How Much Glycogen Is in Our Body

Our liver can store up to 6 to 8 percent of its weight as glycogen for about 75 to 100 grams total. Meanwhile, only about 1 percent of the weight of skeletal muscle cells is attributable to glycogen. However, since the total amount of skeletal muscle in our body far exceeds our liver, muscle will contribute much more to our total glycogen stores. Skeletal muscle can contain about 250 to 400 grams, which is about four-fifths of our total glycogen stores. Since carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram the potential energy from glycogen is typically 1,400 to 2,000 calories, not very much. As you may expect, people with more muscle resulting from exercise training will have more body glycogen owing to increased muscle mass. In addition, their muscle will adapt to double and even triple the amount of glycogen it can store.

Interestingly, even though carbohydrates contribute approximately one-half of the energy in our diet, our body composition is not reflective. That's because only 1 percent or less of our body weight is composed of carbohydrate. This means that carbohydrate is stored with limitations, most of which is in our liver and skeletal muscle as glycogen. Other tissues, such as fat cells and the heart, contain a little glycogen as well; however, the contribution to our total body glycogen stores is very small. Since glycogen stores are relatively small there must be another means of storing the excessive energy from diet derived carbohydrate.

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