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  • Writer's pictureRajat Chauhan

All You Need to Know About Insulin in the Human Body




Today, most people know that insulin is an essential hormone in our body that helps us digest sugar and regulate blood sugar levels. But other than that, there is not enough discussion about insulin's role in the human body.

Before synthetic insulin was created, diabetic patients did not live very long. Years of research helped reveal that a particular hormone secreted by the Langerhans cells in the pancreas was missing in people with diabetes. Thus, insulin was determined to be the life-saving hormone for diabetic people. At first, insulin from cattle and other animals was used to help people with diabetes. But it wasn't perfect.

In 1978, research pioneer Arthur D. Riggs {SOURCE} invented the technology that created the first 'human-like' insulin or synthetic insulin for diabetics. {SOURCE} From then on, it has been possible for people with diabetes to live longer lives and maintain good health for decades.


What is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It is an essential hormone for digesting sugar and checking blood sugar levels. Those with diabetes cannot produce enough insulin, leading to a rise in blood sugar. High blood sugar for a long time can strain vital organs like the heart, kidneys, and liver. 


Where is Insulin Produced?

Insulin is produced in islets of cells called Langerhans cells. They are found in the pancreas situated in the abdomen. The pancreas is an essential organ in the digestive system. It produces insulin according to your blood sugar levels to ensure that it always stays normal.


What is Insulin's Role in Our Body?

As mentioned above, the pancreas is a part of the digestive system, and it produces insulin, among other hormones, to help our body absorb nutrients from food. Here are the different functions of insulin in the human body – 

  1. Controls Blood Sugar – When we eat, our digestive system breaks the food down into different nutrients. Carbohydrates from our food are broken into body glucose. Glucose is our primary source of energy. When glucose is created in the digestive system, it is absorbed in the blood as blood sugar. In response to rising blood sugar levels, the pancreas produces insulin that enables glucose to enter our cells and give the body energy. However, insufficient insulin to digest the glucose or if our body develops insulin resistance can raise blood sugar levels. This condition is known as diabetes. The most common test to determine insulin functioning and diagnose diabetes is the fasting blood sugar test.

  2. Regulate Metabolic Processes –Insulin plays an essential role in regulating the metabolic process in the human body. It interacts with the glucose in your blood to give energy. If you have excess glucose, insulin helps turn it into glycogen and store it in your liver. Glycogen is used when your blood sugar levels fall lower than normal. When the liver is saturated with glucose, insulin helps transport the excess glucose to adipose tissue, synthesising lipoproteins to regulate the human body's metabolism. Depositing excess glucose in adipose tissue may lead to weight gain and increased fat.

  3. Manages Fluid Volumes in Urine –Insulin also helps maintain sodium levels in the urine. If your body does not produce enough insulin, then there isn't enough sodium excretion in the urine. In turn, this raises the level of glucose in the urine and results in frequent urination. The first symptom of diabetes is frequent urination and excess glucose in the urine.

  4. Transporting Amino Acids to Muscle Tissue – Amino acids and potassium are essential for repairing muscle damage and improving muscle strength. Insulin helps amino acids and potassium reach the muscle cells. If you exercise regularly, your muscles need amino acids and potassium. Insulin helps the muscle cells get these nutrients and repair themselves before your next workout.


Insulin is a critical hormone that regulates many vital functions of your body to help you live a healthy life. Its absence, resistance or malfunctioning can upset the normal metabolic processes of your body. If you do not have diabetes but want to live healthy, follow an active lifestyle that enables your body to keep up your metabolism and insulin production.

Modern diets are rich in carbohydrates that can increase blood sugar. Synthetic insulin is helpful for those living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. However, those blessed to have a healthy pancreas that produces sufficient insulin should also strive to lead an active lifestyle to keep diabetes at bay. 


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