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Differences Between Amylopectin and Glycogen

Amylopectin vs Glycogen

Humans consume a large percentage of carbohydrates which proportionately reaches up to 60 percent. This may be an astonishing amount; however, we need the energy that carbohydrates provide. If we have enough carbohydrates in our body, we can perform our everyday tasks. Nutritionists advise us to eat big meals, especially in the morning, since we need to have enough carbohydrates to spend throughout the day.

We primarily consume carbohydrates in the form of starch. There are two energy sources which humans depend on, namely, amylopectin and glycogen. What are the differences between amylopectin and glycogen?

As we have mentioned earlier, both amylopectin and glycogen are sources of energy. Amylopectin is the insoluble constituent of starch while glycogen is the soluble form of starch. Amylopectin falls under the category of a polysaccharide which consists of several long branch chains of sugar. The length of its chains ranges from 2,000 up to 200,000 glucose units. On the other hand, it branches out between every 20-24 glucose molecules.

Amylopectin is produced by plants which can be stored in their fruits, seeds, leaves, stems, and roots. Among our favorite foods which contain this starchy constituent are: potatoes, rice, corn, and a lot more. These starch molecules, consisting of amylopectin, are not water soluble. To be able to break down amylopectin, we have to heat or cook the food. Humans also have salivary amylase, an enzyme found in our saliva which also helps in breaking down amylopectin.

Do you know that amylopectin comprises approximately 80 percent of the starch molecules of most plants? If you are wondering about the structure of amylopectin, it looks similar to glycogen. If amylopectin can be found in plants, glycogen is found in animals since it is an animal glucose storage polysaccharide. You can have a dose of glycogen from the meat, intestines, and liver of animals. When eaten, glycogen turns into glucose so it becomes an important source of energy.

Glycogen can be stored inside the human body which amounts to 2,000 kilocalories. When we eat, this glycogen kilocalorie level is refreshed. In turn, we have a stable supply of energy. Animals, as well as humans, need to store glycogen within their bodies. Though fatty acids play a more important role than glycogen, our brain needs a sufficient supply of glucose. Another important point is that we need to regulate our blood glucose levels.

For us to have a continuous supply of energy, we need to eat the proper amount of food. We need amylopectin and glycogen inside our body to be able to perform bodily functions.

Summary:

  1. Amylopectin and glycogen are both polysaccharides. These polysaccharides are great sources of energy for us humans. Amylopectin is an insoluble form of starch while glycogen is a soluble form of starch.

  2. The great sources of amylopectin come from plants which include: rice, corn, potatoes, and other starchy foods. On the other hand, glycogen is found in the meat, intestines, and livers of animals.

  3. To be able to break down amylopectin, we need to heat or cook our food. Our saliva, which contains an enzyme called salivary amylase, also helps in breaking down amylopectin. On the other hand, glycogen can be easily dissolved in water. When it dissolves in water, it takes the form of glucose. In other words, consuming plants and animals as food is very vital for our body systems to get the necessary nutrients they need.

  4. Plants can store approximately 80 percent amylopectin while animals can store glycogen to approximately 2,000 kilocalories. Both polysaccharides need to be stored in order to have a stable and steady supply of energy.


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