Glucose is our body’s favorite fuel source. Your body stores extra glucose as glycogen to use when you need more energy.
All parts of our body need energy to function. We get energy from carbohydrates, protein, and fat in the food we eat.
During digestion, our body breaks down carbohydrates, protein, and fat into smaller pieces so our body can use them for energy.
Carbohydrates break down into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose is our body’s favorite source of fuel. It’s already in a form that our body’s cells can use for energy.
Stored glucose that can be used when our body needs is called glycogen. When you need energy, your body can convert the glycogen back into glucose.
This article will provide more detail on glucose and glycogen, how they’re used, and what that means for our health.
Glycogen is the stored form of glucose.
Your body makes sure that glucose is always available when you need it.
Our body uses glucose to fuel all the cells in the body. Our muscles, heart, lungs, and brain all need glucose to work. Our brain relies highly on glucose. The brain uses between 20 and 25% of the glucose our body needs.
When you need glucose but there isn’t enough available in your blood, your body will release glycogen stores.
Your body can convert glycogen back into glucose and use it to meet energy needs. Glycogen is mainly stored in the liver and muscle cells. You can only store so much glycogen.
Once this runs out, your body will store more glucose as glycogen, so you have it for next time.
Glycogen is more complicated than simple glucose.
We get glucose from the digestion of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are made of many tiny glucose molecules. During digestion, your body breaks down these chains of carbohydrates into glucose.
Some glucose is used right away to meet your body’s needs. Your body also keeps some glucose available in your bloodstream. This is known as blood sugar or blood glucose. Your body likes to keep this level stable.
Glycogen is different because your body stores it to be used when needed. That happens when there isn’t any other glucose available for energy. We can only store so much glycogen.
The liver and muscles can store glycogen. Some other body cells also store glycogen.
People who follow a very low carbohydrate diet may have a harder time maintaining their glycogen stores.
It’s still possible to get fuel from protein and fat, but many people feel like their brain function is affected while following a low carbohydrate diet.
You may notice brain fog, difficulty concentrating, or mood changes if your brain doesn’t get enough glucose.
Glycogen itself doesn’t turn into fat.
Our body has different ways of storing extra energy. After eating carbohydrates, it uses some glucose right away.
Extra glucose will refill the glycogen stores. If there is still more glucose left, your body may store it as fat. This provides another source of energy if you need it. Extra protein and fat may also be stored as fat.
Our body can also break down fat to provide fuel, but this is a more complicated process. Glycogen stores provide a much quicker way to get the fuel you need.
Glucose is our body’s favorite source of energy. It’s ready for our body’s cells to use to keep our muscles, heart, lungs, and brain working.
Since this source of fuel is so important, our body can also store extra glucose. Our body stores glucose as chains of glucose called glycogen.
Extra glucose from our food that isn’t needed right away gets stored as glycogen. This means you have energy available when you need it.