Glucagon Blood Test and Normal Glucagon Levels

Where Does Glucagon Come From?

Glucagon released from three organs in the body, the hypothalamus (in the brain); small concentration from intestines; and mainly from alpha cells in the pancreas.

Glucagon blood test diagram
A Diagram shows how does glucagon works

How Does Glucagon Work?

The main job of Glucagon is working to counterbalance the actions of insulin, as you may know, insulin works to lower the hyperglycemia (high sugar in the blood), therefore, Glucagon works to increase the blood glucose levels as needed by the body organs.

But, why Glucagon increases the blood glucose, isn’t unusual for the blood glucose level to be high?

Actually, Glucagon is a part of the balanced rhythm by the human body, in this process, some elements work to increase the vital levels until it becomes high normal, then other elements work to keep these normal levels inside the safe limits, the reality of these balance formulas isn’t dangerous to the body, but they made to keep the Normal body status.

Glucagon starts to compensate for low glucose 4 hours after you eat a meal, and can still be working for 4 days when starvation occurs, but no more than 8 days.

Glucagon works by turns on three biological processes:

  1. Stimulating the breakdown of stored glucose as glycogen inside the liver cells, the process is known as Glycogenolysis, it means breaking the glycogen bulk and converts it into usable glucose units for energy demand.
  2. Stimulating Adipose tissues to break down fats to produce ketones for energy demands, the process called (Lipolysis or ketogenesis), which means lipid metabolism into ketones. ketone levels must be maintained to the safe level or can be a signal of danger as well. see ketone levels chart
  3. Generation of new additional glucose units from “non-carbohydrate carbon substrates” such as lactate, glycerol, propionate and glucogenic amino acids, this process called “gluconeogenesis”, also when glycogen used up, the body starts to break down proteins of the muscles into amino acids and converts them to new glucose to compensate low energy. gluconeogenesis occurs in the liver and kidney and stimulated by the diabetogenic hormones (glucagon, growth hormone, epinephrine, and cortisol)

While Inhibits and stops these process:

  1. Before anything, Stops the glucose storing process through liver glycogen synthesis, thus keeping the glucose unstored to be used by the body.
  2. Inhibition of glycolysis, which means decreasing or stop the continuous breaking down of already made glucose

For these reasons the blood glucose must be maintained and need to be elevated to the Normal state by glucagon:

  1. Starvation; As glucose concentration be (50 mg %) as the insulin drops and glucagon increases too enhance the glucose levels in the blood. However, when glucose levels elevated up to (300 mg %), this will stimulate insulin to work while gradually stop glucagon secretions, which makes the blood glucose to back to normal levels (70 – 110 mg/dL)
  2. Fasting state; early after a meal the blood glucose become higher and insulin increases to make a use of that glucose, 2 hours after the meal glucose levels reaches the optimum level then consumed by the body organs for energy purposes, then glucose levels become lower with the time and insulin starts to decrease and glucagon stimulated again to compensate the demand of glucose in the blood. 4 days is the time of glucagon stimulation after fasting and starvation but shut down up to 8 days.
  3. Glucose lowering medicines; taking an overdose of insulin shots will accidentally decrease your blood glucose levels to unwanted low levels, then glucagon starts to compensate.

side effects as a medicine

Results mean

Does glucagon affect muscle?

Scientifically, the epinephrine is mediated in the gluconeogenesis process which affects the cardiac and smooth muscle tissues through what’s medically known as “beta-adrenergic response”, but don’t affect directly the muscles as there are no glucagon receptors on muscles.

Normal Levels for Children, Newborn, and Adults

What should the normal glucagon level be?

AgeNormal Range in pg/mL
<= 6 hours100 – 650
1 – 2 days 70 – 450
2 – 4 days 100 – 650
4 – 14 daysGradually goes down to adult levels
>14 days< or = 80

Any glucagon reading below normal ranges deserves the treatment with glucagon shots to keep the blood glucose and glucagon levels at its optimum.

Treatment with glucagon and side effects

Treatment by glucagon intramuscular takes 10 minutes to work to inhibits liver protein synthesis, but still, stands there for up to 6 hours to be stimulated by low blood glucose, once stimulated it stores the glucose pathophysiological range for diabetic patients.

Quick info. about random blood glucose test

Random Blood Sugar Test Chart

Random Blood Glucose Test Table contains the most important preliminary information about the test,

For more details about the blood glucose test please use the search box at the corner of the page.

NameRandom Blood Glucose
AbbreviationsRBG, RBS, R.Bl.Glucose
Other NamesRandom Blood Sugar, Random Blood Glucose
Fasting Not Required
Normal Range75 – 150 mg/dl, below 180 mg/dl,
SI; less than 10 mmol/L 
When to takeAnytime except when be fasting
Associated Diseases Diabetes
Waiting timewithin 15 minutes
Home Test KitsAvailable, Glucose home test kits
Related TestsFasting Blood Glucose,
2hrs After Meal Blood Glucose
ResourcesAmerican Diabetes Association (ADA)

What Blood Sugar Test Kit is The Best?

