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Difference Between Glucose and Glycogen

Glucose vs Glycogen

What’s the difference between glucose and glycogen? To secondary school students, this question may come as easy as it is one of the most discussed topics in biology. There are many types of sugars namely: monosaccharide, disaccharide and polysaccharide. Glucose is a monosaccharide while glycogen is a polysaccharide. It is therefore a more complex sugar than glucose. When many glucose molecules bind altogether along with oxygen, glycogen can most likely be formed as an end result.

The other difference between the two can be best explained by knowing the process of glucose metabolism. When a person eats food, the food components will be broken down by the body into simpler sugars termed glucose. If there is an excess of glucose in the system then it will be converted and then stored as glycogen in the liver. Similarly, if the liver (an organ that can normally hold as much as 100g of glycogen) is deficient in such, then the body will most likely tend to store the glucose as glycogen. If the true is correct (there’s an excess of glycogen in the liver) then glycogen will be released to the muscle cells by first being broken down into glucose. The rate and extent of release will also be dependent on the body’s energy needs.

During workouts, the energy source primarily used is glucose. But the muscles would rely more on glycogen most especially when glucose level are starting to get low. Hence, it is better to have sufficient amounts of glucose in the body so that the glucose can be used for other more vital functions like for brain function and not for the provision of energy for your muscles. This can be done by taking in some simple carbohydrates after you engage in strenuous physical exertions (the time when your body is usually low in glycogen). Athletes are also advised to do ‘carbohydrate loading’ so that they won’t experience a sudden depletion of glycogen when all energy sources have been used up.

1. Glycogen is a bigger (described as a dendrimer of several hundreds or thousands of glucose molecules) and is a more complex sugar being a polysaccharide while glucose is the simplest form of sugar being a monosaccharide.

2. Glycogen is the storage type of glucose that is formed and kept in the muscles, liver and even in the brain.

3. Glycogen is a reserve of energy or a back-up energy in case other energy sources in the form of glucose become depleted while glucose is the primary energy source for almost all biologic processes.


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2 Comments

  1. My husbands Naturopathist Physician put him on “GLUcogen”. I cant’t find any spelling that matches this—so what is the difference between GLYcogen and GLUcagon and the GLUcogen that my husband is taking?
    Check out the spelling on these three please!

  2. Your site is simply awesome. Good work guyzzzzz. I’m a student of 10th standard and your website helped me find difference between dark reaction and light reaction. Keep it up. Strongly recommended :)

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