Nutrition Nugget: Blood (Glucose) Sugar Level and Hormones


Blood Glucose: is the amount of glucose (sugar) present in the blood of a human or animal.  It is regulated with two hormones: glucagon and insulin. It is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells, and blood lipids (in the form of fats and oils) are primarily a compact energy store. Glucose is transported from the intestines or liver to body cells via the bloodstream, and is made available for cell absorption via the hormone insulin, produced by the body primarily in the pancreas.

If the pancrease is not able to produce enough insulin or glucagon, diabetes results.

Hormones: The body’s homeostatic mechanism keeps blood glucose levels within a narrow range (to feel good). It is composed of several interacting systems, of which hormone regulation is the most important.

There are two types of mutually antagonistic metabolic hormones affecting blood glucose levels:

1. Catabolic hormones (such as glucagon, cortisol and catecholamines) which increase blood glucose

2. Anabolic hormones (insulin), which decreases blood glucose.


How we keep homeostasis:

– When blood sugar levels become too high, insulin is released from the pancreas in order to lower blood glucose levels.

– When blood sugar levels become too low, glucagon is released. It promotes the release of glycogen, converted back into glucose. This increases blood sugar levels.


Maintaining blood glucose levels is very important. When the body realizes there is not enough blood sugar (glucose), the body releases one of its own internal drugs (known as a “catabolic” hormone) to turn on the glucose creating internal mechanisms to restore the blood sugar to a more favorable level. When the body senses that the blood sugar level is too high, it will release another hormone (“anabolic”) to turn on the glucose storing internal mechanisms to store the excess ‘energy’. The excess glucose will be absorbed by the liver, muscles and the fat cells of the body. When this happens, more fat is produced. This will lower the circulating concentration in the blood stream.

Too much sugar, means a release of more anabolic hormones to decrease the blood sugar levels.  When that happens, you store it.

Releasing of the hormones into the blood stream affects other tissues and cells as well.  This is why the hormonal influences that occur primarily in response to the blood sugar levels are complicated. These hormones will influence many things at one time. These influences actually serve to drive the body’s metabolism to either turn on overall or to slow down overall.


Want to learn more?

Check out these resources.


Video and Text: Your Brain and Food

Video: Food and Hormonal Response


The Zone Diet


The Paleo Diet (Cordain)

The Paleo Solution (Wolf)

Fish Oil














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