Regulating Blood Sugar as a Negative Feedback

Regulating Blood Sugar as a Negative Feedback

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Regulating Blood Sugar as a Negative Feedback

Negative feedback is a kind of regulation whereby the final product of a given process diminishes the process’s stimulus. In general, feedback is a viable regulatory mechanism that is common for numerous biological reactions. Through allowing specific pathways to be turned on and off, the body is able to control various facer of its internal environment. Feedback makes it possible for the pathway product to control the switch. Negative feedback is also known as a negative feedback loop and takes place when a pathway product turns off the biochemical pathway. This text discusses regulating blood sugar as an example of negative feedback.

There is a negative feedback mechanism that controls sugar levels in the blood every time we eat. Glucose is the main sugar that is found in the blood. After eating, the body absorbs glucose in the bloodstream before depositing it into the blood. As a result, there is increased glucose concentration which stimulates the pancreas to produce a chemical known as insulin. Insulin is a cellular molecule that signals liver and muscle cells to take up glucose. Excess glucose is stored in liver cells in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is a chain of glucose that is employed as a storage product. Muscle cells either store glucose and employ it in making ATP and contract. In this process, glucose concentrations get depleted in the blood. Glucose signals the production of insulin in the liver. Without glucose, the pancreas does not produce insulin, and hence cells do not take up glucose (Yu, Wang, Zhang, Chen, Mao, Ye, & Gu, 2020). As a result, the levels of glucose get maintained in a given range, and the entire body will access glucose consistently. In this system, negative feedback is viewed particularly in the way high levels of glucose produce a product that is meant to reduce glucose levels. When glucose levels go too low, the pathway gets shuts off.

Exercise draws upon the sugar reserves stored in the liver and muscles. As the body reconstructs the stores, it removes sugar from the blood. The more strenuous a workout is, the longer blood sugar levels get affected. It is possible to have low blood sugar for up to eight hours post-exercise. This explains why having a snack such as a trail mix or granola bar can help raise blood sugar. According to Harvard’s Joslin Diabetes Center, the body is dependent on two sources of fuel, namely fat and glucose, during physical activity (Gjerstad, Lightman, & Spiga, 2018). Prolonged exercise depletes glycogen stores and blood glucose. In the first fifteen minutes of a work out, the body mainly relies on muscle glycogen and blood glucose. As exercise carries on, the body begins to re-convert glycogen into glucose. The body then started depending on more body fat after thirty minutes. Eventually, the body reconstructs its glycogen within six hours but exercise reduces blood sugar for up to a day. Worth noting, exercise makes the body more receptive to insulin effects meaning more glucose moves from the blood and into the cells. Moreover, exercise pushes cells to take more glucose to sustain increased energy demands.

In closing, blood sugar regulation is an example of negative feedback. Blood sugar regulation has a unique effect on the body’s internal environment during exercise. Exercise tends to rely on sugar reserves in the liver and muscles and the more strenuous activity is, the longer the blood sugar is affected. While exercise boosts health in numerous ways, people with diabetes are advised to keep track of their sugar level after, during and before an exercise.


Gjerstad, J. K., Lightman, S. L., & Spiga, F. (2018). Role of glucocorticoid negative feedback in the regulation of HPA axis pulsatility. Stress, 21(5), 403-416.

Yu, J., Wang, J., Zhang, Y., Chen, G., Mao, W., Ye, Y., & Gu, Z. (2020). Glucose-responsive insulin patch for the regulation of blood glucose in mice and minipigs. Nature biomedical engineering, 4(5), 499-506.