Most people are aware that people suffering from diabetes require insulin injections, but not many people realize just how important insulin is in the body. It is a hormone that is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels in the body and stopping the body from using fat as an energy source. If you are wondering how it performs these essential bodily functions, read on to find out!
How does insulin work in the body
Glucose is a simple sugar that is used by cells in the body as the main source of energy. This glucose is produced in the body from the food that we eat. Any excess glucose can be stored in the fat cells of the body. Regulating the glucose level in the blood is very important because there can be severe complications from having a very low or very high level of blood glucose.
Our bodies monitor the level of glucose in the blood via special cells in the pancreas. When the levels rise above a set level the pancreas begins to secrete extra insulin. As the levels of glucose rise, the pancreas releases more and more insulin. The insulin circulates through the blood and begins working within minutes. It binds to receptor sites on the liver and muscle cells, which causes these cells to take up more glucose. It also activates a variety of systems within the cells that make the body use glucose for energy (instead of using fats and other energy stores), convert the glucose into glycogen for storage and begin the production of fats from the excess glucose.
For diabetics, the body either doesn’t produce any insulin (type 1) or cannot use the insulin properly (type 2). However, some people with type 2 diabetes also have low levels of insulin. The treatment for diabetes is a mixture of lifestyle changes and medications. Some diabetics will require insulin injections for the rest of their life. All diabetics are advised to closely monitor their blood glucose levels.