What Is Glucose?

Simply put, glucose is a sugar that the body uses as its main source of energy. The main source of food that produces glucose is carbohydrates, or carbs. Carbs include foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes and any other food that is classified as starchy. Carbs are also derived from sugar and some fruits and vegetables.

How does the body process the food into glucose? As the food enters the digestive system it is broken down with bile and enzymes so that it can be better utilized by the body. The food then travels to the liver where it is turned into glucose. Some glucose is automatically made by the liver and doesn't require the conversion of food.

When glucose is ready, it is released and absorbed through the small intestine and makes its way into the bloodstream so that it can be used for the body's energy needs. As it enters the bloodstream, it unites with insulin, which as been produced by the pancreas. The insulin takes the glucose and helps it to enter the body's cells. These cells are located throughout the body from muscles all the way to the brain. Yes, even the brain needs glucose for fuel.

Glucose plays such an important role that it is imperative that levels be kept within a normal range. Our body has the ability store a certain amount of extra glucose in the liver as glycogen, so that it is readily available in an emergency, but this is not sufficient for the long-term. When glucose drops too low, a person may experience mild shaking, loss of energy, headaches and generally discomfort. In diabetics, this condition is called hypoglycemia which can be dangerous if not treated.

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