Gluconeogenesis VS Glycogenolysis
Gluconeogenesis VS Glycogenolysis. What do these terms mean? Are they synonymous? Are there distinct differences in these terms? How do they affect the human body? Which one is better at providing the body with energy dense ATP? No worries, because all of these questions and more will get answered directly in this article.
Gluconeogenesis VS Glycogenolysis is often a common comparison, and for good reason. Let’s face it, many of these exercise physiology terms sound very similar to one another. If this weren’t bad enough, the differences of some of the metabolic pathways are even more minuscule.
Take for instance the two metabolic pathways Glycolysis and Glycogenolysis. Both terms only have very slight variances in spelling, as well as in meaning. One is the complete breakdown of a blood glucose molecule (Glycolysis), while the other is the complete breakdown of a muscle glycogen molecule (Glycogenolysis).
There are many different metabolic pathways that occur in the body. For instance, you have the Creatine-Phosphate System, the Citric Acid Cycle (Krebs cycle), Electron Transport Chain (ETC), Glucose Alanine Cycle, Cori Cycle, and so on and so on. However, for the sake of this article, the discussion will be on the main differences and the subtle differences in these two metabolic pathways: Gluconeogenesis VS Glycogenolysis.
What is Gluconeogenesis?
Gluconeogenesis is a metabolic pathway that results in the manifestation of a glucose molecule from a non-carbohydrate carbon substrate such as amino acids, lactate, or glycerol for example. Gluconeogenesis can be seen in action in several different metabolic pathways. That statement may be confusing at first. You may be thinking, “How can a metabolic pathway be working within another metabolic pathway?” Well, a good way to think of this is that all of the metabolic pathways in the body work together harmoniously. This is absolutely necessary for energy to be created quickly and efficiently.
Most notably, the metabolic pathway Gluconeogenesis can be seen in the Glucose Alanine Cycle. In the glucose alanine cycle, glucose (energy) is made from amino acids (proteins). This typically occurs during times of “survival mode” or when there is merely not enough blood glucose or muscle glycogen to use as energy. Remember also that fats can only burn in the flame of a carbohydrate. So, without carbs you cannot burn fat. These would all be reasons as to why you would greatly need to utilize gluconeogenesis in order to manifest a glucose molecule from a non-glucose molecule.
What is Glycogenolysis?
Glycogenolysis is a metabolic pathway where the complete breakdown of a glycogen molecule occurs. There is not much difference between glycogenolysis and glycolysis. There are only a couple steps that actually differentiate one metabolic pathway from the other. Nevertheless, both of these pathways will yield either two pyruvate molecules or two lactate molecules, depending on whether the Electron Transport Chain will get “overfilled” with NADH’s or not.
If that was confusing, then don’t worry about all of that. All you need to know here is that glycogenolysis is the complete breakdown of a glycogen molecule. Glycogen is merely stored glucose that the body deposits in its muscle tissue and liver. Having glycogen stores is crucially important for those engaging in athletics, as well as for those who don’t consume large quantities of food throughout the day.
If you were unable to store glucose in your muscles, and only had to rely on your free flowing blood glucose, then you’d be in big trouble. Lethargy would quickly take over and you would most likely be forced to use your gluconeogenesis pathway in a desperate attempt to garner ATP from your body’s muscle tissue. Glycogenolysis is essential as it creates ATP, a necessary molecule to allow us to perform work and engage in activities in daily life.
Gluconeogenesis VS Glycogenolysis: Which is better?
As far as which metabolic pathway is better, when looking at the Gluconeogenesis VS Glycogenolysis comparison, there is not a superior pathway out of these two. Of course, subjective arguments could be made as to which is more important when you need energy most or which one is most efficient at generating ATP when looking at specific situations. Be that as it may, both of these metabolic pathways are very effective at generating ATP. Whether that energy comes from a non-glucose molecule like an amino acid or from the complete breakdown of a glycogen molecule, each pathway is very effective at doing their jobs, so to speak.
Another point to remember is that all of the different metabolic pathways discussed in this article work together to try to achieve the common goal of generating ATP so that you can perform activities effectively in your day to day life. These two metabolic pathways are very different when looking at how they each generate ATP. However, there is no legitimate dichotomy between Gluconeogenesis VS Glycogenolysis when looking at which is better.