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How is insulin regulated in the blood?
Insulin is a hormone produced in our body, specifically in the pancreas, every time we eat food or drink so that it can be used as energy.
Insulin's main function is to regulate the level of glucose or sugar in the blood.
Glucose is the body's main source of energy and allows us to work from the most intense exercise to everyday tasks.Without the presence of insulin, our bodies cannot use the glucose in our cells and produce energy. When this happens, glucose remains in the bloodstream and can lead to hyperglycaemia.
What are the functions of insulin?
- It regulates blood glucose levels.
- It plays an important role in enzyme activities.
- It is involved in the transport of necessary amino acids to the muscles.
- It promotes the absorption of potassium.
- It is involved in protein synthesis and DNA synthesis.
How to check insulin and glucose?
To check the level of insulin in the blood, a professional will take a blood sample, which will then be used for an analysis to measure the amount and presence of this hormone in the blood.
Blood sugar testing can be done using two procedures:
- A1C test
- Blood sugar test
Self-measurement: the test is done by putting a drop of blood on a strip on which a meter will tell us the blood glucose result. It is done daily by people with diabetes to check glucose levels.
What is insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance occurs when insulin does not work properly and as a result, glucose stays in the blood for a longer time.
High glucose levels can be the result of diabetes. There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
What is good for lowering insulin?
To lower insulin levels:
- Maintain a healthy diet and avoid ultra-processed foods full of sugars. Reducing carbohydrate intake, especially simple carbohydrates, helps to lower insulin levels.
- Regular exercise: can help increase insulin sensitivity and as a result your cells can better utilise available glucose.
- Losing weight: can reduce the risk of diabetes and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
- Increasing the amount of fibre in the diet: this will encourage a gradual and more progressive increase in blood sugar.
- Glycaemic index: Select foods with a low glycaemic index.
- Make sure you get adequate rest: since growth hormone is produced during sleep. Not getting enough sleep increases the production of cortisol, a stress hormone involved in sugar regulation.