Glucagon is a hormone produced by the alpha cells of the pancreas. It plays a crucial role in regulating blood glucose levels in the body. While insulin lowers blood sugar levels, glucagon raises them.

When blood glucose levels are low, such as between meals or during periods of intense physical activity, the pancreas releases glucagon into the bloodstream. Glucagon then signals the liver to convert stored glycogen into glucose and release it into the bloodstream. This process is known as glycogenolysis.

Additionally, glucagon promotes gluconeogenesis, a process in which the liver synthesizes glucose from non-carbohydrate sources, such as amino acids. Together, these actions help ensure a steady supply of glucose for the body’s energy needs when glucose from food is not readily available.

The balance between insulin and glucagon is critical for maintaining blood glucose homeostasis. Dysfunction in this balance can lead to problems such as hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar levels) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels), both of which can have adverse health effects.

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