The primary source of fuel for the brain is glucose. The brain can be compared to an engine whose almost unique fuel is glucose. And to burn this fuel, he needs oxygen which he is very voracious. Although the brain represents only 2% of the body weight, it absorbs alone at least 20% of the oxygen breathed. To reach its cerebral target, oxygen needs a key trace element: iron. In this energy-producing factory that is the brain, neurons work “on the fly”. It is also very greedy in certain fatty acids (in particular the Omega 3) because its structure consists essentially of fat. After adipose tissue, it is the body’s fattest organ.
The Primary Source of Fuel for the Brain Is Glucose, but Too Much Glucose in the Blood Is Toxic for the Body.
Did you know? Glucose is the simple sugar absolutely essential for the production of energy by the cells. It is taken from food by the action of the juices of the stomach and duodenum. Food starch is a major source. When there is too much concentration in the blood, glucose is toxic to the arteries. Diabetes is a disease of regulating this concentration.
Glucose is largely provided by a normal and healthy diet, for the good reason that all foods can be turned into glucose.
*** Slow Sugars and Fast Sugars
The brain, like the muscles, needs this essential “fuel”, glucose, to function properly, but the concern lies in the glycemic index of each food, namely whether its absorption is fast or slow by the body. The problem of too fast a transformation of certain foods into glucose increases it in the blood brutally, and the body then triggers a regulatory mechanism. The pancreas then produces a hormone called insulin, whose role is to regulate the level of sugar in the blood, and the excess sugar is stored in the liver and muscles, and finally the excess, which cannot be absorbed by the body, is transformed into fat (hence the cellulite and obesity that eventually result).
*** Don’t Absorb Too Many Fast Sugars
On the other hand, if a person absorbs too many fast sugars, and his body does not contain enough slow sugars, the blood glucose level will decrease rapidly, and the latter will draw on the reserves available in the first place in the blood liver, then into the muscles, and finally the person will end up in hypoglycemia. It then comes for the latter an irrepressible desire to consume sugar, and if that person gives in to that by absorbing sweets, it enters the terrible and endless circle of chronic hypoglycemia, and all pathologies associated with it whether it is physical or psychological.
This is why the body needs a constant glucose level in the blood (about 1 gram per 1 liter of blood), and this rate can be regular only by the absorption of food at the same time low or medium glycemic index, that is, a slow transformation of food into glucose in the blood, which provides it with a continuous supply.
The concentration of glucose in the blood is called glucose. Normal fasting glucose values range from 0.6 g / l to 1 g / l. After the meal, the blood sugar level increases for one to two hours, without exceeding 1.6 g / l and then returns to the basic values within two hours.
Glucose from the digestion of carbohydrates is either immediately used to make the bodywork, or stored as glycogen. When the meal is slow in coming or the effort is prolonged, the glycogen is transformed again into “glucose” fuel.
*** The Glycemic Index
The glycemic index also called “glycemic index” (GI) allows to classify foods according to the response they induce on blood sugar. This index is obtained by comparison with the glucose whose glycemic index has been fixed at 100. The GI is calculated for portions of food containing 50 g of carbohydrates and it provides information on the quality of carbohydrate.
The glycemic index tables serve only as indicators. The absorption of carbohydrates by the body depends on many factors, which have been the subject of many studies. This work has shown that blood glucose levels vary according to food-related parameters. Thus, their physical structure (solid or liquid), their texture, their method of cooking, the presence or absence of other nutrients (lipids, proteins) and / or fibers, as well as their mode of consumption (absorbed alone or during ‘a meal) have an influence.
Hypoglycemia is a lack of glucose in the blood. Glucose is the main energy provider for the brain. The glycogen store in the brain is weak. The brain has the possibility, in some cases, to use other energy suppliers: ketones and, to a lesser extent, amino acids. But the brain is essentially dependent on the glucose content in the blood. So the glucose is the primary source of fuel for the brain.
1 – Optimize Intellectual Performance
When a particular brain effort is provided, the areas that are called upon are able to request a “supplement” of glucose and oxygen to cope with the increase in their activity. The “official supplier” of glucose is carbohydrates.
The complexity and duration of a mental task condition glucose consumption by the brain. The more we dig our brains, the more we need fuel.
