The Role of Glucagon

Glucagon is another hormone essential in regulating blood glucose levels and energy metabolism. It’s produced by the pancreas’ alpha cells and is released when blood glucose levels are low, such as during fasting or exercise.

Upon release, glucagon prompts the liver to break down stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream through a process called glycogenolysis. This action elevates blood glucose levels, supplying energy to the body’s cells. Glucagon also promotes lipolysis, the breakdown of stored fat in adipose tissue into fatty acids. This process provides an additional energy source for the body’s cells.

Glucagon’s role in ketosis is closely tied to its ability to promote stored fat breakdown. When carbohydrate intake is limited, resulting in low glucose levels, insulin levels drop, and glucagon levels rise. This shift triggers the release of stored fatty acids from adipose tissue, which are then transported to the liver and converted into ketone bodies through ketogenesis.

Glucagon also contributes to regulating ketone body breakdown. In conditions of low blood glucose levels and high ketone body production, glucagon signals the liver to break down ketone bodies for energy through a process called ketolysis. This mechanism provides a vital energy source for the body’s cells during periods of limited glucose availability. Understanding glucagon’s role in ketosis is important for maintaining this metabolic state, as it directly influences the production and utilization of ketone bodies as an alternative fuel source on a ketogenic diet.