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Calendar >  Healthy Community Healthy You – Insulin – A Very Sensitive Hormone

Healthy Community Healthy You – Insulin – A Very Sensitive Hormone

By   /  September 11, 2022  /  No Comments

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Insulin is the hormone that take the glucose from the blood and moves it to the cells for use for energy and for storage. We typically hear about this topic in relation to diabetes. That is because people with diabetes high levels of insulin in their blood. As a result of this insulin imbalance, either the body is unable to move it to the cells or upon arrival the cells don’t respond to insulin as well as they should.  

The key factor is glucose which comes from carbohydrate rich foods. The main culprits are bread, potatoes, and fruit. Upon entering the mouth, food then travels down the esophagus before entering the stomach. During this traveling adventure, enzymes and acids from the foods are broken down into tiny digestible pieces that release glucose. The intestines absorb the glucose and then it hits the bloodstream. Now when in the blood, insulin kicks in to pick up the glucose to take it to the cells.  

We want glucose to keep a constant level in our blood. There are cells in the pancreas that monitor blood sugar levels. Naturally after eating, blood sugar levels rise so the cells release insulin into the bloodstream. Now insulin takes glucose to the muscles, liver, and fat of the body to be used. The majority of this glucose is utilized by the body as energy. Most notably, glucose is what the brain uses for energy. The cells of the brain need glucose to help the chemical messengers be able to process information. The body uses what it needs, then the extra glucose gets stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen.  

When you don’t eat, the blood sugar levels drop. The pancreas doesn’t release insulin. The cells in the pancreas start to make glucagon. The role of this chemical is to tell the liver to start to break down glycogen that has been stored to be used as glucose. Then the glucose is released to the bloodstream until you finally eat again.  

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body does not have enough insulin. Insulin is made in the pancreas, but the body is attacking the cells needed for this production. For type 2 diabetics, the cells don’t respond to insulin appropriately. The pancreas had to work overtime to make enough insulin to have it properly transported to the cells. The pancreas reaches its max and then eventually becomes too impaired to make the amount of insulin the body needs. Having too much insulin distorts the function of the vessels that carry oxygen rich blood to the organs. Diabetics have to constantly be aware and test their blood sugar levels. Complications can lead to stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, and nerve damage.  

The role of insulin in the body is pivotal to our health. The best medicine is eating right and exercising. Genetically related or via lifestyle choices, the impact of eating whatever one desires can wreak havoc on your health. Moderation the key when it comes to carbohydrate consumption. The body needs this macronutrient for brain power and energy, but eating more than needed won’t make you smarter, quicker, faster, or stronger.  

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