Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats by absorption of glucose from the blood into liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells.

Insulin allows your body to use sugar (glucose) from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy or to store glucose for future use. Insulin is an anabolic hormone.

Insulin helps keep your blood sugar level from getting too high. The cells in your body need sugar for energy. However, sugar cannot go into most of your cells directly. After a meal when your blood sugar rises, cells in your pancreas are signaled to release insulin into your bloodstream. Insulin then attaches to its receptors and opens a specific pathway through which sugar can enter into the cells. Insulin is often described as a key which unlocks the cell to allow sugar to enter into the cell and be used for energy.

If you have more sugar in your body than it needs, insulin helps store the sugar in your liver and release it when you need it. So, insulin keeps your blood sugar balanced and in a normal range.


Insulin can be broadly classified as basal and bolus insulin:


Basal Insulin: Drop by drop of insulin released by our pancreas slowly for 24 hours is the basal insulin. Basal insulin is also called as background insulin. Its role is to control the blood glucose levels during periods of fasting.

When fasting the body steadily releases glucose into the blood to supply our body with energy. Basal insulin helps to keep this glucose under control and allow the cells to uptake the glucose.


Bolus Insulin: When we have a meal our blood glucose rises. To control this glucose our pancreas have to release more insulin which is called bolus insulin.


For clinical use biosynthetic human insulin is used and is manufactured by recombinant DNA technology. Several analogs of human insulin which are closely related to human insulin structure are available to mimic the human pancreas.


Various types of Insulin used for treatment purpose include:


Rapid acting Insulin begins to work about 15 minutes after injection, peaks in about 1 hour, and continues to work for 2 to 4 hours.


Regular or Short-acting insulin usually reaches the bloodstream within 30 minutes after injection, peaks anywhere from 2 to 3 hours after injection, and is effective for approximately 3 to 6 hours.


Intermediate-acting insulin generally reaches the bloodstream about 2 to 4 hours after injection, peaks 4 to 12 hours later, and is effective for about 12 to 18 hours.


Long-acting insulin reaches the bloodstream several hours after the injection, has no peak and tends to lower glucose levels fairly evenly over a 24-hour period.


Insulin Delivery Devices:


Depending on which type of insulin is prescribed to you, it can be taken either by a syringe, pen or insulin pump.


Blood sugar control is one of the most important aspects of type 2 diabetes management.

Although you may be able to treat the condition at first with oral medication and lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise and weight loss, most people with type 2 diabetes eventually need to take insulin by injection.


Watch this space for more insights on Insulin: like any side effects it has, its storage, injection technique, site rotation, traveling with Insulin…… and more.


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