Insulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels. The body’s own hormone among other things ensures that the cells of the food quickly absorb ingested sugar (glucose) and convert into energy.

Vital: The body produced no more insulin, you must inject it.

So that the body’s cells to perform their daily work, they need energy – especially in the form of glucose (grape sugar), which is part of food. Get glucose from the intestine into the blood – but so that she can get from there into the respective cells, insulin plays a crucial role. It ensures, inter alia, that the body’s cells use glucose and thus gain energy. In addition, insulin plays an important role in fat burning and the processing of proteins. In addition, it increases the power of the heart, promotes cell division and cell growth.

Insulin is a vital hormone that consists of specific protein building blocks (amino acids). Insulin is in the pancreas made – more precisely in the so-called langerhansschen Islands (named after its discoverer Paul Langerhans) which are insular distributed in the entire pancreas beta cells. The langerhansschen Islands are called islets of Langerhans in also or islet cells. Altogether about 1.5 million of them are in the pancreas. The islet cells do not only insulin in the blood out, but also the hormones glucagon and somatostatin.

How important insulin for the human body is, it is clear in particular in diabetes mellitus: in this metabolic disease, the pancreas (pancreatic) produces no longer sufficient insulin or it is not properly in cells (so-called insulin resistance). Glucose, which is located in the blood reaches without insulin not in sufficient quantities in the body’s cells – however and they can win thus not enough energy.

As the discoverer of insulin the 1920s Frederick Banting and Charles best apply.

The key to the energy

Whether movements, brain power, breathing or heartbeat: daily, the human body needs a lot of energy to maintain its diverse functions. The nutrients in the food supply the energy required. Particularly important and fast supply of energy are carbs – they occur in, for example, potatoes, bread, vegetables, rice, or noodles. They contain much glucose (grape sugar) and starch, which can be converted into glucose, respectively. Each cell needs glucose to function.

Insulin helps that glucose is converted into energy.

So that glucose that comes from food, processed and in the cells of organs can muscle and adipose available, most cells require insulin. Insulin makes sure that the glucose from the blood into the cells can be reached and are usable for the production of energy. But also amino acids and fatty acids are transported more easily by using of insulin in the cells.

Insulin makes sure that reaches vital glucose into the body’s cells.

After a meal, the sugar from the food through the intestine enters the blood – the blood glucose level increases. This causes that the islet cells in the pancreas (pancreatic) increasingly throw insulin into the blood. But also certain hormones and amino acids can do that more insulin is produced. Insulin binds to specific receptors on the cells and causes so that the cell membrane is more glucose. The insulin catching up so to speak the cell and makes them so permeable for the needed sugar. Glucose enters so insulin easier from the blood into the cell – the blood sugar sinks again. According to less insulin, the pancreas produces low blood sugar levels.

About an hour after a meal the insulin Committee is the highest, after two hours, the insulin values have fallen back on fasting values. Per day, the adult pancreas produces insulin about two grams.

In addition varies the amount of required insulin with the times of the day: morning, the body needs much insulin to transport glucose into the cells regularly – because the body needs during the day even more energy. In the evening and at night, however, the insulin secretion is low.

Energy reserves

Insulin not only ensures that sugar (glucose) is rapidly converted into energy. It also helps to create energy reserves.

Glucose from food, which is not directly used, stores the body as energy reserves, mainly in the liver, but also in muscle cells. A small amount of insulin is produced in a sober State (so-called basal secretion), so that cells if necessary by a supply of glucose from the liver can consume. Approximately two-thirds of glucose absorbed in the intestine are cached, so that energy available is the body’s cells also between meals, and the body is supplied regardless of food intake with glucose. This is important especially for the brain, because it is dependent on a continuous supply of glucose. Insulin promotes the storage of glucose by stimulating certain proteins (enzymes), which encourage the breakdown of glucose (called Glycolysis) and the formation of the so called glycogen, glucose stores.

Insulin can decrease blood sugar levels, so his opponent glucagon ensures, to raise the blood sugar if it is too low. Like insulin, the hormone glucagon is formed in the islet cells of the pancreas.

Excess glucose stores of the body as an energy reserve.

If the storage capacity for glucose is depleted, excess glucose is converted into fat and stored in adipose tissue. The fat tissue represents a kind of terminus for excess energy. Only who leads not more energy per day than he expends can permanently keep its weight or even lose weight – calories too much wandering in the adipose tissue. In addition, that insulin directly affects also the fat metabolism: it inhibits the breakdown of fat.

Key role in diabetes

Insulin plays a crucial role in the development of diabetes mellitus. The pancreas (pancreatic) of people with diabetes produces either did not or too little insulin or there is an insulin resistance: when an insulin resistance, insulin is made although, the body cells no longer respond to the signal effect of insulin so that they cannot process glucose. In blood glucose from food can no longer get into the body’s cells. The glucose stays in the blood – the blood glucose level rises gradually. A too high blood sugar leads to various damages. Because glucose as an energy carrier is no longer available, other sources of energy are released – for example, fatty acids and body protein. As a result, for example, the fat metabolism is disturbed: fat deposited in the vessel walls and may cause damage there. The high blood sugar causes that increase glucose with the urine is excreted. The fact that glucose in the blood leads to vascular damage, such as the retina, kidneys, and nerves affected be considered diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes must inject insulin.

Diabetes type 1 insulin-forming cells in the pancreas are destroyed and gradually.

For a type 2 diabetes, the cells react not or no longer sufficient to insulin – they are resistant to insulin. Although quite much insulin is distributed by the pancreas, type 2 not sufficient in diabetes the amount yet to lower blood sugar levels. So that the blood glucose level not continues to rise, the pancreas produces more insulin. This impacted so heavily that they wear out after years finally the islet cells.

Überzuckerung and Hypo

A high or hypo can occur especially in diabetes mellitus. When an acute Überzuckerung too little insulin is present, which can transport in the blood glucose into the cells, or however the cells are resistant to the effects of insulin. Complaints to a Überzuckerung are for example, fatigue, thirst, deeper breathing, and loss of consciousness.

A hypo arises often when a type 1 diabetic has injected too much insulin, but even after drinking excessively, because it inhibits the formation of glucose in the liver. You expressed by symptoms such as anxiety, sweating, trembling, hunger, nausea and consciousness.

Insulin in medicine

Insulin plays an important role in medicine. Type 1 diabetics must inject insulin in the subcutaneous fat tissue. Many type 2 Diabetics are dependent on insulin, when other treatment methods such as change of diet or medications are not sufficient. As a Tablet taken insulin would lose its effect, because the stomach acid would cause damage to the substance.

It began in 1922 to win insulin in order then this diabetics from the pancreas of cattle and pigs. Nowadays, insulin is hardly used by bovine animals and swine.

Human insulin is available since 1982. This is derived from genetically modified bacteria and yeast cells. There are also so-called insulin analogues: these are artificially modified variations of insulin, which reduce blood sugar just as the human hormone.

There are different insulin: Kurzwirksames insulin affects his already after a few minutes, while long effective insulin (delayed insulin) is slower, but also longer. Combined preparations include both variants (mixed insulin).

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