Taking amylopectin during the workout provides energy that is easy to digest. Therefore, it delays the onset of fatigue, prevents the hypoglycemia and improves the physical performance.
What is amylopectin?
It is a carbohydrate, which is why it is an energy source. More specifically, it is a type of polysaccharide that is made up by a branched structure that has multiple glucose units.
Each amylopectin molecule can contain around 100000 or 200000 glucose units. Each branch has around 20-30 units and it has a spherical structure.
This carbohydrate makes up starch, a hetero-polysaccharide, where we can find another polymer: amylase. Starch is made up by an 80% of amylopectin approximately.
Amylopectin belongs to the complex carbohydrate group. This is the name is used for those that have more than two glucose polymers.
Let’s not forget that glucose is a monosaccharide, that is, the basic carbohydrate unit that our body is going to use. In this case, a polysaccharide like amylopectin needs to be broken down until it reaches its unit (glucose).
Amylopectin has certain features when it comes to its molecular breakdown and absorption.
Moreover, it will provide an energy boost after an easy digestion.
Properties of amylopectin
It has two unique features when compared to other carbohydrate sources:
- High molecular weight
- Low osmolarity
The first property is an index that points to the breakdown rate of the molecular structure when it enters the organism. The higher the index, the lower the breakdown.
It has a high molecular weight, which is the number of glucose molecules that will be broken down (for its later transformation into energy). Therefore, amylopectin has a high number of glucose molecules. Consequently, it will provide effectively recharge our glycogen reserves without altering the glycemia (insulin) disproportionately. In addition, this also prevents the hypoglycemia that would occur after the insulin increase, something that would definitely happen with high glycemic index carbohydrates.
Amylopectin, an energy supply for athletes
Despite having a high GI, it will not produce the usual fainting of simple sugars. This is another reason why its supply benefits athletes, since we will get a sustained glucose supply to the bloodstream.
Insulin and amylopectin
A carbohydrate is a macronutrient that stimulates the release of insulin, an anabolic hormone which increases the amount of nutrients that enter the cell. If we focus on this aspect, we can see the behavior of this hormone depending on the type of carbohydrate. In other words, we can see how its glycemic index stimulates a higher or lower insulin release from the pancreas.
We can find:
- Simple carbohydrates -> high glycemic index -> high insulin response
- Complex carbohydrates -> low glycemic index -> low insulin response
Amylopectin is known as “Waxy Maize” in the field of sport supplementation, and it mainly comes from:
Glycogen, which is stored both in the liver (hepatic glycogen) and muscles (muscle glycogen), is similar to amylopectin in terms of its molecular structure.
Moreover, we know that starch is mostly made up of amylopectin, which is in fact the vegetable version of glycogen. However, there are other sources available, like the amylopectin from potato.
What is amylopectin used for?
- Improving the sport performance
- Recharging the energy that has been spent during the workout or as a previous “loading” phase
Amylopectin and sport performance
When it comes to enhancing the sport performance, amylopectin is mainly involved in the following activities:
- Use of glycogen (high intensity)
- Longer duration
Although athletes who carry out high-intensity interval activity (HIIT) or weight lifting can also benefit from this product.
Examples of said activities or sports are: Athletics, CrossFit, team sports (football, basketball…), or individual sports (rowing, tennis…).
The athlete trains at a high intensity in all these sports where the glycolysis prevails (mostly anaerobic exercise). This is a metabolic pathway through which we can obtain a high performance energy from the stored glucose in order to maintain the intensity all the time.
Sometimes, the carbohydrate deposits are limited</strong. In other words, we have an energy reserve that will last around two-hours at our maximum capacity. However, the body will be able to detect that we are running out of energy and it will hinder the performance by “forcing us” to stop.
From this, we can conclude that it is important to provide an adequate supply in order to successfully complete the activity. In this way, we will also be able to maintain our physical capabilities and performance.
Recharge the energy after training
We may experience a depletion of the energy reserves depending on certain factors such as: the type of activity, our physical condition, the state of our energy deposits, and the duration and intensity of the activity.
This does not only result in the expenditure of muscle glycogen, but it will also involve the mobilization of hepatic glycogen. If we do not recharge the reserves properly, the performance in future workout sessions will not meet our expectations.
Based on what we previously mentioned, we can prolong the energy deposits recharge from 24 to 48 hours.
