Waxy starches are carbohydrates derived from various sources such as rice, barley, and corn (i.e. maize). The “waxy” part refers to the fact that under a microscope there exists a resemblance to actual wax, although it does so in appearance only.
The main characteristic of waxy starches is that they generally contain a large amount of highly branched starch called amylopectin. Specifically, waxy starches are defined as having an exceptionally high amylopectin content – the remaining being comprised of the less branched amylose.
Amylopectin is a highly branched polymer of glucose found in plants. It is one of the two components of starch, the other being amylose. It is soluble in water.
WMS is a very fast carbohydrate because of its high amylopectin component (>99%), and subsequent enormous molecular weight (this explains why some companies simply call their WMS “amylopectin”).
Furthermore, due to this molecular weight, WMS is absorbed by the gut more quickly than dextrose or maltodextrin -the archetypical “fast carbs”- which in turn results in much greater glycogen storage. Some claims go so far as to specify that WMS is absorbed, or will restore muscle glycogen, ~70-80% faster than other quick sources.
Waxy Maize has a much higher molecular weight and a much lower osmolarity rate compared to dextrose or maltodextrin. What does this mean though? Mainly, Waxy Maize bypasses the stomach, is absorbed by the intestines and immediately is assimilated; this is all done at a much faster rate than dextrose or maltodextrin, almost double.
Waxy Maize can help the absorption rates of many of your favourite supplements like creatine monohydrate, creatine ethyl ester, cell volumisation and nitric oxide type supplements, etc. Nutrients like this often times are left in the stomach’s harsh acidic environment and degrade absorption rates. Waxy Maize helps shuttle these nutrients to bypass the stomach and allow the body to assimilate these nutrients at a much higher rate.
Waxy Maize has the ability to replenish the body’s glycogen stores much faster than a mix of maltodextrin or dextrose. This is accomplished again by Waxy Maize’s ability to bypass the stomach and go to the intestines for immediate absorption. Waxy Maize’s ability to shuttle all these nutrients and starch gives the body an immediate “pump” you can physically feel in your muscles post workout. You will see a much larger, fuller and rounder muscle belly.
Waxy maize was found in China in 1909. In 1922, a researcher found that the endosperm of waxy maize contained only amylopectin and no amylose starch molecule in opposition to normal dent maize varieties that contain both.
When feeding trials later on showed that waxy maize could produce more efficient feed gains than normal dent maize, interest in waxy maize suddenly mushroomed.