What is Insulin? What Does It Do and How?

Well, diabetes is complicated and the most important hormone that needs to perform its function in an appropriate manner is insulin. It is this hormone around which the regulation of blood glucose levels revolves. Without it, the body fails to function efficiently causing a host of complications.

Let us analyze and understand what is Insulin? What Does It Do and How?

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What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone which is secreted by the gland pancreas in the body. The beta cells of the pancreas secrete insulin. The secretion is known to be stimulated by the production of glucose. Whenever the blood in the body has more than the desired levels of glucose, the beta cells sense the same and secrete insulin in return. Insulin is an important hormone with multiple roles to play. When it fails to function appropriately, patients suffer from diabetes and other related complications.

What is the Role of Insulin in the Body?

What is Insulin

This hormone has a very important function to play in the body. The hormone helps in maintaining the levels of metabolism in the body. Not only does it regulate the levels of adequate blood glucose, but it goes a long way in helping to store fat in the body. There are the following different ways in which the hormone benefits the body:

  • It helps the body to absorb the required amounts of glucose and in the process, helps in synthesizing lipid levels.
  • Insulin also plays a role in preventing the formation of ketones by the body while also reducing the breakdown of protein as well as glycogen in the body.
  • Another additional role which the hormone plays is in the storing of fat in the body. When you eat food, the nutrients are broken down into glucose to produce energy. Any extra glucose is absorbed by the liver in the form of glycogen. Now, if there is any extra glucose left, the fat cells use the same and store as triglycerides upon getting a signal from insulin.

How Does Insulin Perform Its Role?

When the body does not have enough insulin or when the insulin fails to perform its role in an appropriate manner, the body is prone to experience high levels of blood glucose leading to complicated diseases such as diabetes. Hence, insulin plays a very role in the body. Let us understand how does this hormone perform its role:

  • When you eat food, the nutrients in the food turn into glucose before getting converted into energy. The hormone signals the liver muscles and the fat cells to absorb this glucose from the blood which is then used up to produce energy. In some cases, however, if the body already has enough energy and no extra energy is required, then the liver is signaled by the insulin to store the extra glucose as glycogen.
  • When the pancreas in the body fails to produce and secrete the required amount of insulin, the cells do not get the adequate amount of glucose required to produce energy. This, in turn, leads to an increase in the level of glucose in the blood causing type 1 diabetes in patients. The body, therefore, uses other energy sources such as ketones. However, production of too many ketones further may cause diabetic ketoacidosis which again is a fatal condition.
  • When you have type 2 diabetes, the pancreas does produce insulin required for the smooth functioning of the body. However, the body is unable to respond to the hormone in an appropriate manner. Over time, as the body starts demanding more and more insulin to function appropriately, the beta cells of the pancreas stop functioning appropriately.
  • As a result, when insulin in the body fails to perform its role, the patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes need to take insulin from external sources. This type of insulin is also known as synthetic insulin.

Thus, it is clear from the above post that insulin, indeed, is an important hormone without which the body will fail to function normally!

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