Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD)

Over the past decade, a number of unique discoveries have been made in the field of carbohydrate research which may unlock many secrets to success in the sports nutrition industry.* One such discovery is the formation of large cyclic carbohydrate chains into tightly-packed clusters through the enzymatic breakdown and restoration of amylopectin, creating what we now know as Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD).

Let’s first take a step back and review the basic components of starch carbohydrates. Starch is created and stored in plants as a source of energy, which is typically broken down into 20-25% amylose and 75-80% amylopectin by weight1. Amylose is considered to be a resistant starch, wherein its complex molecular structure makes it more resistant to digestion. Amylopectin, by contrast, consists of many highly-branched chains of easily-dissolvable glycosidic bonds, which allows for a more rapid digestion of the materials2. Dextrins are then the result of hydrolyzing the components of starch through the addition of water, enzymes, or other chemicals (such as acids), thus producing a carbohydrate with a lower molecular weight3. Osmolarity is a separate process that refers to the measurement of the total number of solute particles (or osmoles) that can be concentrated into a given solution, and is expressed in osmoles per Liter (Osm/L)4.

With those terms in place, we can more closely examine their effects on the digestion and absorption of Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin. As we have mentioned, Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin is derived through the enzymatic breakdown of amylopectin into smaller clusters, which are then reassembled into large cyclic chains using a branching enzyme. This process forms a unique carbohydrate material with a higher molecular weight profile and lower osmolarity than most other dextrins, as suggested in separate studies conducted by Hiroki (et al.)5 and Takii (et al.)6. Their claim is that the Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin may exert an amount of osmotic pressure that is lower than that of the blood and other bodily fluids, creating a hypotonic environment which allows the material to bypass the stomach and enter the small intestine at a much more rapid rate as compared to other carbohydrate sources5,6.

A previous study presented in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology serves as additional support to the claim, suggesting that materials possessing a lower osmolarity may allow for an increase in gastric emptying times7.. A more recent study shows a strong correlation between the rate of glycogen replenishment in muscles while using carbohydrates with a high molecular weight and low osmolarity before exercise as opposed to carbohydrates with a low molecular weight and high osmolarity8.

The intended result is to increase the absorption rate of energy-producing carbohydrates, as well as reduce the transportation times of vital fluids and electrolytes that are essential to your strength and recovery.* Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin demonstrates the potential to replenish energy levels at speeds that may surpass those of other industry-standard carbohydrates, including dextrose, maltodextrin, and waxy maize starch following intense exercise.* Rapid gastric emptying may also help to reduce the cramping and bloating effects that are often experienced with other carbohydrate sources.*

True Nutrition now offers this exciting new carbohydrate at unbeatably-low prices and with the ability to customize the material to best suit your personal needs!

Or, create your own unique supplement stack by adding Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin to one or more of the following items for increased results and recovery:*

It is our goal to help you meet your goals, and adding True Nutrition‘s Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin to your daily supplementation may be the key to your continued success! Ask us how Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin can complement your healthy lifestyle today!

*DISCLAIMER: The above description is provided for information only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult your physician or the appropriately licensed professional before engaging in a program of exercise or nutritional supplementation. No information in this site has been reviewed by the FDA. No product is intended to treat, diagnose, or cure any disease.


1. Smith, Alison M. (2001). “The Biosynthesis of Starch Granules”. Biomacromolecules 2 (2): p. 335–41.
2. Nelson, David, and Cox, Michael. (2008). Principles of Biochemistry. 5th ed. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company.
3. Haas, P. and HillAn, T. G. (1913). Introduction to the chemistry of plants – Vol II: Metabolic processes. London: Longmans, Green & Co. p. 123-127.
4. Widmaier, Eric P.; Hershel Raff, Kevin T. Strang. (2008). Vander’s Human Physiology, 11th Ed. McGraw-Hill. p. 108–12.
5. T. Hiroki, K. Iwao, T. Noboru, S. Yuji, Y. Mikio. (2006). “Industrial Production of Branching Enzyme and Its Application to Production of Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (Cluster Dextrin)”. Journal: Seibutsu Kogakkaishi, Vol:84; No:2; p. 61-66.
6. Takii, H. et al. (2005). “Fluids containing a highly branched cyclic dextrin influence the gastric emptying rate”. Int J Sports Med. 6(4): p. 314-9.
7. Mogard, M.H., Nylander, G., Flaten, O., Hanssen, L.E. (1986). “Gastric emptying and intestinal transit of hyperosmolar solutions in relation to indomethacin and certain gut polypeptides in the rat”. Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology. 21(3): p. 348-52.
8. Piehl Aulin, K., Söderlund, K., Hultman, E. (2000). “Muscle glycogen resynthesis rate in humans after supplementation of drinks containing carbohydrates with low and high molecular masses”. Eur J Appl Physiol. 81(4): p. 346-51.

2 thoughts on “Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin (HBCD)

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  2. Pingback: Vitargo, Maltodextrin, Waxy Maize, or Karbolyn Is there REALLY a difference??

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