Weight Loss

The power of glucagon, fasting's hormonal superhero

Nina Ross
Certified Naturopathic Doctor
October 29, 2023

So you're thinking about taking a break from eating for a while, huh? Whether you're trying to lose weight, improve your health, or just want to try out this whole "fasting" thing that all the cool kids are doing these days, it's important to understand the role that glucagon plays in your body during extended periods of fasting.

First of all, what the heck is glucagon? It's a hormone produced by your pancreas that helps to regulate your blood sugar levels. When you eat, your body releases insulin, which helps to lower your blood sugar levels by converting excess glucose into glycogen, which is stored in your liver and muscles. But when you're fasting, your body doesn't have a steady supply of glucose coming in, so your liver needs to break down glycogen into glucose to maintain normal blood sugar levels. That's where glucagon comes in.

As your glycogen stores start to run low during fasting, your pancreas releases glucagon, which signals your liver to start breaking down glycogen into glucose. This process, known as glycogenolysis, helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels and prevent hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. And if that wasn't enough, glucagon also promotes the breakdown of fats in fat cells, releasing fatty acids into your bloodstream to be used as an energy source. It's like a hormonal superhero, fighting against low blood sugar and helping you burn fat all at the same time!

But here's the thing: your body can only rely on glycogen stores for so long. Eventually, you'll need to rely on other sources of energy, like ketones, which are produced by your liver when your body starts to break down fat for energy. And while fasting can have some serious benefits, it's not for everyone and can potentially be harmful if not done properly. So before you start any fasting regimen, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional to make sure it's safe for you and to ensure that you're getting the necessary nutrients during the fasting period.

In conclusion, glucagon is like the guardian angel of your blood sugar levels during fasting. It's important to understand its role and to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any fasting regimen. Just don't forget to thank your pancreas for all its hard work!

Nina Ross
Certified Naturopathic Doctor

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