Would you be surprised to hear that over 35 million people in the United States are living with diabetes? That’s a pretty high number, especially considering that about 90% of those patients are type 2 diabetic.
Type 2 diabetes is developed over time, mostly through diet and lifestyle choices. One thing that results from diabetes is that the body ceases to properly manage glucose metabolism. There are different ways in which type 1 and type 2 diabetes develop, though both of them have to do with the body’s reaction to insulin.
This all goes back to metabolism, which if you’re aware of how it works, can help you prevent and manage diabetes. Keep reading to learn more about glucose metabolism.
What Is Glucose Metabolism?
Glucose metabolism (cellular respiration) is the process of your cells receiving nourishment. It all starts with your body breaking down the most widespread form of nutrition: carbohydrates.
Carbs are broken down into three distinct simple sugars. These sugars are known as fructose, galactose, and glucose. Whichever sugar is produced ultimately depends on the type of carbohydrate that your body broke down.
Glucose is formed by the combining of galactose and fructose. Next, the glucose enters a long, three-step process to draw in nutrients to the cells.
The Three Stages of Glucose Metabolism
In this section, we’ll briefly cover the three stages of glucose metabolism. Each stage goes into much more depth than listed here and is a major focal point of study for many biology and medical students worldwide.
Glucose enters the cell’s cytosol, otherwise known as cell fluid. Then, the glucose is converted into pyruvate in a set of ten reactions. An enzyme catalyzes every reaction, which results in ATP (energy).
Phosphofructokinase (PFK) is the most important enzyme and it catalyzes the third reaction. In this reaction, glucose is completely broken down into pyruvate. PFK is also the regulatory enzyme that controls the speed of the process.
The Krebs’ Cycle
The pyruvate is transferred to the mitochondria from the cell fluid, where energy is extracted from the molecules. The energy is extracted by converting pyruvate into acetyl-CoA (alongside other reactions) to produce FADH2 and NADH. These are high-energy electrons sent to the electron transport chain.
FADH2 and NADH are converted to ATP until it reaches the last chain where it is accepted by oxygen. The protons (developed from extracting energy) are then pumped out of the mitochondria to produce electrical energy!
How Glucose Metabolism Works for Your Body
We previously discussed the process of glucose metabolism at the intricate, molecular level. But how does it work from a more gestalt perspective?
Broken-down glucose is converted to sugars as mentioned, then flows to the cells in your blood. After the necessary amount is absorbed, the pancreas receives a signal to produce insulin, where it lands at insulin receptors on the cells.
The cell then receives a signal which is translated and sent to the DNA. Finally, protein arrives at the cell membrane which allows glucose to enter it.
Problems Associated With Poor Glucose Metabolism
There are a handful of issues that can arise from your body not properly managing glucose breakdown. These include:
- A diseased or damaged pancreas
- Cell death
- Vitamin deficiency
- Problems with controlling blood sugar
- Decreased resting metabolic rate (RMR)
These issues can occur along with a handful of others. Talk to your doctor if you feel like you are having issues with your blood sugar, as this can be a sign of a life-threatening disease.
Additionally, you can use a stenabolic to enhance your body’s lipid and glucose metabolism. Consult with your doctor or physician for personalized medical advice.
There is so much more that goes into glucose metabolism. You can learn more by studying it on your own as well as talking to a trusted doctor or physician. Learning about it can help you prevent developing a disease such as type 2 diabetes.
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