Glucose metabolism is a process that most Americans don’t think of until they are diagnosed with specific conditions where glucose metabolism is no longer happening or happening at an insufficient rate.
In this article we want to educate you on what glucose metabolism is and how it affects your body. Understanding glucose metabolism is even more important if you have a chronic illness such as diabetes, hyperglycemia or metabolic syndrome.
What Is Glucose Metabolism?
The easiest way to describe glucose metabolism is that it is the process of our cells receiving nourishment. Just like us, if our cells don’t eat, they will starve and eventually die. That is why glucose metabolism, cells eating and receiving nourishment, is the basis of life, and why conditions such as hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, metabolic syndrome and diabetes can be life threatening.
Glucose metabolism begins with the ingestion and digestion of carbohydrates. After the carbohydrates are completely broken down, what is left are the simple sugars: Fructose, Glucose and Galactose. Fructose comes from vegetables and fruits, while Galactose comes from dairy. Glucose sugars come from grains. Knowing where these simple sugars come from is not as important as knowing this; When Fructose and Galactose combine they make Glucose.
That is why when we measure our blood sugar, we are measuring the glucose serum in our blood.
The Role Of Cells In Your Body
When your cells eat, their primary food is glucose – fructose and galactose combined. How your cells eat glucose is not a complicated process, however there are a few things about our cells in general, that you will want know in order to fully understand the process of how they eat.
The first thing to know is that all of our cells are surrounded by a membrane made up of fat. The type of fat in the cell membranes is essential fatty acids, omega 6s and 3s. This fatty acid ensures the integrity of the cell. Although the membrane is malleable it is impermeable; it will bend but not break. Along this membrane there are receptor sites known as insulin receptors.These receptors are made up of vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin E, Magnesium, Chromium and Vanadium.
As per the name, this is where the insulin lands to send its signal into the cell. All cells have a nucleus. In the nucleus there are other receptors called PPAR receptors. These receptors are more like translators because they receive the signal from the insulin and translate it into the language of DNA. Insulin is one of the hormones produced in the pancreas. One thing to know about hormones is that they communicate.
The Process Of Glucose Metabolism
Glucose metabolism is the process where we eat carbohydrates, they breakdown into simple sugars which all turn into glucose which flows through the blood to the cells. Once the amount of glucose builds up around the cells, the pancreas get a signal to produce insulin. The insulin travels to the cell and lands in the insulin receptors. A signal is then sent into the cell where it is received by the nuclear receptors (PPARs) which in turn translate the message and send it to the DNA. Glucose protein transports are then sent to the cell membrane where they penetrate it and open the way for the glucose to enter the cell.
What Happens When Your Glucose Metabolism Isn’t Working
There are five potential disconnects with this procedure which can lead to any of the aforementioned conditions resulting from faulty glucose metabolism. The first three can be addressed with food and supplements if caught in time, while the final two will need to be addressed with medication.
- If the cell membrane dries up and loses its fatty acids, the integrity of the cell will be compromised and it will die. This could be genetic or a result of poor nutritional habits.
- The insulin receptors could be deficient in some of the vitamins and minerals that make them up. Therefore, they will not be able to send a clear signal. This could be a genetic predisposition or a result of malnutrition.
- The PPARs are made up of linoleic acid, an omega 6 fatty acid. If a deficiency exists, they will not be able to send their signal to the DNA. These could also be affected by genetics or malnutrition.
- The pancreas might not be producing enough insulin or the insulin is not potent enough to send a strong signal.
- The pancreas is diseased or damaged and isn’t secreting any insulin.
To insure that proper glucose metabolism is taking place in your body, it is necessary to have your blood sugar tested regularly throughout the year and eat a sound nutritionally balanced diet while taking sufficient vitamins, minerals and essential fats.
When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness (or any illness for that matter), it is important to follow your doctor’s recommendation. Further than that, it is also important to educate yourself on that illness. At Warner Family Practice, we see the value of preventive care and we want to equip our patients with as much knowledge as we can.
If you are in the Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix or Gilbert area of Arizona, we encourage you to schedule a visit with one of our providers. You can call 480.831.8457 to speak with our scheduling department.
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