Some science behind the scenes
Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone released by beta cells in the pancreas in response to food [or drink]. As blood glucose levels rise, insulin is secreted in order to use it. Insulin has three major effects:
- It increases the uptake of glucose and amino acids into cells and increases the rate of cellular respiration and the use of glucose as a respiratory substrate. It thus plays a very very major role in supplying cells with the energy they need.
- Insulin also helps the body store excess glucose as ‘adipose tissue’. Insulin increases the rate of conversion of glucose to fat in fat storing cells [adipose tissue]
- Insulin increases the rate of conversion of glucose to glycogen in the liver and muscle cells. Glycogen is used by the body as a sort of reserve supply of energy.
In effect, high blood glucose levels stimulate the release of insulin. Insulin thus enables glucose to be taken up and used by insulin-dependent tissues and the overall effect is to lower blood glucose levels.
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