What is insulin anyway?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and released into the blood. It is needed mainly by liver, muscle and fat cells to be able to absorb glucose, i.e. sugar, from the blood, which means that it is also responsible for lowering the blood sugar level. It thus serves to provide energy in the form of sugar and to build up energy stores within the cells. In addition, it is one of the most important growth hormones in the human body, i.e. it promotes the development and maturation of the cells and thus the organs.
The role of insulin in metabolism
To fully understand the role of the hormone insulin, it is important to know the general principle behind human metabolism. Metabolism, also called metabolism, is a system in balance. If we need energy, it ensures the release of hormones that make us hungry.
We eat and supply our body with the building blocks it needs to function well. After we have eaten the food, it ensures the distribution and utilization of the building blocks. Once we have eaten too much, it is responsible for ensuring that nothing is lost and that the food components in the form of sugar stores and fat are stored for later.
It is also responsible for breaking them down into reusable energy building blocks. All these reactions are mediated by hormones such as insulin and glucagon, the antagonist of insulin. Insulin plays a major role in the sugar metabolism as a building, so-called anabolic hormone.
The term “anabolic” refers to the energy stores of our body, not to the glucose itself. Glucose is therefore broken down in order to build up the energy stores. As soon as we ingest food or even think about eating, insulin production is stimulated.
It is not yet clear exactly how. But the end point is definitely the pancreas, the pancreas. The pancreas is the organ that produces and secretes insulin so that it can do its job throughout the body.
If the blood sugar level, i.e. the concentration of sugar in the blood, rises, insulin binds to specific receptors on various cells in the body, which in turn leads to the integration of receptors to which the sugar (glucose) can bind. Glucose can be taken up into the cell by binding to its receptor, where it can be introduced into metabolic pathways that supply energy. If there is enough energy for the moment, the glucose can also be stored for later.
For this purpose it is stored in the form of glycogen or fat. In addition to this rapid, immediate effect, insulin has a second mode of action that requires a little more time. After insulin has bound to the cell via its specific insulin receptor, it triggers various reaction chains within the cell that influence the production of enzymes. In this way, enzymes are produced that break down the sugar once it is in the cell and enzymes that would rebuild the sugar are inhibited. Thus, insulin not only provides the cell with the sugar, but also all the enzymes that the cell needs to process the sugar.