Glucose is the human body's main source of energy. When we digest carbohydrates, they are converted into this substance. When humans are not able to keep the levels of glucose in the bloodstream regulated correctly, they may develop diabetes.
Overview of Glucose
Carbohydrates ("carbs") include such foods as pasta, rice, wheat products, potatoes, and fruits. Some vegetables also fall into this category. Processed foods, especially sweets, are definitely carbs.
When we eat them, our digestive system breaks down the sugar and the starch into glucose. The energy from the glucose gets into the bloodstream through the small intestine. After the glucose hits the bloodstream, it is combined with insulin. This insulin and glucose mixture enters the muscles and the brain, which provides energy so that the body can think and move.
Any extra glucose the body produces is stored in the liver, so that there is a certain amount in reserve in case the normal glucose levels start to drop. The pancreas can speed up or slow down production of insulin, as appropriate. If a person develops diabetes, their body is not able to keep their glucose levels at the correct level. They may need to inject themselves with insulin, or the condition may be treated by following a special diet.
History of Glucose
Insulin was discovered in 1921-22 by Frederick Banting and Charles Best. Prior to their discovery, people with diabetes were put on a special diet, but this was only a temporary measure. This type of diagnosis was a death sentence, since the person would lose weight and waste away over time. The diet would only keep them alive for a matter of months or perhaps a year, but eventually the individual would succumb to malnutrition and starvation.
Dr. Banting came up with a theory that insulin was produced by the pancreas. Before this point in history, no one understood why a person with diabetes had such a high amount of sugar in their blood and urine.
In January of 1922, Banting and Best were ready to test insulin on humans. The first person to be injected with this substance was Leonard Thompson. The 14-year-old boy had been diagnosed with diabetes in 1919 and had dropped down to 65 lbs. His condition had deteriorated to the point where he was expected to go into a coma and die.
After being given insulin, his symptoms began to improve. His blood sugar levels returned to normal and he gained strength. This substance that was derived from the pancreas was proven to be an effective treatment for diabetes.
Benefits of Glucose
You need to have an adequate amount of glucose in your body to give your brain and muscles the fuel they need to function properly. If the glucose levels drop too low and you have hyperglycemia, you may have a headache, feel dizzy, experience anxiety, or have trouble speaking or concentrating.
When glucose levels drop too low in the body, this condition is called hypoglycemia. This condition makes the individual feel tired. Excessive thirst and urination may be signs that your body is not producing enough insulin. All of these are signs of diabetes.
Healthy Claims of Glucose
If you are able to keep your glucose levels in the appropriate range, you will enjoy good health. You will have energy to get through the day and will be able to keep your weight regulated. One of the signs of having too much glucose in your body is that you lose an excessive amount of weight. Having an excessive amount of glucose in your system also makes it harder for cuts and bruises to heal; it takes longer than usual to get better if you injure yourself.
Keeping your glucose levels in the healthy range will also help you stay healthy in the long run. It will help to prevent heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.
The main reason for getting an adequate amount of glucose is so that the muscles in your body have the food that they need to work properly and to heal themselves after exercising or you get hurt. When you exercise vigorously, it causes small tears in the muscle that your body needs to repair; the good news is that this process helps to strengthen your muscles over the long term.
Recommended Daily Allowance of Glucose
There isn't a specific recommended daily allowance for glucose. As long as you are consuming grain products, rice, or pasta as part of your diet, you are getting carbohydrates that your body can break down into glucose. This substance is so important to our health that if you were in a situation where you were starving, your body would start breaking down its own protein to keep the brain and muscles fed.
A good policy to follow is to get approximately 8% of your daily calories from glucrose. If you were consuming 2,000 calories daily, then you would want to consume no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar in the foods you are eating.
Summary of Glucose
Glucose and other polysaccharides provide fuel for our bodies. We get this fuel when we consume carbohydrates. Carbs are found in such foods as rice, pasta, grains, and potatoes. Think starchy foods and you have a good idea of what carbs are. They may have gotten a bad name in the press recently, but you need to consume them to give your body the fuel it needs.
This substance is so important that any excess glucose is stored in the liver in preparation for a time when you haven't eaten enough carbs. Glucose mixes with insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, and is distributed to the body's muscles and the brain.
A person who is unable to produce enough insulin on his or her own develops diabetes. Before the link between insulin and diabetes was discovered by Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best in 1921-22, getting diabetes was a tragedy. It resulted in a slow death for all sufferers. Now people with diabetes can inject themselves with insulin or follow a special diet to stay healthy.
Keeping your glucose levels in the healthy range means that you will feel better and live longer. You are less likely to develop heart or kidney disease, and you will have the energy you need to perform your daily activities.