Glucose: The Good and the Bad

sugar glucose

During my sophomore year in college, I had an experience that has stayed with me even until now. I fainted in class and it was a total, complete black out. I don’t remember for how long, or what happened during the period that I blacked out, I just remember that I could not hear or see anything. When I recovered, the college nurse told me that I had suffered from a rare cause of hypoglycemia. This meant that I did not have enough glucose energy stored within my body system to properly function and so my body gave way, and I blacked out. This experience is precisely why I chose to write about this topic. It is important to know what exactly goes on in our bodies when there isn’t enough glucose, and when there is too much glucose. We will look at the good and bad sides, as well as the importance of keeping up healthy glucose balances.

For athletes and people who engage in any type of physically strenuous, fast-paced activity, glucose is a lifesaver. I have watched many sprinters on the verge of collapse who survived several tragedies because they were given glucose. Glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrates. It is a simple sugar, and can also be referred to as a monosaccharide. It is also one of the preferred sources for energy in the human body, and when it’s quantity in the body is ideal, it easily goes unnoticed, however, if for any reason, a person’s blood sugar is low it could really be harmful to their overall well-being. In addition to the artificial glucose, there are also natural sources of glucose such as: dairy food, fruits, and vegetables. These foods collectively produce glucose and create the energy that we need to keep us alive. Our mothers were not wrong for insisting that we eat our fruits and vegetables. Whenever we eat any type of food, our bodies immediately start working to produce glucose within the body, which is necessary to sustain human life. After we eat food, the glucose levels in our bodies rise and this is where the pancreas gets to work.

Functions of The Pancreas

Because the blood sugar levels in the body need to be regulated (it must neither be too high or too low), it is the job of the pancreas to keep up normal blood sugar levels. The pancreas performs two major functions in the body which are the exocrine and endocrine functions. The exocrine function specifically helps with the digestion of food, while the endocrine function helps to regulate blood sugar in the body. The endocrine department of the pancreas consists of cells that help to release insulin directly into the blood stream. Only when the insulin enters the blood stream can glucose enter into the bloodstream as well. The pancreas has two main hormones that help to regulate glucose within the body and they are insulin and glucagon. Insulin works to lower blood sugar while glucagon works to raise blood sugar (if need be). In order for internal body organs to act well in the body, it is important to keep up proper levels of blood sugar in the body.

Glucose is important for the body, but what about its other aspects? Why is it good for the body? Every chemical or neurotransmitter in the body is there for a specific reason and performs a significant role. Most often, these neurotransmitters work closely with other organs to make them function properly and effectively so that we can stay alive. It is quite safe to say that without glucose in our bodies, we would not have the adequate raw energy that we need to function on a normal day to day basis. Our bodies would lack the necessary energy that is needed to perform tasks and be productive. Here are the important advantages of glucose in the body:

The Good

In addition to being an effective energy booster, glucose is also important for cognitive coordination. Researchers have discovered that when there isn’t enough glucose in the brain, students find it difficult to learn, adapt and process new information. For that reason, glucose is effective. Glucose is also effective because it helps to regulate body temperature. It also acts as a life saver for people who depend on insulin. The human body can tell the difference between different sugars such as glucose, fructose and sucrose, and glucose produces lesser side effects on the body compared to the other mentioned sugars. Finally, because glucose is not as sweet as other sugars, it is a less attractive option for food manufacturers when they want to produce junk food or sweets. When working out or performing any exercise, you will usually need all of your body and muscles to actively move. The movement of muscle usually requires a lot of glucose as the central  source of energy. Also, in order to actually move your muscle, you  need oxygen and when the amount of oxygen stored  in your body is less available, the only option left is glucose which is in turn converted to muscle.

The Bad

Everything that is worth eating should be eaten in moderation. Although glucose is an amazing source of energy, it also has it’s side effects. Excessive consumption of glucose for one, could result in disaster. Diabetic patients are advised to stay away from glucose because it could potentially worsen their health situation. Hyperglycemia could also occur when a person consumes too much glucose. The main cause of hyperglycemia is usually as a result of loss of insulin from insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Hyperglycemia can also occur when the cells in the pancreas of the body develop a strong resistance to insulin. Symptoms of hyperglycemia include: high blood glucose, high levels of sugar in the urine, fatigue, heightened thirst, and frequent urination to name a few. Keeping tabs on your glucose consumption is an important part of maintaining a healthy body. Finally, when glucose is consumed in excessive amounts, it converts to carbohydrate which could lead to fat storage. It also has the ability to increase the size of the human kidney, which may result in kidney stones. Severely low amounts of glucose can be very bad for the body as well, and doctors refer to this condition as hypoglycemia. Some symptoms of hypoglycemia include anxiety, sweating, dizziness, tingling around the body and general trembling.

Normal Glucose Levels

Maintaining glucose levels near the normal range is an important part of keeping your body healthy. Although the normal glucose level for humans is 100 mg/dL, people who have diabetes have to pay special attention to their glucose levels. Before eating, a healthy range is 90–130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). After an hour or two, it should be less than 180 mg/dL. Maintaining a leveled glucose level is essential to living a happy, healthy life. If you have any concerns about your glucose level, check in with your doctor about any questions or concerns that you may have. You can never be too careful. Keep in mind the disadvantages of consuming too much glucose and remember that regular exercise has prominently contributes to utilizing the stocked glycogen in your body for energy so it will not have chance to be turned into fat. When energy is turned to fat, it  cause weight gain. Weight gain or obesity could lead to diabetes type 2, however regular diet and exercise is your best bet when it comes to regulating the negative effects of glucose.