What Is Blood Glucose?

What Is Blood Glucose?

What is Glucose? 

Glucose is a type of monosaccharide, the simplest form of carbohydrate.1 It consists of 6 carbon, 12 hydrogen, and 6 oxygen molecules, with the chemical formula of C6H12O6. Importantly, it is the universal source of energy.

Carbohydrates and proteins consumed during meals ultimately break down into glucose in the body and travel through the bloodstream.2 Glucose is taken up by various cells and is broken down by metabolic processes into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which serves as the final form of energy that allows every function in the human body.


How is Blood Glucose Regulated?  

The level of glucose streaming through the blood is highly regulated by various processes in the body.2,3 This state and process of maintaining a steady biological equilibrium is referred to as the glucose homeostasis. When this fails, hyperglycemia (ie, high blood glucose levels) or hypoglycemia (ie, low blood glucose levels) can occur. 

Normally when blood glucose rises after a meal, the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin.2 This signals the cells in the body to take up and use glucose and for excess glucose to be stored in the liver as glycogen molecules, ultimately lowering blood glucose levels. Conversely, when blood glucose falls, pancreas secretes another hormone called glucagon. One of its primary actions is on the liver, where it signals the stored glycogen molecules to be broken down and made into readily available glucose molecules in a process called gluconeogenesis. This, in effect, raises blood glucose levels. Through opposing yet stabilizing actions of these two primary hormones, the body keeps glucose levels in a tight range, allowing physiological functions to run smoothly.

1. Hantzidiamantis PJ, Awosika AO, Lappin SL. Physiology, Glucose. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2024. Accessed February 26, 2024. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545201/
2. Nakrani MN, Wineland RH, Anjum F. Physiology, Glucose Metabolism. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2024. Accessed February 26, 2024. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK560599/
3. Röder PV, Wu B, Liu Y, Han W. Pancreatic Regulation of Glucose Homeostasis. Exp Mol Med. 2016;48(3):e219. doi:10.1038/emm.2016.6



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