Articles on Insulin

Insulin and its Functions

Insulin is one of the most important hormones in the human body and lack of it can cause a myriad of diseases.

This essential hormone is manufactured by your pancreas and allows the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose which can then be used by your body as a source of energy or to store it for future use.

Insulin regulates your blood sugar levels so you don’t go into hyperglycemia (too much blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (too low blood sugar).

How Does Insulin Work?

Sugar is the main energy source of the cells in your body. However, sugar cannot be fully absorbed directly by the cells. It needs the help of insulin.

Insulin is often referred to as the ‘key’ because it unlocks body cells so that they allow sugar to be absorbed and then utilized for energy.

It works this way: When you eat food, the level of sugar in your blood rises. The beta cells in your pancreas are then triggered to release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin attaches to and signals the cells to absorb the sugar from your bloodstream.

If there is more than enough sugar in the body than what it requires, insulin then helps in storing the excess sugar in the liver. This stored sugar will then be released when your body needs more sugar such as when engaged in strenuous physical activities or in between meals.

Insulin balances out the levels of blood sugar in your body keeping it within normal range. The release of insulin by the pancreas is triggered by rise of blood sugar level in the body.

Improving Insulin Sensitivity

It cannot be denied that insulin is important for the body. However, there are cases when the body fails to appropriately respond to insulin.

In people with insulin resistance, the cells are unable to effectively using blood sugar, and this leads to high sugar levels in the bloodstream. This is why problems with insulin sensitivity can contribute to the development of diseases like diabetes.

There are ways to improve insulin sensitivity, such as the following:

  • Regular exercise. You have heard how important it is to exercise regularly. It can improve almost all your health markers, including insulin sensitivity. Exercise enhances the uptake of insulin-stimulated glucose in your skeletal muscle. High intensity interval training (HIIT) works best in maximizing insulin-related benefits.
  • Get enough sleep. Another good reason to go to bed early. Getting sufficient amount of sleep keeps the body running smoothly. Regular, good shuteyes have been proven to stimulate and regulate hormone production, including insulin.
  • Eat less carbs. Eating too much carbs triggers insulin surge and it’s not good. Your diet should be low in processed and simple carbs, especially sugar, to optimize insulin sensitivity. Eat complex carbs instead that take time to be digested, thus reducing insulin spikes.
  • Fast. Intermittent fasting has been proven to reduce the risks for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other illnesses. Go 16 hours without any calorific foods, and eat within the following 8 hours. Repeat.
  • Take green tea. The Chinese had it right when they said you should drink green tea regularly. It’s been proven to lower blood sugar levels significantly. Don’t put in milk, though, as it negates the tea’s benefits.
  • Get leaner. However you want to achieve it, a lean body is almost always insulin sensitive as proven by a study.

Articles about Insulin