Thursday, October 31, 2013


Glucose C6H12O6, also known as D-glucose or dextrose is a simple monosaccharide found in plants and necessary for our survival. It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Cells use it as a secondary source of energy and a metabolic intermediate. Glucose is one of the main products of photosynthesis and it is a main fuel for cellular respiration. Glucose exists in several different molecular structures, but all of these structures can be divided into two families of mirror-images (stereoisomers). Only one set of these isomers exists in nature, those derived from the "particular chiral form" of glucose, denoted D-glucose.

Glucose is very important in our own diets and it is especially important for diabetic individuals to be aware of their intake of it.  For instance if someone is having a diabetic emergency and it hypoglycemic, the best thing to do is to have them ingest glucose tablets or gels.  Having something like a sugary drink or candy will not work as fast because it is an alternate form of sugar and must first be broken down into glucose before it can be properly used in the blood stream.  Too much glucose is also a issue especially when your bodies insulin response is abnormal.  
The chemical D-glucose is sometimes referred to as dextrose, a historical name that derives from dextrorotatory glucose because a solution of D-glucose in water rotates the plane of polarized light to the right (dextro).[3] However, the D- in D-glucose refers to a chiral chemical similarity property in sugars, not the property of rotating light (for example, D-fructose rotates light to the left). For this reason, the D- and L- designations in sugars do not perfectly predict optical rotation, and do not refer to this property.

Glucose or D - Glucose has a total of four chiral centers with the following stereochemistry:


  1. Glucose was a really simple molecule to choose for this assignment. I felt like I was trying really hard to find some natural that was big enough to have two chiral centers and didn't even think about glucose. This is an important molecule for plants and animals to store and consume energy. Chirality obviously plays an important role in many molecules' functions even basic ones, like simple sugars, and very complex ones, like hormones.

  2. It is interesting that you posted Glucose because I am studying Glucose as it relates to diabetes in my EMT class. Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body’s ability to metabolize simple carbohydrates (glucose) are impaired. Low blood glucose is when medications stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin this lowers blood glucose levels. High blood glucose is when the body lacks insulin, glucose remains in the blood. That condition is called hyperglycemia.

    The central problem in diabetes is the lack or ineffective action of insulin, a hormone that is normally produced by the endocrine glands on the pancreas that enables glucose to enter the cells. Without insulin, cells begin to “starve” because insulin is needed, like a key, to allow glucose to enter the cells.

    Glucose is important because it is one of the basic sugars used in the body and, in conjunction with oxygen, is the primary fuel for cellular metabolism.

    Hyperglycemia is the state in which the blood glucose is above normal. Hypoglycemia is a state in which the blood glucose level is below normal. Hyperglycemic crisis is a state of unconsciousness resulting from several problems, including ketoacidosis, hyperglycemia, and dehydration resulting from excess urination.

    Patients with hyperglycemia may be found with the following physical signs:
    • Kussmaul respirations
    • Dehydration, dry, warm skin and sunken eyes
    • Sweet or fruity odor on the breath
    • Rapid, weak pulse
    • Normal or slightly low blood pressure
    • Varying degrees of unresponsiveness
    • Weakness, nausea and vomiting
    • Polyuria, polydipsia, polyphagia

    Patients with hypoglycemic crisis develop much more quickly than hyperglycemic patients. Hypoglycemia can be associated with the following:
    • Normal to shallow or rapid respirations
    • Pale, moist skin
    • Diaphoresis
    • Dizziness, headache
    • Rapid pulse
    • Normal to low blood pressure
    • Altered mental status
    • Anxious or combative behavior
    • Hunger
    • Seizure, fainting or coma
    • Weakness on one side of the body
    • Rapid changes in mental status
    • Hyperglycemia in pediatric patients can cause cerebral edema, which is the number one cause of diabetic related deaths in pediatrics.