Glycogen is a polysaccharide made up of thousands of glucose units. The main storage organ for concentrated glycogen is the liver.
In this way, glucose is essential for the functioning of the organism and we obtain it basically through our food. However, to compensate for the drop in its quantity in the intervals between meals or in periods of deprivation, as in diets, for example, our body stores this substance in the form of glycogen.
Glycogen is a polysaccharide formed by thousands of glucose units and, like all polysaccharides, does not have a sweet taste. Thus, glycogen is a macromolecule that is chemically considered as a polymer formed by the association of glucose monomers.
The main organ of concentrated storage of glycogen is the liver, in which this substance represents approximately 10% of its weight. Another place where we can find it is in the striated skeletal muscles, representing an important element of energy support. The amount of glycogen present in the muscles is very small (0.7% of its weight), however, due to the large amount of muscles, the amount of glycogen stored is higher than the amount stored in the liver.
During our meals, the carbohydrates present in food are digested and, at the end of their reduction process, are absorbed by the intestine and transported by the blood to all tissues. Thus, the amount of glucose circulating in the blood rises. This amount becomes greater than the organic need and, therefore, this “surplus” is being stored in the form of glycogen.
In extreme moments, in which our body needs immediate responses, the glycogen present in the skeletal striated muscles is quickly converted into glucose and this is oxidized for energy production. The substance that allows the immediate release of this muscle reserve is epinephrine (adrenaline).
The synthesis or degradation of glycogen occurs through specific enzymes, different for each process and also differ in relation to the place of action. In this way, enzymes related to synthesis that act in the liver will not participate in the same process performed in the muscles. Thus, the lack of a particular enzyme compromises the action of the process (synthesis or degradation) carried out in that specific organ, but does not interfere with the process in another organ.