In contrast to insulin, glucagon raises blood sugar when it is too low.
While insulin converts sugar to glycogen, glucagon converts glycogen (a form of sugar stored in your liver) to sugar.
The key: Unlike other methods of creating sugar in the blood, glucagon does so by breaking down body fat.
When your blood sugar gets too low, glucagon will go to work trying to raise your glucose levels. It does this by getting glycogen stored in the liver and breaking it down.
Liver glycogen depletes in about 24 hours without food. Physical activity will shorten this period.
When glycogen (the form sugar is stored in your liver) in the liver depletes, and glucagon is in your blood, it causes your nervous system to use body fat to create glucose.
Due to the rise in blood sugar, insulin is increased again to shunt the sugar in to the cells. When the muscles have had their fill and stop taking in glucose, insulin will shunt blood sugar back into you liver.
This means if you deplete the liver of glycogen, you eliminate a source of sugar. Without this, there becomes only three other sources: from your food, from inside your muscles and from your body fat.
What we want to do is get your glucose from your body fat. But we don’t want sugar to come from your muscles. That will be age-accelerating.
If your body is preventing your body fat from being broken down, glucagon will create blood sugar from the glucose in your muscle. Your muscle protein is broken down to amino acids and then converted to glucose. This is the muscle destroyer aspect of glucagon.
What Affects It?
- Where sugar is the trigger for releasing insulin, protein is the trigger for releasing glucagon.
- Protein, however, also triggers insulin at about a 30% strength compared to sugar.
- So you don’t want to consume large servings of protein at one time.
- Glucagon is also triggered by too little food.
- Glucagon is also another fat-burning hormone secreted after intense exercise.