How Does Exercise Lower the Blood Glucose?
I recently was asked a fantastic question about how exercise lowers blood glucose levels. Exercise lowering the blood glucose is independent of insulin levels. I hadn’t really thought to explain it previously to our ADW clients. So I did a bit of reading to make sure that I really understood it myself! One of my better qualities as a veterinarian, I believe, is that I can explain complicated stuff in an understandable fashion. So, here goes:
When we eat, our bodies have the ability to store a certain amount of energy in either the liver or muscle cells. What isn’t used immediately can be stored in these tissues as glycogen, up to a certain limit anyway. Any excess beyond what is used immediately or beyond the capacity to store it as glycogen is then stored as fat.
Here’s the nifty part! The liver can turn the glycogen back into glucose if needed for use anywhere in the body. Our bodies are so clever! This is how the Somogyi swing can happen, aka rebound effect. For example, if the pet receives too much insulin which would drive the blood glucose too low, the liver can react and turn glycogen into glucose and save the day! Or, in the old fight or flight adrenaline situation, it can again turn glycogen into glucose for a pet to make a quick getaway. This is how the white coat syndrome happens and why I’m always encouraging owners of diabetic pets to do blood glucose curves at home instead of in the vet clinic setting. If a pet is stressed, this hepatogluconeogenesis, the liver making sugar from stored glycogen, can make the blood glucose level higher in the vet clinic Continue reading