Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sugar - Why is it Important

Sugar in Metabolism

Lets look at the answer first. It makes possible the manufacture of ATP in each and every living cell and, for diabetics, the use of the glucose for cellular metabolism.

From my point of view, the whole purpose of our body systems is to make a perfect environment for a biological enzyme. (catalyst, in inorganic chemistry)

All of the chemical reactions in our living bodies occur at 98.6 degrees F. Remember in HS Chemistry how we used to heat up test tubes of reactants, in the presence of a catalyst, to very high temperatures until something significant happened? Well, not too many were interested in Science back then but the result is - yes!

A biological enzyme has a component (part) that is very sensitive to the following partial list of things that cancel its ability to make a chemical reaction take place unless regulated perfectly by your body systems. This regulation is called homeostasis.

Presence of oxygen
Food - sugars, fats and proteins
Ridding the body of waste.

Lets see, from this basic short list, what we our body systems do to make a perfect environment for an enzyme to function.


If the temperature varies a few degrees upward or downward from 98.6 degrees F or 37 degrees C the shape of the biological enzyme changes. The word to describe this change is denaturization. Basically, the enzyme can no longer catalyze the chemical reaction it was targeted to because its specific shape was altered.

A biological enzyme is specific for a certain step in a chemical reaction. If it is changed, in any way, it can no longer carry out its function. 

If you want to see denaturization happen, to a protein, a component of enzymes in a living system, go fry an egg. Before you fry the egg you break it open and the contents appear in a frying pan. The clear liquid surrounding the yellow yolk is a protein called albumin. Notice its physical properties observable to the human eye. The albumin, before heating, is a liquid and it is clear. When you heat the egg in the frying pan the physical appearance of the albumin changes. It is now white (it no longer appears transparent) and it changed from a liquid to a solid. It was denatured by the heat.

Why does life flourish on our wonderful planet? Water resists changes in temperature. It takes a formidable amount of heat energy gain or loss to change the temperature of water in our body. Isn't that great to have a drink of water. It is the perfect solvent of everything that is us! A biological enzyme lasts for a long time in our bodies. 

Sometimes we become infected with "bugs" , known as bacteria and/or viruses. They have a very fragile existence and small changes in temperature affect them sooner than our cells. Thats why we have a fever when we get sick. The body is making the bacteria's existence hard, if not impossible. If the body temperature does not do the job our body become vulnerable. Thats when you must see a doctor as quickly as possible.

Simple sugar, like glucose, is the number one ingredient each and every cell in your body uses to make ATP. The ATP makes its possible for you to live properly. Thats why insulin is necessary to make it possible for all your cells to take up glucose for cellular metabolism.

See how important simple sugar is for you and insulins proper regulation is to making glucose uptake available for your cells!