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How is blood sugar controlled in a healthy individual? I would like to know the role of enzymes, hydrolysis, condensation and the hormones that control blood sugar via bio-synthetic and catabolic processes.
Question Date: 2012-09-10
Answer 1:

This is a complicated question, but it is an important one. Many people now have trouble controlling their blood sugar due to diet, lack of exercise, or just bad luck in their genetics.

Let’s start with sugar itself. Your brain needs it. All of your cells need some kind of fuel, but your brain is especially picky. Carbohydrates are just sugars and chains (polymers) of sugars like starch. When the sugars bond together, this is a condensation reaction. It’s called that because water is one of the products. Processes that put small biomolecules together to make bigger ones are called anabolic or bio-synthetic.

When a carbohydrate chain breaks into smaller pieces, this is called hydrolysis. “Lysis” means to break down. “Hydro” means water. Processes that break big molecules down into small ones are catabolic.

Enzymes are the body’s toolkit. Specific enzymes put the sugars together and take them apart. For example, sucrase is the enzyme that breaks table sugar (sucrose) into two sugars (fructose and glucose).

When we haven’t eaten in a while, and blood sugar is low, enzymes break down long chains of sugars (like starch) into small sugars. The hormone that tells our cells that we need sugar is called glucagon.

After we eat carbohydrates, sugars are released into our blood from the digestive system. The hormone insulin tells the cells to take the sugar out of the blood. Cells in our liver, muscles, and fat tissue make fat or long chains of carbohydrates called glycogen. This stores the energy for when we need it later.

Insulin and glucagon are both made in the pancreas, an organ near our stomach. It senses the blood sugar level and releases either glucagon to raise blood sugar or insulin to reduce it. This controls our blood sugar levels.

What happens if our bodies don’t respond to insulin?

Thanks for asking,

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