What is Blood Glucose?

by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated September 22, 2009)

Glucose is a kind of simple sugar made from the energy-giving nutrients protein, fat, and carbohydrate. Your body cannot function without this sugar, as it is the energy source for adenosine triphosphate. Most glucose from your bloodstream goes to your brain with what is left over going to the rest of your body. The insulin in your blood basically unlocks the receptors on your cells so that glucose can enter the cell and go straight to the mitochondria.

The whole point of keeping your blood glucose levels within a certain range is that your body requires a certain amount of energy to be available to it constantly. When the brain detects a drop in your blood sugar, it sends a message to your liver to release its glycogen stores, which will only provide energy for a short period of time. Because your brain knows that this is only a quick fix solution, it also lets your body know that it is time to eat and (hopefully) you will respond by replenishing the glucose in your blood.

When you are tested for diabetes, your blood glucose is used as a reference point. Basically, you drink a special kind of glucose drink after fasting and then your blood is taken at about one hour intervals for three to four hours. In that time, your blood glucose should spike in the hour after you drink it and then deplete from there until you are just about back to the fasting level. If you are healthy, that is. If not, your blood sugar will spike and remain high, which means that there is something wrong with you insulin level because the sugar is not making it into your cells. This is a very dangerous condition to have (it is the condition of diabetes, which is pretty well-known these days) and can lead to eventual death if left untreated.

Your blood glucose levels can be regulated a little better if you eat complex carbohydrates, which take longer to digest and can lead to steadier levels because of this. However, this will not have so much of an effect on the aforementioned diabetic condition. There is also a concern if your blood glucose levels are too low. This is called hypoglycemia and can lead to the same result as too-high blood glucose levels..

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