Glucagon Hormone

Glucagon:

Feeling full and satified

Glucagon is another  produced in the pancreas. It is secreted to raise your blood sugar level in the event it goes too low. As this happens the liver also releases stores of carbohydrates or what is called glycogen. This is what helps to raise the blood sugar levels back up to normal. The process also allows fat to be broken down to give the body fuel to run on. This is definitely one of the weight loss hormones.

Glucagon: Importance and Its Functions

Glucagon is the peptide hormone (protein hormone) synthesized and secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas. Primarily functions counter to insulin’s action, glucagon increases blood glucose level. Both glucagon and insulin are part of body’s chemical feedback system.

When adequate amount of glucose is unavailable for body cells, specifically during exercises and in between meals, glucagon is secreted. This initiates the release of glucose storages in the liver by stimulating glycogenolysis, the process of converting glycogen into glucose. Resulted elevated level of blood glucose stimulates insulin secretion and insulin in turn facilitates further absorption and usage of glucose by the cells. This feedback system regulates the blood glucose level and ensures ample energy generation. Glucagon also resolves the glucose crisis by invoking hepatic gluconeogenesis, conversion of non-hexose substrates such as amino acids to glucose. Because of this attribute, elevated level of amino acids after a protein rich meal can activate glucagon secretion.

Watch the video below to understand the whole process clearly.

Glucagon is synthetically manufactured and used for treating severe hypoglycemia conditions. Typical cause of hypoglycemia in diabetes patients is surplus in insulin dosage through injections or oral medications. Glucose and diazoxide are used in the case of mild hypoglycemia.

Abnormalities regarding glucagon alone are rare. Also it was considered there isn’t any particular relation between glucagon and obesity. However, recent studies conclude that in obese individuals glucagon fails to give satiety signals to the brain, particularly in the case of obesity due to type 2 diabetes. Evidence shows that glucagon suppresses hunger by inhibiting the secretion of appetite hormones like ghrelin.

The “unihormonal abnormality concept” of diabetes and obesity due to diabetes is renewed with the “bihormonal abnormality concept” which suggests that for a matured diabetic syndrome a state of glucagon excess is required in addition to the insulin abnormality. The condition of elevated level of glucose in blood due to hormonal action is called endogenous hyperglycemia and glucagon is an alleged cause in the case of insulin patients. But conventional diabetes treatments are unable to correct either abnormal glucagon levels or hyperglycemia. The impact of this study and its results in obesity control and treatment is yet to be revealed. However, endocrinologists suggest it is directly linked to diabetes and so the perception for fixes and treatments should in that angle. Therefore dietary and lifestyle measures to control diabetes might prevail in regulating glucagon level and thus controlling obesity.

 

Reference:

  • http://www.medicinenet.com/glucagon/article.htm
  • http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/pancreas/glucagon.html
  • http://www.news-medical.net/news/20130821/Glucagon-loses-its-ability-to-help-obese-people-but-continues-to-suppress-hunger-pangs.aspx
  • http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2398172/Obese-people-arent-greedy–misfiring-hormones-mean-feel-eating.html
  • http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/360007
  • http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/355737

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