Question #69971

1 Answer
Apr 29, 2017

Dextrose is one of the stereoisomers of glucose.
The two terms are used interchangeably.


Glucose is a carbohydrate. It contains carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and its formula is #C_6H_12O_6#.

There are two stereoisomers in glucose. A stereoisomer has molecules with the same formula that exist in different spacial arrangements. Its a molecule with a twist.

In glucose the stereoisomers are L-glucose and D-glucose. We cannot break down L-glucose in our cells, so it is removed from our bodies as waste. D-glucose can be used by our cells, and it is the D-glucose to which Dextrose refers.

dextrose [dek´strōs]
- older chemical name for d-glucose (see glucose below); the term dextrose continues to be used to refer to glucose solutions administered intravenously for fluid or nutrient replacement.

  • Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

glu·cose (glū'kōs)
- A dextrorotatory monosaccharide found in a free form in fruits and other parts of plants, and in combination in glucosides, glycogen, disaccharides, and polysaccharides (starch cellulose); the chief source of energy in human metabolism, the final product of carbohydrate digestion, and the principal sugar of the blood; insulin is required for the use of glucose by cells; in diabetes mellitus, the level of glucose in the blood is excessive, and it also appears in the urine.
Synonym(s): d-glucose.

  • Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012

The full discussion on medical uses of dextrose can be found here:

A discussion on the optical rotation of linearly polarized light as it travels through solutions of chiral molecules such as sucrose (sugar) molecules can be found here: