The human body is a very interesting physiological concern. With all of the different processes going on within the human body, it is almost a wonder that we as human beings are able to function as normally as we do. Literally hundreds of thousands if not millions of reactions are occurring all the time in our bodies and in some cases if even one of them goes wrong it can cause a cataclysmic upheaval that would have us bed ridden for weeks at best and could possibly lead to death.
Somehow, throughout it all, human beings are not only able to survive but to flourish as well, going through their lives in most cases with ease as their physiological and chemical reactions continue onwards with relative ease. One of these reactions is gluconeogenesis or in words that are easier to understand the synthesis of glucose molecules within the human body. Before we can explain the exact meaning and significance of the gluconeogenic pathways and what they mean to the human body as a whole, we need to explain a couple of other things first; namely the basics of energy in humans and the process of glycolysis.
Energy in Humans
In human beings, our energy (which can affect how we feel and the way we act) is determined to a large extent by what is going on inside of our cells. The blood flowing through our veins, our ability to avoid getting sick or participate in activities in spite of it, and many other things that we do in our day to day lives are governed and facilitated by the cells inside of us, regardless of the kinds of cells they are. The cells inside all of us have small organelles called mitochondria and these organelles are responsible for energizing the cells and therefore the human body.
Mitochondria are able to accomplish this through the use of the molecule adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), a super-charged high-energy molecule that is perfect for the purposes of each individual mitochondrion. This in essence means that our energy depends on the production of these molecules and their use by our cells. The easiest way to create new ATP molecules is through the process of glycolysis.
During glycolysis, the body takes one glucose molecules (glucose is sugar) and splits it into two pyruvate molecules through a series of reactions of which one of the by products is ATP. To be more precise, two ATP molecules are created for every one molecule of glucose that is put through glycolysis. The pyruvate molecules then go through additional reactions to produce more ATP molecules. The production of ATP molecules are very important to the body as a whole and it is for this reason that there are many reactions within the human body that create ATP; glycolysis being one of them.
Back to Gluconeogenesis
In certain cases, the body actually ends up needing more glucose than is present. Whether or not it needs to store glucose or it needs it for any other purpose, there needs to exist a mechanism (i.e. a series of reactions) through which the body can manufacture glucose. This is doubly important when you take into consideration the fact that glucose might not always be readily available for intake in the outside environment.
The process of gluconeogenesis is one of the most important processes within the human body because it is the reverse of glycolysis; it is the process used by the human body to take two pyruvate molecules and convert them back into a glucose molecule. Naturally all of the by-products that were created by the forward reaction are going to need to be consumed and this is where the ATP molecules come into play once again. Two ATP molecules are consumed in the gluconeogenic process.