What is Glucose?

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  • Originally Written By: S. Mithra
  • Revised By: A. Joseph
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2019
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Glucose is a simple sugar that provides the body with its primary source of energy. This type of sugar comes from digesting carbohydrates into a chemical that the body can easily convert to energy. When glucose levels in the bloodstream aren't properly regulated, a person can develop a serious condition, such as diabetes.

From Carbohydrates

People get most of their glucose from digesting the sugar and starch in carbohydrates. Foods such as rice, pasta, grain, potatoes and processed sweets contain carbohydrates that can be converted into glucose. The body's digestive system, using bile and enzymes, breaks down the starch and sugar in these foods into glucose. This functional form of energy then gets absorbed through the small intestine into the bloodstream. It is then carried throughout the body, providing energy for the person to perform all types of activities, such as simple movements, demanding physical exercises or even thinking.

Glycemic Index

Foods can be rated according to the glycemic index, which indicates how quickly the carbohydrates are broken down by the body and the glucose is released into the bloodstream. White bread and most breakfast cereals have a high glycemic index, which means that the carbohydrates are broken down and the body's blood-sugar levels raised more quickly. Most fruits, vegetables and nuts have low glycemic indexes. Whole-wheat products and some types of potatoes have glycemic indexes in the middle.


Regulating Levels

Glucose it is such a vital source of energy, and it interacts with both the digestive and endocrine system in the body, so keeping its levels — also called blood-sugar levels — in the bloodstream within a normal range is extremely important to a person's health. The human body has adapted to maintain this ideal level by storing extra glucose in the liver and muscles as glycogen, so that it can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream when the body's blood-sugar levels drop. Insulin, a hormone that is released by the pancreas, regulates the body's blood-sugar levels.

Excessively high blood-sugar levels, a condition called hyperglycemia, might be caused by too much sugar or too little insulin in the blood. In a person who has Type 1 diabetes, for example, the pancreas does not produce insulin, so he or she typically must receive regular insulin injections. Extremely low blood-sugar levels might result from eating too little food or having too much insulin in one's bloodstream.


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Discuss this Article

Post 84

There are 2 forms of Glucose as it is a chiral molecule. Which form does the body consume? What happens to the other form?

Post 83

Glucose is broken down by bile and enzymes and carried into the bloodstream through the small intestine.

Post 81

I was lactose, glucose, wheat intolerant until I had stomach cramps so bad I went to the hospital and now I wear a colostomy bag due to colon cancer.

Post 79

I'm diabetic and glucose, gluten and wheat and lactose intolerant. So now what?

Post 75

@anon33580 Post 7: Glucose is not gluten. Glucose is a type of sugar.

As glucose can be made from any type of starch, it may also be made of cereals containing gluten such as wheat.

So people who suffer from gluten intolerance should make sure they only eat glucose made from potatoes, corn or other gluten free foodstuffs!

Post 74

Is glucose a monosaccharide?

Post 69

How is glucose transported into your cellls?

Post 67

who is the author of this article?

Moderator's reply: The author is S. Mithra. Authors' names can be found on the left side of the page under "article details" of every wiseGEEK article. Thanks for visiting and for contributing to the discussion!

Post 66

Glucose does not require insulin to enter the brain. Basic biochemistry here people

Post 64

under what conditions does a patient need to be on a drip of glucose?

Post 55

what is the difference between glucose and sugar?

Post 54

does glucose affect your joints?

Post 53

how does glucose in food get to your muscles?

Post 52

can glucose be tested on animals?

Post 51

I heard that oxygen itself is not used as a fuel but is used to burn the glucose for the working muscles. is this true?

Post 50

I'm designing a lab for my bio class and i don't know how to find the glucose that gets digested by lactase from lactose.

Does anyone know how i can find the glucose?

My lab is to see if lactase at different pH level, will have different results at digesting lactose, so i need a way to find the glucose that is digested by the lactase.

Post 49

what are the other types of glucose? and kindly give their functions.

Post 48

Does the ability of glucose (dextrose) to raise blood sugar deteriorate over time due to effects of normal ambient environmental conditions? Is there a reputable scientific resource available to support the answer?

Post 47

when glucose is convert to glycogen and citric acid how many moles of ATP are produced.

Post 45

what level of the your glucose should be fasting and no fasting?

Post 44

What sugar substitutes can affect yeast?

Post 43

How is glucose different and alike from sugar substitutes?

Post 42

Why is it that glucose doesn't show up on the back of foods, on food labels, my 5th grade science experiment has to do with glucose

Post 39

How does glucose work in the type 2 diabetes patient?

Post 37

glucose is needed?

Post 36

Glucose cannot be used without the combustion process! glucose is oxidized by the oxygen we breath releasing water CO2 and heat. exhale near a window and you will see fog. it's the water produced in the reaction and CO2 is also exhaled.

C6H12O6+ O2: CO2 + H2O + heat.

Post 33

what causes changes to the blood glucose concentration?

Post 32

how does it give energy to our body? is it unique? or any alternative for glucose?

Post 30

what color is glucose?

Post 29

is glucose found in the vena cavae?

Post 26

1) why is glucose a very important food??

2) why is it important that a food such as glucose is soluble?

Post 25

how fast dose glucose travel from one place to another?

Post 24

what is the scientific notation of glucose?

Post 22

Is glucose good or bad? I am sorry. I am in third grade and only have a fifth grade reading level.

Post 20

well now i know about glucose because im doing a science fair about it in middle school.

Post 18

What is the thermodynamics of glucose?

Post 17

Glucose in food gets broken down in our small intestines then into you're bloodstream and you're body excretes insulin to help glucose get into your cells. If you have too much glucose in your body is gets converted to either fat or glycogen "correct me if I'm wrong" and when dextrose levels aren't high your body then can re-convert glycogen back into glucose.

Post 13

can glucose be found in soil?

Post 12

does sugar feed cancer?

Post 11

sugar doesn't feed cancer and glucose and gluten are two completely different things.

Post 10

is glucose in pie?

Post 9

Where can glucose be found?

Post 8

gluten is a protein found in flour.

Post 7

Glucose is not gluten. Glucose is a type of sugar.

Post 6

when glucose is produced in solid, can it be reassured and committed to a full length attachment? i am very concerned.

Post 5

Is glucose, gluten?

Post 4

What types of chemicals are necessary for skeletal muscles to contract?

Post 3

What happens to the sugar we eat? Does sugar feed cancer as claimed?

Post 2

how does glucose in food get to your muscles?

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