Insulin and Sugar Diabetes. How Does Insulin Work?
Insulin is very important key to convert glucose into energy. Everybody know that! (Heh-heh… Geiko!) Everybody should know how insulin works and it is especially true for understanding of sugar diabetes disease.
Ingested food goes to the stomach where it is digested and broken down into very small components, called nutrients, that can be absorbed into the blood stream and thus carried throughout the body nourishing every cell. All food consist of three major nutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrate. During digestion, fats (as in oils and butter, or avocados) turn into fatty acids; proteins are converted into amino acids, or primary building bricks for our body; and carbs (such as in sugar or bread) are broken down into glucose – main source of energy. Glucose is an all important source of energy because the brain and nervous system demand for constant uninterrupted supply of glucose for proper function. Also, glucose can be converted into the energy if needed or stored in the liver or fat tissue for later use.
Now, when the glucose is digested and funneled into the bloodstream, the pancreas start secrete hormone insulin into the blood as a straight response for rising glucose level. Insulin acts like a key for glucose to enter every cell of the body, without insulin cells can’t admit glucose molecules and produce energy. Insulin also acts as go-between in the process of glucose storage in the liver or in the fat tissue for later use.
Human body is an amazing machine because as soon as glucose level in the bloodstream goes down, the pancreas stop pumping big amount of insulin into the blood to avoid hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar level.
We eat food. Stomach and the small intestines brake down and digest food. Nutrients and glucose go into the bloodstream. Rising level of glucose triggers production of insulin in the pancreas. Insulin goes into the bloodstream and help deliver glucose into the cells throughout the body for energy. Blood glucose level goes down to the fasting level (60-110 mg/dl) and the pancreas stops pumping insulin into the bloodstream. The sequence is done until next meal. How elegant and beautiful. Do you agree?
In the normal healthy pancreas low amount of insulin is constantly being produced, it is called a basal amount of insulin. This is needed to cover glucose that being released from the liver between the meals, so that the brain and nervous system receive constant supply of glucose they needed.
Without the essential hormone insulin the cells are starve, even though the blood glucose level in the bloodstream can be very high. Without insulin, glucose can’t go inside the cells to supply tehm with energy. This leads to the breakdown of fat and the production of extremely harmful waste called ketoes. It can lead to a very dangerous condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.
In people without sugar diabetes disease, regardless of the amount of food they eat, or how long they stay without food, the blood glucose level is always eithin normal range because of the healthy pancreas and natural balance of insulin and glucagon hormones depending on the blood glucose level.