The “Carbohydrate Loading” strategy has been used by most athletes when they have to attend a competition. This technique has provided remarkable results.
This protocol consists of producing a “super-compensation” in two steps:
- In the days leading up to the competition, we have to reduce the carb intake to almost 0. The objective is to deplete the reserves as much as possible.
- Carbohydrate loading. It will be done around 2-4 days before the competition, and it will consist of increasing the calories from the diet even up to an 80%. This will vary depending on the demands of the event, as well as the experience in previous loadings.
In this way, we will saturate the glycogen reserves, which is something athletes are used to.
The role of amylopectin in a carbohydrate loading:
It will consist of helping with the energy supply. The objective is to meet the necessary requirements during the loading phase. The athlete will not experience any stomach problem thanks to the special properties of amylopectin.
We can take amylopectin during the carbohydrate loading in each of the meals, as well as before, during and/or after training.
Amylopectin and bodybuilding
Amylopectin also helps with carb loading phase for bodybuilding competitions.
When to take Amylopectin
Amylopectin works as a peri-workout supplement. In other words, you can take it before, during, and/or just after the workout.
It is useful for those activities that require high glycogen deposits in order to make the most of our athletic capacity.
How to take amylopectin
The important properties of amylopectin are perfect for these specific moments:
- Before training (from 30 to 45 min before): in this way, we will contribute to partially recharging the muscle glycogen deposits. The recommended amount of amylopectin would be around 25-50 g.
- During the workout: it will almost instantly recharge the energy that we use. Consequently, it will improve our physical performance. Trained athletes use around 2-3g of glycogen per minute. Therefore, taking 25-50g of amylopectin every 30 minutes is a good choice to carry out high-intensity activities.
- After training: we should take advantage of the insulin sensitivity, so that we can enhance the glycogen re-synthesis. The recommended amount of amylopectin is around 50-100g.
Combining amylopectin with other supplements
We can combine this product with practically any other supplement meant for the recovery phase and muscle growth.
- Amylopectin with Whey Protein: We can drink a pre or post-workout shake made of fast absorption protein and amylopectin, in a 2:1 rate in favor of the carbohydrate.
- Amylopectin with Creatine: we can take a post-workout shake with amylopectin and creatine to recharge both the glycogen and ATP deposits. If we are carrying out a creatine loading phase, this would be achieved with one daily serving. Otherwise, we will directly add 1g of creatine for every 10kg of body weight.
- Amylopectin with Glutamine: an excellent choice would be making a shake of amylopectin and 5-10g of glutamine to recover from a physical effort
- Amylopectin with Pre-Workout Supplements
- Pre-workout: 1 serving of Pre-workout Supplement with 25-50g of amylopectin
- Post-workout: 25-50g of Protein + 50-100g of amylopectin + creatine + 5-10g of glutamine
Who can benefit from Amylopectin?
- Athletes who need an extra energy supply. Specially those who perform resistance training or who have high energy demands.
- Those who do resistance or strength sports that are preparing for long workouts or competitions.
- Fitness athletes in bulking phase to make them with protein. This is a great way of getting a higher calorie supply in order to stimulate the muscle growth.
Side effects of amylopectin
A controlled intake of this supplement will not trigger important side effects in our body.
- Kayri V, Orhan C, Tuzcu M, Deeh Defo PB, Telceken H, Irmak M, Sahin N, Tastan H, Komorowski JR, Sahin K. Combination of Soy Protein, Amylopectin, and Chromium Stimulates Muscle Protein Synthesis by Regulation of Ubiquitin-Proteasome Proteolysis Pathway after Exercise. Biol Trace Elem Res. 2018 Oct 6. doi: 10.1007/s12011-018-1539-z.
- Bracken RM, Gray BJ, Turner D. Comparison of the metabolic responses to ingestion of hydrothermally processed high-amylopectin content maize, uncooked maize starch or dextrose in healthy individuals. Br J Nutr. 2014 Apr 14;111(7):1231-8. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513003619. Epub 2013 Nov 12.
- Jozsi AC, Trappe TA, Starling RD, Goodpaster B, Trappe SW, Fink WJ, Costill DL. The influence of starch structure on glycogen resynthesis and subsequent cycling performance. Int J Sports Med. 1996 Jul;17(5):373-8.