What is Dextrose?

dextroseDextrose represents simple sugar, chemically identical to glucose, that is found naturally in many foods such as fruit and honey.  There are many contradictory pieces of information about glucose vs dextrose. To put it simply, molecules of glucose can exist in two forms that are mirror images of each other. These are called stereoisomers and can be right or left-handed. The right-handed form of glucose is omnipresent in nature, whereas the left-handed form is rare. Therefore, the dextrose refers to the right-handed form that all cells metabolise. More complex carbohydrates such as starches must be broken down into dextrose before they can be used by the cell in order to provide energy for body and brain function.

Functions Of Dextrose

Dextrose has a very high glycemic index causing it to be quickly absorbed and utilised by the body. Many athletes are using this quality of dextrose in order to repair glycogen stores in the muscles depleted during the exercise.

In addition to being a good source of energy, dextrose is vital for the human body and helps to increase the muscle mass. When dextrose is absorbed into our blood, insulin levels increase leading to better blood flow through muscles and better nutrient delivery to the cells. These cells with adequate nutrition tend to be healthier and function more effectively.

Sources Of Dextrose

Dextrose can be found naturally in different foods and in many artificial products.

In most cases the sweetness of natural food such as fruit comes from fructose, rather than dextrose. Foods naturally high in dextrose are plums, dates, apricots, cornstarch, potatoes, wheat and pasta.

Artificial products contain dextrose in two forms, anhydrous and monohydrate dextrose. Monohydrate dextrose, as the name says, contains one molecule of water, while anhydrous dextrose doesn’t contain any. On the declarations, on the back side of products, names used for dextrose are wheat, rice or corn sugar.

Uses Of Dextrose

One of the uses of dextrose by the food industry, not mentioned enough, is in preserving food and increasing its shelf life.

The sweetness of dextrose does not last long enough to stimulate taste buds in tongue for a longer period of time, thus, when used as a sweetener it has to be combined with one or more complex sugars like fructose or sucrose.

It is often used in alcohol production while it enhances the fermentation of the wine and beer.

As already mentioned, dextrose has a high glycemic index. The glycemic index represents a rate by wich particular carbohydrate leads to rising of the blood sugar after the ingestion. Since Glycemic Index of dextrose is high, it means it is immediately available in the bloodstream causing a quick increase in insulin level, leading to quick transport of nutrients such as creatinine, alanine, carnitine and arginine into the body cells. So when combined with creatine or protein, dextrose can lead to quick transport of these into the muscle leading to fast recovery after the exercise. This quality od dextrose is used by the food industry.  There are various energy products used by athletes especially bodybuilders in aiming to increase their muscle mass. According to the researchers, the optimal dose of dextrose after activity for an athlete is 60-75g.

Precautions When Taking Dextrose

One quality of dextrose people should be aware of is its tendency to be stored quickly as fat in the body, when taken in a larger amount than the body is able to use. This can result in excess weight gain and eventually lead to obesity.

Athletes who are using the body storage of dextrose during exercise or competition may benefit from taking nutrition high in dextrose. It is, however, important to work with a nutrition in order to calculate the correct amount of dextrose taken to replenish the sugar storage after the exercise.

As already mentioned in the text, high GI index of dextrose causes a quick increase of insulin in order to keep a homeostasis of blood sugar level in the body. People suffering from diabetes can not produce adequate amounts of insulin, causing the blood sugar level to stay increased, while there is not enough insulin to push the dextrose molecules into the cells. This can result in very high glucose levels and a need for an injected insulin to counteract the levels. If this is not achieved, consequences of uncontrolled blood sugar level can be deadly.

Diet rich in more complex carbohydrates (whole grains and the brightly colored vegetables) may be a better option since these foods release the dextrose more slowly and allow the body to utilize it more efficiently.

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