5 Benefits of glucose for the human body

5 Benefits of glucose for the human body
Glucose is a simple carbohydrate of the monosaccharide type and represents the main source of energy of living beings.

It can be found free or combined with other types of carbohydrates.

In cells, glucose is the main source of energy and is used in the process of cellular respiration. In addition to being one of the main products of photosynthesis.

Chemically, it is a compound with formula C 6 H 12 O 66. Therefore, it has 6 carbon atoms and an aldehyde group, which can have an open or ring-shaped chain.

Glucose in the human body

In humans, glucose is found in the blood and obtained through food, where it exists in the form of more complex molecules.

Foods to be used by cells have to be transformed into smaller particles, where nutrients are obtained, including glucose. This transformation is accomplished in the process of digestion.

During digestion, when the blood reaches the liver, most of the glucose present in the blood plasma is collected by the hepatocytes. Thus, glucose is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen for later use.

The starch, for example, one of the most abundant substances in the human diet, because it is a complex molecule, needs to be hydrolyzed in the digestive tract before it is absorbed.

By the action of the amylases enzymes and then of the malatasis of enteric juice of the intestine, starch is fragmented into monosaccharides. Thus, glucose molecules are absorbed by the villi of the small intestine.

Once absorbed by the cells, glucose passes through cellular respiration, a process in which several chemical reactions occur.

Initially, in the cytosol glucose passes through glycolysis, being broken and transformed into other substances that go to the mitochondria, where the following stages occur.

During the process of cellular respiration, energy, water and carbon dioxide are produced. Carbon gas is carried by blood and eliminated in respiration and the energy produced allows the individual to perform all of his metabolism.

Glucose levels in the blood

The reference values for fasting blood glucose levels are as follows:

Thus, the blood glucose concentration should be 70 to 99 mg/dl (fasting blood glucose).

Deficiency in insulin production increases the concentration of blood glucose, with hyperglycemia or high glucose, which leads to diabetes.

The symptoms of high glucose are: tiredness, blurred vision, excessive thirst and increased amount of urine.

The process can also be inverse, when the body stays long without food or due to illness. Thus, the amount of glucose in the blood decreases, occurring hypoglycemia or low glucose.

The symptoms of low glucose are: tachycardia, tremors, weakness, excessive sweat, sleepiness and fainting.

Insulin, a hormone synthesized in the pancreas, stimulates the uptake of plasma glucose and its conversion into glycogen in the liver. Thus, insulin causes a decrease in the concentration of glucose in the blood.

Benefits of glucose for the human body

Here are some uses of glucose for humans.

Becomes the main energy source  

Humans need glucose as the main energy source. This substance is what you get from everyday food such as rice, bread, fruit and vegetables. 

Your body breaks down this sugar into an energy-carrying substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). 

Almost all cells in the body rely on glucose as their main fuel. Starting from brain and nerve cells, red blood cells, cells in the kidneys, muscles, to several retina cells and eye lenses.

Helps the formation of other substances

Apart from being a source of energy, glucose has the benefit of forming other important substances, including protein and fat.

Glucose works by forming genetic components such as ribonucleic acid (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Both are important ingredients in protein formation.

In addition, glucose helps form nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) which plays a role in the process of forming fatty acids.

Carry out brain functions

Glucose is the main energy source for brain tissue, one of its uses is helping the formation of alpha ketoglutarate.

The body needs alpha ketoglutarate to eliminate ammonia poison which is very dangerous for nerve cells.

Apart from that, glucose is also an important substance in the formation of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that play an important role in sending messages between nerve cells.

Helps deliver oxygen to tissues

The benefits of glucose don’t stop there. For red blood cells, this natural sugar is also needed for the formation of bisphosphoglycerate.

Bisphosphoglycerate is a substance that plays a role in the process of releasing oxygen from hemoglobin in red blood cells to body tissues.

Free radicals are known to cause cell damage and increase the risk of a number of health problems, such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

The process of glucose metabolism in the human body

  • The process of metabolizing glucose and various other carbohydrates in the body is quite complicated.
  • Initially, carbohydrates will be broken down by digestive enzymes in the mouth into a simple form, namely glucose.
  • After that, this simple sugar will be absorbed by the intestines and enter the blood.
  • When the natural sugar from these foods is in the bloodstream, this is what is known as blood sugar.
  • Next, this sugar will be distributed throughout the body, especially the brain, liver, muscles, red blood cells, kidneys and fat tissue.
  • The large number of body tissues that require glucose makes carbohydrates a macronutrient, namely a nutrient that is needed in large quantities.
  • The pancreas then releases insulin to respond to rising blood sugar. This hormone helps absorb blood sugar in cells while converting glucose into glycogen.
  • Glycogen itself is an energy reserve that you can use when there is no food intake.
  • When there is a lack of glucose, your body will convert glycogen back into simple sugars as an energy source.

However, if glycogen is depleted, the body must convert other compounds into glucose through the process of gluconeogenesis.

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