Insulin Molecule, Yellow

Image caption : The hormone insulin is critical in the delivery of glucose to the cells, essentially providing a pathway for the sugar through the cell wall. In a healthy body, insulin is always in harmonic counterbalance to glucose: Too little insulin is associated with too much blood sugar, and too much insulin with too little blood sugar.

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What does insuli‚Äčn do?

Insulin helps keep blood glucose levels on target by moving glucose from the blood into your body's cells. Your cells then use glucose for energy. In people who don't have diabetes, the body makes the right amount of insulin on its own. But when you have diabetes, you and your doctor must decide how much insulin you need throughout the day and night.

After eating, carbohydrates are broken down into smaller sugar molecules. One sugar, sucrose-also known as table sugar-is broken down into two simple sugars: fructose and glucose. Glucose can be used by every cell in your body and is the molecule that we refer to as blood sugar. Glucose is absorbed into the intestines and enters the bloodstream. This triggers cells in the pancreas to produce insulin. Insulin tells cells to take in glucose for energy.

Insulin binds to insulin receptors and-through a conversation of the receptor with other elements of the cell-activates glucose channels to allow glucose to stream into the cell. High blood glucose becomes toxic if it remains in the blood-stream, so it is important that insulin functions efficiently. Insulin also inhibits the use of other potential fuel sources like fat. As long as there is glucose in the body insulin will keep fat in the fat cells.

More glucose equals more insulin. More insulin equals fat storage. More insulin also equals fat retention.

Types of Insulin for Diabetics

There are many different types of insulin. The type lets you know how fast the insulin starts working or how long it lasts in your body. Your health care provider will help you find the insulin that is best for you.

  • Rapid-Acting
    - This insulin starts working within 15 minutes after you use it. It is mostly gone out of your body after a few hours. It should be taken just before or just after you eat.
  • Short-Acting
    - This insulin starts working within 30 minutes to 1 hour after you use it. It is mostly gone out of your body after a few hours. It should be taken 30-45 minutes before you eat.
  • Intermediate-Acting
    - This insulin starts working within 2-4 hours after you use it. It reaches its highest level in your blood around 6-8 hours after you use it. It is often used to help control your blood sugar between meals. Some people use this type of insulin in the morning, at bedtime, or both.
  • Long-Acting
    - This insulin starts working within 2 to 4 hours after you use it. It can last in the body for up to 24 hours. It is often used in the morning or at bedtime to help control your blood sugar throughout the day.
  • Pre-Mixed
    - This is a mix of two different types of insulin. It includes one type that helps to control your blood sugar at meals and another type that helps between meals.


The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.