In addition to the much talked about benefits of Cluster Dextrin®, the highly branched cyclic dextrin produced exclusively by Glico Nutrition Co. Ltd. of Japan—in aiding endurance and reducing autonomic stress response during strenuous physical activity—the ingredient has an entirely other character, and a world of other applications.
Cluster Dextrin does wonders for the taste of foods it’s added to by masking bitterness, reducing acidity, and helping maintain their aromas longer.
This feature of Cluster Dextrin has actually come to light most vividly through its use in sports nutritional drinks and formulas. The most advanced sports drinks today contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) as well as citric acid. BCAAs are essential amino acids and powerful performers due to their beneficial effect on muscle metabolism, protecting against catabolism in the recovery process, as well as contributing to building muscle volume and processing fat. Citric acid decreases physiological stress and physical fatigue. It’s essential to the production of energy, a key part of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, which facilitates the conversion of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to generate energy.
Both impart flavors that, on their own, would make sports drinks unpalatable. Yet their importance as adjuncts to sports performance can’t be underestimated. In Japan, Glico uses Cluster Dextrin in its own Citric Acid & BCAA sports nutrition product to mask the acidity of the former and tame the bitterness of the latter, heightening its flavor appeal.
A great deal of the Cluster Dextrin Glico produces is used in Japan for modifying flavor. Recently the company convened a panel of 10 respondents to taste test samples containing, in the first case a 1.6% solution of BCAA, in the second the same BCAA with an additional 0.75% of citric acid, and in the third those two ingredients along with a 2% of Cluster Dextrin, and rate them on a five-point scale. The results were clear. The Cluster Dextrin stands head and shoulders above the others in drinkability.
Cluster Dextrin is versatile as well, masking undesirable odors in many varieties of household items. This masking function, because it effectively suppresses the release of fragrance, works to preserve and consistently maintain the familiar scents associated with items such as detergents and personal care products, as well as natural food aromas, for a longer period of time.
Look for Glico Nutrition’s Cluster Dextrin to appear in a wide variety of applications beyond sports nutrition in the months to come.