How Does the Nervous System Use Glucose?

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Iowa State University points out that the nervous system uses glucose for fuel. Glucose is especially important for the proper functioning of the central nervous system and the brain.

The nervous system, particularly the brain, requires glucose for energy, Iowa State University says. Too little glucose results in weakness and dizziness. Glucose is also necessary for other parts of the nervous system, like the sympathetic nervous system, which manages human reaction to stimuli. For example, glucose is needed in the bloodstream, as energy, when the body faces a flight or fight situation.

The Food and Agriculture Organization even goes so far as to suggest that glucose affects memory, part of the brain in the central nervous system. A recent study shows that glucose increases memory retention. Several elderly people were injected with glucose or a placebo and taught a task. Those with the glucose remembered how to perform the task 24 hours later.

Iowa State University advises people to get at least 130 grams of carbohydrates, which is the main ingredient for glucose, a day. This minimum number is only enough for the central nervous system, glucose-dependent tissues and red blood cell production. Exercise requires even more glucose and glycogen for the body to function.