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Hexose sugar. Under normal conditions, it is the main energy source for tissues. Normally stored as glycogen in the liver and tightly regulated by the opposing actions of insulin and glucagon.


In nature only D-Glucose (hence dextrose) can be used in human metabolism. It can be very difficult to understand the biochemistry of hexose sugars because it is often simplified for representation purposes, but if it was simple Hermann Fisher would never have got his 1902 nobel prize for explaining the stereochemistry. In biological systems (and as the solids in the kitchen) glucose is mainly a ring structure. It is actually mainly β-D-glucose(about 64%) in water solution at pH 7.0 but by mutarotation converts to α-D-glucose, which is the other one of its two anomers. D-glucose is one of 16 stereoisomers of the aldhexose sugars, others are L-glucose and rather more importantly D-galactose and D-mannose.


Actually has some potential biological activity, for example on memory function. Could be used as a laxative and has been tried as a bowel cleaning agent[1]


  1. Rayner GS, Hartman DE, Rowe WA et al. An open-label trial of l-glucose as a colon-cleansing agent before colonoscopy. Gastrointestinal endoscopy 2003;58;30-35 DOI:10.1067/mge.2003.293

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