Insulin – what is it exactly?
Insulin is an important hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. Without sugar, cells in our body are starved for energy and stop functioning. We need sugar. It’s the basic unit of fuel that cells produce energy from. Just like a dog needs to eat, each of our cells needs sugar to stay alive.
But we don’t need to eat or drink sugar, to get sugar into our cells. Our body will convert other nutrients to do this. Did you know that even protein will convert to sugar in our bodies? It does so in a limited way, which is better for you, but it will still convert into sugar. We can not avoid sugar entirely, even when we completely try to avoid sugar! It’s that important for our cells and their need for energy. This is one reason that it’s recommended to stop eating almost all sugars, especially processed sugar.
How insulin works in our bodies:
When the insulin mechanism in our body is working properly, the following occurs:
– When we eat food, the enzymes in our saliva and stomach acid break down the simple carbohydrates into glucose molecules. These molecules can then enter the bloodstream to become blood sugar.
– Your body responds to an increase in blood sugar by signaling your pancreas to let out more insulin. Your pancreas is located behind your stomach and it produces the hormone insulin. This helps turn the sugar in your blood into energy for your body.
-When the pancreas releases insulin, it helps the cells in the body to take in sugar. It uses sugar as fuel.
Insulin has an effect on the liver, telling it to store any extra sugar (glucose) that it finds in the bloodstream. Glucose converts into glycogen, which serves as a long-term energy supply.
– When your insulin pathways are working properly, the blood carries sugar into the cells. Once the sugar is in the cells, it is no longer being carried around in your bloodstream. This signals your insulin levels to decrease as well.
When insulin is working properly in our bodies, we are sensitive to it. This means our bodies react to it and let glucose into the cells. Sensitivity is what all people with Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes need to recover, to reverse the condition.
A lot of people are on insulin for Type 2 Diabetes. Read more here about what you need to know about insulin and Type 2 Diabetes.
What happens to cause insulin resistance:
– We have too much sugar circulating in our bloodstream
– The body signals the pancreas to release a large surge of insulin in response to the sugar content in the blood.
– Insulin goes to our cells and tells them to let glucose enter.
– Instead of the cells opening up and absorbing the glucose, the insulin is either ignored or resisted by the cells.
– Our pancreas reacts to the increased glucose levels by producing more insulin. This is an attempt to help cells respond.
– The sugars remain in our bloodstream when the cells in our body aren’t taking up the blood sugar. This leads to higher blood sugar.
– As time goes on, our pancreas can’t produce enough insulin to keep up with the demand of the body and blood sugar levels rise higher and higher. At this point, we are at high risk for developing prediabetes and later, diabetes.
It was surprising to me when I found out that I was Prediabetic, and had insulin resistance. I thought I had avoided what I call the family curse. Nope. I had gained weight due to hormonal reasons, couldn’t get it off, and ended up on the path to Type 2 Diabetes. I hope that through the information we share here, we can help you avoid this path, or at least start to reverse it!
You can join our free group here, and get some excellent dietary recommendations that may just reverse your Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis!
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