The Science: How do Glucose Tablets work?
Glucose tablets are chewable, quick sources of glucose that act rapidly to raise blood sugar. They are a useful supplement for people who are diabetic, hypoglycaemics and who experience low blood sugar occasionally.
What Is Glucose?
Glucose is a simple sugar and the main sugar found in the blood. It is used by cells in the body to produce energy and is the main source of energy in every organism on Earth.
Chemically, glucose is a carbohydrate, in that it is made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. It is classed as a monosaccharide, meaning it cannot be broken down into a simpler sugar.
What Are Glucose Tablets Used For?
Glucose tablets are used to raise blood sugar levels quickly. Most often, they are used by diabetics and people with hypoglycaemia when blood sugar drops too low (typically below 4mmol/L), to avoid severe symptoms such as seizures.
Athletes also find benefits to glucose tablets, using them to increase the available glucose in their bloodstream so that their bodies can create more energy. Usually, the body converts excess glucose from high-carbohydrate foods into glycogen to store in the liver and muscle tissue. However, when this glycogen store runs out, for example if someone is running for more than an hour or is at risk of low blood sugar, quick-acting glucose tablets can fill the gap. This allows athletes to sustain high performance and delay fatigue.
Symptoms of Low Blood Sugar
The most common symptoms of low blood sugar to watch out for include:
- Fast heartbeat while at rest
- Blurred vision
- Pale, cold or clammy skin
- Feeling weak or tired
- Trouble concentrating
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Irritability or confusion
If these symptoms are not addressed quickly, blood sugar levels can drop further until they reach severe levels. When your blood sugar is below 54mg/dL, you may pass out.
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, taking glucose tablets can help recover blood sugar levels back into the typical safe range, between 4-5.6mmol/L. Taking 1-3 glucose tablets can lift your blood sugar within 15 minutes, so these are a useful supplement to keep handy if you are exercising for long periods or at risk of low blood sugar.
How Do Glucose Tablets Work?
When blood sugar is low, eating sugary snacks can help, but many people find glucose tablets are a better option for them because of how quickly they work.
Glucose tablets make the sugar readily available, rather than being bound up in complex carbohydrates or sugars. This means it is easy for the body to absorb glucose into the bloodstream straight away, improving symptoms of hypoglycaemia quickly and easily.
Most often, glucose enters the body in another form, such as lactose (commonly found in milk), starch (commonly found in carbohydrates such as potatoes or rice), and fructose (found in fruits). These complex sugars break down into glucose during digestion. The glucose is then absorbed through the small intestine and distributed through the bloodstream. Some of the glucose is stored by the liver as glycogen, to be released during times of fasting.
However, the digestive process that breaks down sugars takes time, and when someone is already experiencing symptoms of low blood sugar they may worsen and have more severe symptoms during that time. There are also several medical conditions which inhibit digestion, making glucose less accessible.
When you chew and swallow a glucose tablet, your body can absorb the glucose straight away. Once the glucose is circulated around the body in the bloodstream, you start to feel better. This usually takes around 15 minutes.
How do Cells make Energy from Glucose?
When glucose is transported in the blood, it is absorbed into cells in muscles and organs, along with oxygen. The mitochondria in the cell create a reaction which is shown as the word equation:
Glucose + Oxygen → Carbon Dioxide + Water + Energy
This process is known as aerobic respiration and occurs within every cell in the body.
When cells run out of glucose, due to a drop in blood sugar, they can no longer produce energy.
Fast-Acting Glucose Tabs
Lift Glucose tablets are chewable, flavoured tabs that provide fast-acting glucose for when you need a boost of blood sugar. Whether you are diabetic or an athlete or both, low blood sugar can stop you in your tracks. Lift Glucose tablets can help you recover quickly and carry on.