What Is Glycogen?

Our body undergoes a variety of different types of metabolisms when we eat food. Various nutrients are used for several different processes. Some things are burned immediately, like sugar. However, others take more time, like slow-digesting carbohydrates. When we consume too much of a given nutrients, they are often converted into a form able to be stored. Carbohydrates are often over eaten and get stored as Glycogen.

What Is Glycogen Made Of?

What is Glycogen, anyway? Scientifically speaking, it is a multi-branched polysaccharide of glucose. Fist, we should explain more about glucose. When we consume more carbohydrates than we need, it is transformed into the sugar known as glucose. This is one type of usable energy the body needs. So, for those of you still asking “what is glycogen?” let us explain. If you have an abundance of unused glucose in your body, it needs to be changed once again for storage. So, what is glycogen: stored energy. The body can store this energy source in the liver and muscles for more immediate use.

What Is Glycogen Used For?

Our body requires glycogen for energy production. It is a crucial to all effort levels, from low to high intensity. Even at rest, your body relies on glycogen stored in the muscles for up 20 percent of its energy. Moderate intensities can reach 60 percent and high intensity exercise can be as much as 85 perfect.

What is glycogen doing for athletes? It is indispensable for training. Our body relies on it so much, but we have a limited capacity for storing it. So, what is glycogen storage capacity? Surprisingly, it is only up to 2% of the bodies total energy stores.

What Is Glycogen Stored In?

As mentioned, the storage capacity for Glycogen is very low: 1-2%. So, it is important for athletes to maximize these energy stores before working out and replenish them after. Also, exercise burns through Glycogen so fast, it is necessary to not train on an empty stomach. That is why consuming slow digesting carbohydrates is so important. It can help you extend your endurance levels. There are 3 areas where it is stored:

  • 80% is stored in the muscle tissue
  • 14% is stored inside of the liver
  • 6% is stored in the blood as glucose

What is Glycogen Weight Contribution?

As any substance in the body, glycogen has a weight. The total weight contribution in muscles, organs and blood can vary depending on the concentration levels. What is glycogen weight contribution for muscles? Surprisingly, glycogen concentration is low in muscles (1-2 percent). What is glycogen weight contribution for organs? Glycogen can measure 100-120 grams in an adult. That makes up 5-6% of organ’s fresh weight. So, what is glycogen percentage in the blood? It is a very small contribution and the measurements are so small as it only accounts for 6 percent of the body’s energy usage.

What Is Glycogen Depletion?

Glycogen depletion is often experienced by long-distance athletes. Cyclists and marathon runners typical experience this occurrence. Athletes “hit the wall” when they have depleted almost all glycogen stores after long hours of exertion and insufficient consumption of carbohydrate consumption.

Jeb McKinnon
Jeb McKinnon

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