KETO-MOJO Blood Ketone and Glucose Testing Meter Kit,

Monitor Your ketogenic Diet, 1 Lancet Device, 10 Lancets, 10 Ketone Test Strips, Carrying Case. Does NOT Include Glucose Strips

  1. Meter reads ketone & glucose blood testing strips
  2. One touch strip ejector
  3. Easy-to-Read screen
  4. Back light with auto-off mode
  5. Store up to 1,000 tests
  6. One touch button
  7. Portable / Travel size
  8. Ketone readings in mmol/L
  9. Glucose readings in mg/dL
  10. Reads Hematocrit & Hemoglobin measurements
  11. Has an adjustable date & time function
  • ACCURATE RESULTS: Blood testing is the most accurate way to test for ketone and glucose levels. The Keto-Mojo Testing Kit exceeds strict FDA and International standards ensuring you get the best measurement results possible.
  • EASY TO USE: The KETO-MOJO Meter Kit is very easy to use with its easy to follow instruction videos found online as well as comprehensive Help section as well. If that isn’t enough, you can reach out to their amazing customer support team for help.
  • Tested and Recommended by leading Keto Experts such as Dominic D’Agostino; Dr. Nasha Winters, ND, FABNO, L.Ac, Dipl.OM; Professor Thomas Syfried; Mariam Kalamian, EdM, MS, CNS; The Diet Doctor, Andreas Eenfeldt, MD; and others.
  • COMPLETE HOME KIT PACKAGE: The KETO-MOJO Monitoring System includes everything you need to do a blood test in the comfort of your own home. INCLUDES: , (1) Keto-Mojo Testing Meter, (1) Lancing Device + (10) Lancets, (10) Blood Ketone Testing Strips, (1) Coding Key Chip, (1) Carrying Case, (2) AAA Batteries,, (3) Manuals. Does NOT include Glucose Strips.
  • GET FAST RESULTS IN SECONDS: The KETO-MOJO Testing Strips are innovatively designed to give you results in SECONDS. Glucose -Blood Sugar Test Strip- results in only 5 seconds and Ketone results in 10. Less delay and waiting time, it’s ideal for busy and active individuals who want results fast.
  • > test for urine sugar levels

Care Touch Blood Glucose Test Strips

(100 Count) for Use with Care Touch Monitor (2 box of 50 each)

Testing your blood sugar is essential to your present and future health. Care Touch wants to make it easy to keep track of your glucose levels with our high-tech monitor. Using our technology, you can stay up-to-date with your diabetes treatment and management.

See how your diet and exercise regimen is affecting your diabetes while simultaneously monitoring your medication. Always be aware of how your body is functioning on a day-to-day basis with a few simple steps.

For people with diabetes, it’s incredibly important to keep track of glucose levels throughout the day to avoid medical emergencies.

  • ACCURATE AND RELIABLE – Our strips, paired with the Care Touch Blood Glucose Monitor, provide state-of-the-art blood-level readings with complete ease and convenience to you.
  • FAST RESULTS – Get your test results in 5 Seconds.
  • SMALL SAMPLE – Only a small blood sample Is needed for testing (0.5µL)
  • LONGER EXPIRATION DATE – Our strips have an expiration date of over a year.
  • Care Touch Blood Glucose Test Strips (100 Count) for Use with Care Touch Monitor (2 box of 50 each)

Zoetis AlphaTRAK 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System Kit

The AlphaTRAK Starter Kit is accurate, easy to use, requires a tiny blood sample, provides results in seconds, and is made specifically for dogs and cats.

Zoetis AlphaTRAK 2 Blood Glucose Monitoring System Kit

You can monitor your pet’s blood glucose from the comfort of your home and use the same accurate device that your veterinarian uses at the clinic.

OneTouch Ultra Mini Blood Glucose Monitoring System, Silver Moon

  • The OneTouch® UltraMini® Blood Glucose Meter is a simple way to check your blood sugar
  • Colorful, small, and fast – the OneTouch® UltraMini® provides accurate results in just 5 seconds
  • Provides a large, easy-to-read screen and simple, 3-step testing
  • Just the right size to easily fit in your pocket or purse
  • For use with OneTouch® Ultra® Test Strips only, which automatically checks each blood sample twice to confirm results

DSS Precision Xtra Blood Glucose Meter Kit,

Results in 5 seconds, Strips Not Included (1 Kit)

From real reviews: 
My GF & I did a week long water fast. It was neat watching our Glucose numbers fall daily as our Ketones went up. She is a nurse and would also test her Glucose at work – very similar numbers to the Precision Xtra. Now we are on a keto diet and check our numbers a couple of times per week. The meter is smaller than I thought, but easy to read. If you don’t want to use any of its special features, it is easy to use. Just prep your lancing device, CAREFULLY tear open a test strip (try not to bend it), when you insert the strip into the meter it will turn on automatically, lance your finger, give your finger a little squeeze to allow the end of the test strip to suck up enough blood to fill the tiny reservoir. When the meter beeps, it has enough blood and starts the test. After a few seconds, your number (Glucose, or Ketone in urine) is displayed. Pull the used test strip out, and the meter turns itself off again. This box came with lots of instructions, a small zippered case, and a lancing device. I don’t think it came with any test strips or lancets (needles), but I like to get the 33 gauge tiny ones anyway, and it is good to get the fresh test strips. So far, I haven’t had any errors. Tip: take care of your test strips and be sure not to bend them too much – it can mess them up.

