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What Is Glucose And Why Is It Important For The Body?

Glucose is a universal source of energy for all organisms and our bodies require it to efficiently carry out both aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration. It has the chemical formula C6H12O6 and is a 6-carbon structure. [1]

One of the important functions of glucose is to maintain blood sugar levels and provide the body with the energy it requires throughout the day. Every meal we eat determines how the body produces and uses glucose on a daily basis.

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Glucose enters the body in three forms: galactose and fructose (monosaccharides), lactose and sucrose (disaccharides), and starch (polysaccharides). Excess glucose is stored in the form of glycogen and is released during fasting. Glucose in the blood can also be derived from the breakdown of fat and protein by the process of gluconeogenesis.

Here, we will get into the details about glucose and why it is important for the body. Take a look.

Processing Of Glucose

The concentrations of glucose in tissues and bodily fluids are stabilised in several ways, most of them involving the action of specific hormones. [2]

The processing of glucose in the body takes several times a day. When the food enters the body, the acids in the stomach break it down and convert the sugars and starches present in the food into glucose, also known as blood sugar.

The glucose, is then, absorbed by the intestines and transported to the bloodstream. As soon as the glucose enters the bloodstream, the levels of insulin (produced by the pancreas) increase to help transfer glucose to the cells, allowing the body to use glucose for energy right away or store it in the form of glycogen for later use.

Diabetes can develop when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to process and regulate glucose in the body. Another cause of diabetes is insulin resistance, which occurs when the liver fails to recognise insulin in the body and continues to produce excessive amounts of stored glucose or glycogen.

In the absence of insulin, fatty acids from stored fat may be released, resulting in a condition known as ketoacidosis. Ketones, byproducts of fat breakdown, could be toxic in excess amounts.

Benefits Of Glucose In The Body

1. Good for the brain

Glucose is the main source of energy for the mammalian brain, says a study. A healthy human brain demands a high energy, thus needing continuous delivery of glucose from the blood. Glucose metabolism fuels physiological brain function by producing ATP (a source of energy at a cellular level) which serves as the foundation for neuronal and non-neuronal cellular maintenance as well as the production of neurotransmitters. [3]

2. Maintains muscle strength

Skeletal muscles account for 30-40 per cent of total body weight and store glucose in the form of glycogen. According to a study, a majority of the glycogen in the body is stored in skeletal muscles (around 500 g), which is quickly broken down to supply energy during physical activities. Depletion of glucose in the skeletal muscles during prolonged exercise may cause sudden fatigue or weakness. [4]

3. Provides instant energy

Glucose is a simple sugar that is easily absorbed by the blood, whereas other carbohydrates must first be broken down into glucose before being absorbed. This is the reason why consumption of foods like honey, fruit juices, sweet corn, which are naturally rich in glucose, may help provide instant energy.

4. Maintains body temperature

In a study, it was found that insulin activates genes that regulate body temperature. The changes that occur during the processing of glucose, may cause the body's temperature to increase and generate body heat. In both, people with and without diabetes, the infusion of glucose may cause the same. [5]

5. Maintains overall health

Glucose and glycogen are important to maintain the overall health of a person in many ways. It is an important element in skin, bones, muscles and tissue development and also,in the function and maintenance of nerve cells in the body and physiological processes like heartbeat and respiration.

To Conclude

Diabetics must keep a check on their glucose levels to prevent any complications. Maintain a balanced glucose level through food and regular exercise and keep yourself healthy.

Read more about: glucose blood sugar diabetes starch
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