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What Is Dextrose? | Your Ultimate Go-To Guide

Dextrose Supplementation

For those of you looking to transform your physiques in the upcoming months, providing you’ve cleaned up your diets and are following a regular and effective training program, there’s a good chance you’ll be looking into supplements. A carefully chosen supplement stack can really help you to add those last finishing touches to your physique, to help make a decent physique a fantastic one. Now, when talking about bodybuilding and fitness supplements, we, of course, have the tried and tested heroes of the fitness world, such as your creatines and whey proteins, but what about smaller, lesser-known supplements? Dextrose, for example, is one of the most basic supplements on the market, yet if used correctly it could be your ultimate fitness secret weapon. Here’s a more detailed look at dextrose, as we look at what it is, who it is suitable for, how it functions, and when it should be consumed.

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What Is Dextrose?


Dextrose is literally a simple sugar, as this monosaccharide is absorbed much, much quicker than other complex carbohydrates. Dextrose is a simple carb that is free from fat and is a great source of simple carbohydrates. Because of this, generally, it is frowned upon as simple carbs are generally considered bad for us. If used correctly and at the right times in the right ratios, however, simple carbohydrates can provide very substantial health and fitness benefits, especially f you’re looking to build muscle. Bodybuilders, in particular, make use of dextrose as part of their supplement stacks, and the reason why is not to simply make their protein shakes taste sweeter (though that is a nice added bonus, more on that later).


So, now that we know that dextrose is basically a simple and sweet sugar, sold in powdered form, let’s look at why bodybuilders and athletes tend to consider dextrose a pivotal element in their supplement stacks:

Great Source Of Carbohydrate


Dextrose is primarily used post-workout, but in some instances you will find athletes and bodybuilders supplementing with dextrose before they train, or before they take part in a race or event. The reason for this is that dextrose is a great source of carbohydrates. 100g of dextrose will provide you with 92g of carbs, and as carbs are still vital macronutrients, we need to ensure we are getting enough. The super-high concentrations of carbs found in dextrose make it ideal when consumed immediately before, or even during, a workout, race, or event, as it will fuel your muscles, keep glycogen levels topped up, and help you perform at a higher level for longer.

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Rapid Absorption Post-Workout


The primary reason why bodybuilders tend to include dextrose supplements in their stacks is down to the fact that dextrose is so rapidly absorbed after you train. You see, as it is a simple sugar, dextrose will cause your insulin levels to spike, resulting in your pancreas secreting more insulin than usual. Insulin shuttles nutrients and glucose sugars from your bloodstream, into your cells.


When you create a spike in insulin following a workout, however, if you add dextrose to your protein shake, the proteins and the amino acids in the shake will also be shuttled into your awaiting muscle cells much, much quicker. After we train, our muscle cells are anabolically primed for increased rates of nutrient absorption, which basically means that temporarily, they can absorb more proteins, amino acids, glycogen, and nutrients than usual. The more they can absorb, the quicker and more efficiently the muscles will repair themselves. Put simply, dextrose helps to create a spike in insulin levels, which then forces more nutrients into your muscles.

Adds Sweetness To Your Shakes


If you thought your whey protein shake tasted great before, when you add a scoop of dextrose to it, it will taste absolutely stunning. Whilst you drink your protein for functional reasons, rather than to simply enjoy the taste, it is nice to really enjoy your shakes and a scoop of dextrose added to any post-workout shake will certainly ensure that you enjoy it.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile organisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-reid-8b619b122/. She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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