What Does Ketone Levels in Urine and Blood mean?

What is ketones?

Ketones are end products of burning fatty-acids (fats) in the body, the medical term is (fatty acid metabolism).
Ketone bodies in urine are Acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyric acid.
Ketones in the body urine and blood come from liver and completely processed and only negligible amount appear in urine, but when carbohydrates in unavailable or he body unable to use Carbs. then the fatty acids become the predominant source of body fuel.
As the body increases its usage of fatty acids, the burning product increased, I mean ketones of course, and liver will leave excess amounts to go out by urination, that’s why you have plus ketone in urine.

What does ketonuria mean?

The disease in which ketones are present in urine is called “ketonuria”
Ketonuria is a medical condition in which ketone bodies are present in our urine
How do you know you have ketone in urine?
Simply by smelling fruit-like odor from the breath and on the urine sample especially children with type 1 diabetes, this is due to acetone, a direct by-product of the spontaneous decomposition of acetoacetic acid.
ACETONE is often described as smelling like fruit or like some nail polish remover that contains acetone.
Sometimes the odor is more subtle due to lower concentrations of acetone.

Ketone Levels

Presence of ketones may be considered a healthy sign and may be a harm indicator, just learn how to know the relationship between ketone levels and your health.
Optimal ketone levels offer many health benefits, also used as health indicators for who doing weight loss, physical and mental performance.

Normal Ketone levels

Normal healthy person will not show ketone bodies in his/her urine test.
The normal human body uses carbohydrates to make energy units that fuel brain, muscles, and other cells, in some unusual cases the body uses fats instead carbohydrates to produce energy, burning fats will produce more acetone and ketonic bodies.
Low ketone level in urine is insignificant and can’t considered as a disease or anything.
Diabetes patient with type 2 may not show ketone in urine unless urinary sugar become highly elevated
Please read: urine sugar levels chart

Urine Ketone Levels Chart

Ketone bodies finding in urine is a direct measure of ketone level.

  1. Trace ketone in urine is less than +1 and lower than 20 mg/dl, considered negative ketonuria.
  2. A mild Ketone (Plus one +1)  is a value 20 – 29 mg/dl.
  3. A moderate high ketone (plus two ++2) is a value of 30–40 mg/dl.
  4. A marked high ketone Plus three +++3) is a finding of 80 mg/dl or greater.

urine ketone levels chat

urine ketone levels chat

High ketone levels in urine

Urine test usually seen positive for ketone in patients with sever diabetes mellitus, so that urine results show high glucose and high ketone, but there are some unusual cases whereas urine has only ketone high levels without glucose in urine, such cases include:
Keto Diet or Ketogenic diet
Applying “high fats low carbs diet” will lead to high ketone levels in urine, urine ketone test used as a monitor test for keto diet.
Read more at: what is ketogenic diet?
Fasting for long period:
Presence of ketones in a healthy fasting person is a good indicator, as his body uses its alternative sources of fuel.
Very long period of fasting can aggressively consume and deplete all sources of energy and ketonic bodies in the urine will be a very important indicator when a starved person starts to heal.
Losing weight:
What happens when you start a weight loss program?
Weight loss means carbohydrate burning more than usual, so the body compensates for a lack of energy source by burning fat instead of carbohydrates, the accumulated fats will be reduced and carbohydrates stopped accumulation, thus the body loses weight, but burning fats will produce acetone in blood and urine.
Measuring ketone in urine will help you make decision about your Weight Loss Diet, read about Keto Diet Plan
Presurgical patients and Acutely ill patients
These people receive many IV solution bottles (glucose), thus ready-glucose enters the blood without using much insulin, body response is made by burning fats and may be proteins, thus ketones come to the scene.
Also a patient stay for longtime in hospital can develop ketone bodies in his urine as a result of increased fatigue and reduced nutrient led by the course of the disease.
Pregnant women
Pregnant females have an additional fuel machine, the fetus of course, so that you may find acetone-like in urine of some pregnant females not all of them of course.

Diabetes without ketone in urine

There is a case where there’s glucose in urine but no Ketone in urine is present, called hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS).
Also know as Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State (HHS): when glucose in blood being high it usually seen in urine, and ketone as well as a result of alternative usage of carbs, therefore the urine of a diabetes patient has a relative amount of both glucose and ketone.
However, after glucose in blood exceeds 1000 it might be a doubt when lab technician can’t find positive ketone in urine.
So that, HHNS is a medical syndrome following extremely high glucose levels and doesn’t show a ketone value in the urine.
You can explore: Blood Glucose Levels Chart
Acetone and ketone bodies in urine come from excessive burning fats due to diabetes, ketogenic diet, or other stress situation made to the body organs, common characteristics are fruity-breath and fruit-like-odor urine. Also urine test is enough to detect the ketone level in your urine.