-nourished athletes after 2 hours of intense aerobic exercise, taking a carbohydrate supplement approximately 30 minutes before this end is able to ward off the onset of fatigue and prolong endurance capacity. .

What are maltodextrins:

Maltodextrins are more or less complex mixtures of carbohydrates obtained by hydrolysis from corn, rice and potato starch: essentially they are chains of variable lengths of glucose molecules

Classification of maltodextrins:

Maltodextrins are distinguished from each other based on dextrose equivalence: a parameter that identifies the length of the glucose chain.

The dextrose equivalence is inversely proportional to the length of the chain: the higher the dextrose equivalence the shorter the chain length and vice versa. DE identifies the speed of absorption and is therefore a useful parameter for establishing the timing of intake

Maltodextrins, whether low or high DE, still have a high glycemic index as they are highly refined carbohydrate chains.

When using maltodextrins:

Considering that intense aerobic physical exercise, continued for more than an hour causes a 55% reduction in hepatic glycogen reserves and that after 2 hours of maximal exercise the glycogen reserves of both the liver and the muscles involved can be cancelled, it is highlighted how much performance can be improved by taking a carbohydrate supplement.

This therefore involves endurance sports as well as body building performances as well as intermittent sports (football, tennis, basketball) where short periods of maximum performance alternate with periods of rest.

Knowing how to choose the best form of carbohydrates: why maltodextrins?

To optimize the result of hydration and restoration of glycogen reserves it is necessary to consider that the speed of gastric emptying considerably influences the absorption of liquids and nutrients at the intestinal level.

The advantage of maltodextrins is that they have a low osmolarity which allows for greater rapidity of gastric emptying. On the contrary, this does not happen by drinking drinks containing simple sugars: hypertonic compared to plasma, the latter slow down intestinal absorption, causing the appearance of symptoms such as cramps and diarrhea

How many maltodextrins and in what form?

There are different formulations based on maltodextrins. As a rule it must be considered that a drink, to maintain hydration and glucose metabolism; it should contain 5 to 8% of carbohydrates and electrolytes, therefore 50-80 g per liter.

Sprintade® Isotonic Gel

Practical recommendations:

In order to enhance the absorption of nutrients at the intestinal level, where the athlete’s individuality allows it, it is recommended to consume 400 to 600 ml of liquids pre-exercise to be supported, during exercise, with regular intakes of 150 -200 ml of drink every 15 minutes (restoring the quantities lost through the intestine, maintaining the gastric volume). Where. Instead, the individuality of the athlete does not allow the presence of a high gastric volume, reintegration is favored through isotonic gels which do not require water to be ingested.

As with all integrations, use during a competition is not recommended as a first use but it is a good idea to test the various possible solutions during training.

As highlighted at the beginning of the article, supplementation with maltodextrins is useful in high intensity physical activities lasting more than an hour and a half; for the rest, it is best to replenish glycogen reserves with meals containing 2.5 g/kg of high glycemic index carbohydrates in meals following 2.4, 6, 8 hours of recovery from exercise.


  • Coyle, E.F., Coggan, A.C.: effectiveness of carbohydrate feeding in delaying fatigue during prolonged exercise. Sports med.,1:446,1984.
  • Keizer, H,.A., et al: Influence of liquid and solid meals on muscle glycogen resynthesis, plasma fuel hormone response, and maximal physical working capacity. Int. j. sports med., 8:99, 1987
  • Nicholas, c.w. et al.: influence of ingesting a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution on endurance capacity during intermittent, high intensity shuttle running. J. Sports Sci., 13:283, 1996.
  • Rehrer, N.j., et al.: Gastric emptying, absorption, and carbohydrate oxidation during prolonged exercise. J. Appl. Physiol., 72:468, 1992.
  • Yaspelkis, B.B. III. Ivy, J.L.:Effects of carbohydrate supplements and water on exercise metabolism in the beat.J. Appl: Physiol.,71:680, 1991.
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