Glucose is a simple sugar with the molecular formula C6H12O6. Glucose circulates in the blood as blood sugar. It is made by plants during photosynthesis from water and carbon dioxide, using energy from sunlight. Organisms capable of aerobic respiration metabolize glucose and oxygen to release energy with carbon dioxide and water as by-products. It is the most important source of energy for cellular respiration. The energy obtained from metabolism of glucose is usually stored temporarily within cells in the form of ATP. Excess glucose is stored as a polymer, in plants as starch and in animals including humans, as glycogen.
Glucose is a ubiquitous fuel in biology.
It is used as an energy source in humans.
Glucose supplies almost all the energy for the brain.
Glucose is a ubiquitous fuel in biology. It is used as an energy source in most organisms, from bacteria to humans, through either aerobic respiration, anaerobic respiration, or fermentation. Glucose is the human body's key source of energy, through aerobic respiration, providing about 3.75 kilocalories (16 kilojoules) of food energy per gram. Breakdown of carbohydrates (e.g. starch) yields mono- and disaccharides, most of which is glucose. Through glycolysis and later in the reactions of the citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation, glucose is oxidized to eventually form CO2 and water, yielding energy mostly in the form of ATP. The insulin reaction, and other mechanisms, regulate the concentration of glucose in the blood.
Glucose supplies almost all the energy for the brain, so its availability influences psychological processes. When glucose is low, psychological processes requiring mental effort (e.g. self-control, effortful decision-making) are impaired. Neurons and developing red blood cells too can only use glucose for energy. If your intake of glucose is inadequate, your body will draw on glycogen stores to give the brain fuel. Once the stores fail, the body begins to break down muscle tissue to make glucose.
Organisms use glucose as a precursor for the synthesis of several important substances. Starch, cellulose, and glycogen ("animal starch") are common glucose polymers (polysaccharides). Some of these polymers (starch or glycogen) serve as energy stores, while others (cellulose and chitin, which is made from a derivative of glucose) have structural roles and also may serve as dietary fiber. Oligosaccharides of glucose combined with other sugars serve as important energy stores. These include lactose, the predominant sugar in milk, which is a glucose-galactose disaccharide, and sucrose, another disaccharide which is composed of glucose and fructose. Glucose is also added onto certain proteins and lipids in a process called glycosylation. This is often critical for their functioning. The enzymes that join glucose to other molecules usually use phosphorylated glucose to power the formation of the new bond by coupling it with the breaking of the glucose-phosphate bond.
Most dietary carbohydrates contain glucose.
Most dietary carbohydrates contain glucose, either as their only building block (as in the polysaccharides starch and glycogen), or together with another monosaccharide to form either sucrose or lactose. Glucose therefore can be found in milk, fruits, table sugar (sucrose), and everything else that contains carbohydrates since carbohydrates are generally broken down into glucose before being used by the body.
When your blood sugar (glucose) levels fall below the normal range, it’s called hypoglycemia, or insulin shock. Low blood sugar can happen when you skip a meal or are malnutrition. It can also happen if your pancreas releases more insulin than it should after you’ve eaten.
Another possible cause of low blood sugar is drinking too much alcohol, especially on an empty stomach. This can interfere with the liver’s ability to release stored glucose into your bloodstream. Hepatitis and other problems with your liver can also lead to low blood sugar. Other causes include kidney disorders, anorexia nervosa, a pancreatic tumor, or adrenal gland disorders.
Insufficient blood sugar levels can cause a rapid heartbeat and heart palpitations. However, even if you have diabetes, you may not always have obvious symptoms of low blood sugar. It’s a condition called “hypoglycemia unawareness.” This happens when you experience low blood sugar so often that it changes your body’s response to it. Normally, low blood sugar causes your body to release stress hormones, such as epinephrine. Epinephrine is responsible for those early warning signs, like hunger and shakiness. When low blood sugar happens too frequently, your body may stop releasing stress hormones (hypoglycemia-associated autonomic failure, or HAAF). That’s why it’s so important to check your blood sugar levels often.
Every cell in your body needs sugar to work properly. It’s your body’s main source of energy. Low blood sugar levels can cause a variety of problems within your central nervous system. Early symptoms include weakness, lightheadedness, and dizziness. You may feel nervous, anxious, or irritable, and you’ll probably be hungry. Lack of coordination, chills, clammy skin, and sweating are common. Tingling or numbness of the mouth may be a sign of low blood sugar. Other symptoms include blurred vision, headache, and confusion. You may have difficulty performing simple tasks. When blood sugar levels drop during the night, you may have nightmares, cry out during sleep, or other unusual behaviors.
Severe low blood sugar is sometimes called insulin shock. Untreated, it can be very dangerous, resulting in seizures, loss of consciousness, or death.
Hyperglycemia means high glucose in the blood.
The pancreas is the organ responsible for the secretion of insulin.
Hyperglycemia means high glucose in the blood. Your body needs glucose to properly function. Your brain cells especially rely on glucose for energy. However, in order to use the glucose, your body needs insulin. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body is unable to regulate levels of glucose in the blood either because of a lack of insulin in the body or the failure, by cells in the body, to respond properly to insulin. Both of these situations can be caused by persistently high elevations of blood glucose levels, through pancreatic burnout and insulin resistance.
The pancreas is the organ responsible for the secretion of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates glucose levels, allowing the body's cells to absorb and use glucose. Without it, glucose cannot enter the cell and therefore cannot be used as fuel for the body's functions. If the pancreas is exposed to persistently high elevations of blood glucose levels, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas could be damaged, causing a lack of insulin in the body. Insulin resistance occurs when the pancreas tries to produce more and more insulin in response to persistently elevated blood glucose levels. Eventually, the rest of the body becomes resistant to the insulin that the pancreas is producing, thereby requiring more insulin to achieve the same blood glucose-lowering effect, and forcing the pancreas to produce even more insulin to compete with the resistance. This negative spiral contributes to pancreatic burnout, and the disease progression of diabetes.
The World Health Organization recommends that both adults and children reduce the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. A reduction to below 5% of total energy intake brings additional health benefits, especially in what regards dental caries (cavities in the teeth).
Sugar found naturally in milk, fruit and vegetables doesn't count as free sugars. We don't need to cut down on these sugars, but remember that they are included in the "total sugar" count.
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