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How does the release of glucagon affect blood glucose levels?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on March 28, 2023.

Official answer

  • Glucagon increases low blood sugar levels back to normal.
  • Glucagon is released in response to LOW blood glucose (sugar) levels.
  • It normalizes blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of stored glucose from the liver, by stimulating out the liver to make more glucose, and by reducing how much glucose the liver needs to function.
  • Low blood glucose levels are also known as hypoglycemia.

The role of glucagon in the body is to prevent blood glucose levels from dropping too low. It does this by:

  • Stimulating the conversion of stored glycogen in the liver into glucose. This is then released into the bloodstream.
  • It stimulates the liver to produce more glucose from amino acid molecules.
  • It reduces how much glucose the liver needs to function so that as much glucose as possible can be released into the bloodstream.

Glucagon also acts on adipose (fat) tissue to increase the breakdown of fat stores into the bloodstream.

Glucagon is produced by the alpha cells, found in the islet cells of the pancreas.


Glucagon. You and Your hormones.

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