A brief introduction.


Whenever the body sees that the glycemic index is lower than it should, meaning that the levels of glucose in blood are lower than they should it starts trying to obtain more glucose to make up for it.

Among the different methods it could use we can find those based on external sources and those based on interanl.

The first one we could think of is basically eating food with carbohydrates to make up for it with external sources. The other option, those based on , sources could be using glycogen or using gluconeogenesis.

As we saw in previous posts, whenever this happens, such as during fasting, the first response of our body is to mobilize the stores of glycogen. As we saw, glycogen is in truth just a huge molecule made up of a lot of glucose molecules bound together, meaning that by decomposing it we can obtain glucose.

But we have to remember that the body never really uses only one method but rather always uses various methods and just shifts how much of what it wants it actually gets from each one of them. Meaning that even when we still have glycogen we are already starting to use gluconeogenesis and once we finish our reserves of glycogen gluconeogenesis starts having more importance.

Now that we know why gluconeogenesis is important lets see what it actually means.

What is gluconeogenesis

Gluconeogenesis is the process by which using as a base molecules such as pyruvate, which are obtained from compounds different from carbohydrates. By using these molecules gluconeogenesis gives us carbohydrates such as glucose.

The word etymology of the word describes the process perfectly, since gluco– is a derivative of the word glyco which comes from the greek glykys, word that means sweet, and the word neo- and genesis- which mean respectively new and creation. So when you put them together you get the meaning of the process

Gluconeogenesis = Generation of new ”sweets”

In this case we refer to them as sweets because two of the most well known carbohydrates are glucose and sucrose, both of which are known for having a sweet taste and sucrose is what we use whenever we put sugar in our drinks.

From this we can summarize that gluconeogenesis is the process by which using molecules which many times come from a source different from carbohydrates, you can produce carbohydrates.

When is gluconeogenesis important?

You might think, why is this process important when we could just eat the carbohydrates ?

The fact is that as we saw if you want to go into fasting or use a keto diet you will still ”need” a suply of glucose, and this is due to the fact that our body has grown used to this compound as a source of energy mostly for organs such as the brain, and as we saw, there are a few organs that are unable to use other sources of energy.

Meaning that when you can’t get glucose from outside sources, your only option would be to actually create it yourself, and here is where gluconeogenesis comes into play.

By using this process you can supply your organs with glucose even when you aren’t getting any from outside sources and as such you can continue with you normal metabolism even while in ketosis.

So now that we know why gluconeogenesis is important the next step is to understand how the process works. But before that let’s see which are the main molecules we use for the process.

Which are the sources of energy?

For this process we can use different molecules as a base, among them:

  • Aminoacids which as we all know come from decomposing the proteins we get through our diet
  • Lactate which is what gives us when it accumulates after intense exercise
  • Glycerol Which we saw was produced during ketosis as we decomposed the lipids from our diet.

Those three are the main sources of molecules that we use as a base for gluconeogenesis, meaning that since during ketosis we obtain glycerol, we can use it as a source of the basic compounds to obtain glucose.

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