Studies show that glucose improves memory performance in children and adolescents. For example, children who have eaten breakfast are better at performing arithmetic and reading tests in the morning.
The carbohydrates in foods are turned into glucose during digestion. Glucose passes into the blood. It is then used directly as “fuel” by the body, or stored as glycogen in the liver or muscles.
*** Glucose and Intellectual Performance
Glucose is the primary source of fuel for the brain. Short-term drops in available glucose still occur in some areas of the brain and may interfere with cognitive functions such as attention, memory, and learning.
The brain can also consume more glucose if it is solicited for difficult intellectual tasks. The more demanding intellectual tasks seem to react better to glucose than the simpler tasks. This may be because the brain absorbs more glucose when it is in a state of mild tension, as is the case with difficult intellectual tasks.
Since the brain is sensitive to short-term falls in blood glucose levels and seems to respond appropriately to an increase in blood glucose, it may be interesting to maintain this rate at an appropriate level to preserve the function cognitively. Regular meals can help. Studies in young children and adolescents have shown that having breakfast improves intellectual performance by boosting brain capacity for tasks related to memory and attention.
2 – The Energetic Needs of the Brain
The human brain is a dense network of neurons or nerve cells that are constantly active even during sleep. To provide the energy needed for this activity, the brain needs a continuous supply of glucose into the bloodstream. As part of a balanced diet, 45 to 60% of the total energy should come from carbohydrates. A normal-weight adult needs about 200 g of glucose per day, two-thirds of which (about 130 g) is absorbed specifically by the brain to meet its needs.
The brain competes with the rest of the body for glucose when its rate drops very low, such as starvation, for example. Under these conditions, the brain strictly controls its glucose share to stay at a high level of activity. It uses two mechanisms: first by capturing glucose directly from the blood when its cells lack energy, then by limiting the amount of glucose available to the rest of the body to have more for itself. These mechanisms are essential for survival. Unlike muscles (including the heart), and the liver, the brain cannot draw energy directly from fatty acids.
*** Glucose like the Primary Source of Fuel for the Brain
Glucose is found mainly in starchy foods (bread, rice, pasta, and potatoes) as well as in fruits, juices, honey, jams and table sugar. During digestion, the body breaks down the carbohydrates in these foods into glucose that is transported by the bloodstream to the brain and other organs that use it as a source of energy. The body strictly regulates blood sugar levels to maintain glucose homeostasis.
Neoglucogenesis is a process that allows the body to make its own sugar from the basic components of proteins and lipids.
Glycogen is a reserve of energy that can be mobilized quickly to cover a sudden need for glucose (during physical exercise, for example), but also when the glucose provided by food is insufficient (during fasting, for example). The body then makes glucose by breaking down its glycogen stores. Liver glycogen is almost exhausted 12 to 18 hours after a meal, after night fasting for example, where the body breaks down lipids to produce the energy it needs.
*** A Certain Amount of Energy Foods Are Needed Daily by the Brain
The brain is a big consumer of energy. Billions of neurons in effervescence, it feeds.
Unbalanced nutrition has the direct consequence of an intellectual slowdown, with a “blow of the pump” which is manifested by fatigue, a lack of attention, and difficulties in memorizing.
Energy Foods Contain Glucose
It is found in the wholemeal bread that is to be consumed at all meals. Still, in the category of nutrients involved in the manufacture of energy, it is also necessary to look for iron where it is found in significant quantities: in black pudding, red meat, seafood and some fish with red flesh such as tuna. These foods rich in iron are to be included in the menus, at least three times a week.
Food to Ensure Its Structure
Omega 3 fatty acids are needed at least three times a week. They are found in fish, seafood and animal meat-fed exclusively with flaxseed. Omega 6s are found in all meats, eggs and sunflower oil. Still to ensure its structure but also to allow a good exchange of information between neurons, the brain needs quality protein (present in dairy products, seafood, fish and all meats). These proteins are to consume at all meals.
The Brain Is a Very Active Organ That Derives Its Energy from Glucose
Glucose comes directly from foods and drinks containing carbohydrates or is made by the body from other sources that do not. It seems useful to keep blood sugar at an optimal level to maintain satisfactory cognitive function, especially in the case of demanding intellectual tasks. Taking meals at regular intervals helps to contribute.