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How Does Insulin Control Blood Sugar Levels In The Body?

How To Maintain Normal Blood Sugar

How To Maintain Normal Blood Sugar

If you are one of the millions of people who has prediabetes, diabetes, metabolic syndrome or any other form of “insulin resistance,” maintaining normal blood sugar levels can be challenging. Over the past several decades, these chronic disorders have swept through the U.S. and many other nations, reaching epidemic proportions and causing serious, but often preventable, side effects like nerve damage, fatigue, loss of vision, arterial damage and weight gain. Elevated blood sugar levels maintained for an extended period of time can push someone who is “prediabetic” into having full-blown diabetes (which now affects about one in every three adults in the U.S.). (1) Even for people who aren’t necessarily at a high risk for developing diabetes or heart complications, poorly managed blood sugar can lead to common complications, including fatigue, weight gain and sugar cravings. In extreme cases, elevated blood sugar can even contribute to strokes, amputations, coma and death in people with a history of insulin resistance. Blood sugar is raised by glucose, which is the sugar we get from eating many different types of foods that contain carbohydrates. Although we usually think of normal blood sugar as being strictly reliant upon how many carbohydrates and added sugar someone eats, other factors also play a role. For example, stress can elevate cortisol levels, which interferes with how insulin is used, and the timing of meals can also affect how the body manages blood sugar. (2) What can you do to help avoid dangerous blood sugar swings and lower diabetes symptoms? As you’ll learn, normal blood sugar levels are sustained through a combination of eating a balanced, low-processed diet, getting regular exercise and managing the body’s most important hormones in othe Continue reading >>

Insulin Levels Signal The Liver Whether More Glucose Is Needed

Insulin Levels Signal The Liver Whether More Glucose Is Needed

To understand what happens as your blood sugar deteriorates from normal to pre-diabetes, and finally, to full-fledged diabetes you first need to understand how blood sugar control works in a normal body. The most important factor here is the role played by special cells called beta cells. These tiny cells are scattered through an organ called the pancreas which is located just under your stomach. The job of the beta cell is to produce insulin, store it, and release it into the blood stream at appropriate times. You can learn how blood sugar fluctuates during the day in people with normal blood sugar, those with mildly diabetic blood sugars, and those with full fledged Type 2 Diabetes on this page: Blood Sugar Throughout the Day. Healthy beta-cells are continually making insulin, storing it within the cell in little granules you can see in the illustration above. This insulin is released into the blood stream in two different fashions. Some of it is secreted into the blood continually. This is called basal insulin. The rest is secreted only when blood sugars rise, which happens mostly after you eat foods containing carbohydrates. This kind of insulin is secreted in two separate phases. Let's look more closely at these different ways the pancreas secretes insulin. Basal Insulin Release The beta-cells of a healthy person who has not eaten in a while release a small amount of insulin into the blood stream throughout the day and night in the form of very small pulses every few minutes. This is called "basal insulin release." Maintaining this steady supply of insulin is important. It allows the cells of the body to utilize blood sugar even if some time has passed since a meal. Insulin Levels Signal the Liver Whether More Glucose is Needed The steady insulin level as another f Continue reading >>

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Controlling Blood Sugar Levels

Glucose is a sugar needed by cells for respiration. It is important that the concentration of glucose in the blood is maintained at a constant level. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, controls blood sugar levels in the body. It travels from the pancreas to the liver in the bloodstream. As with other responses controlled by hormones, the response is slower but longer lasting than if it had been controlled by the nervous system. Blood sugar levels- Higher tier What happens when glucose levels in the blood become too high or too low glucose level effect on pancreas effect on liver effect on glucose level too high insulin secreted into the blood liver converts glucose into glycogen goes down too low insulin not secreted into the blood liver does not convert glucose into glycogen goes up Use the animation to make sure you understand how this works. You have an old or no version of flash - you need to upgrade to view this funky content! Go to the WebWise Flash install guide Diabetes is a disorder in which the blood glucose levels remain too high. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1, which usually develops during childhood Type 2, which usually develops in later life. The table summarises some differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Some differences between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes Who it mainly affects Children and teenagers. Adults under the age of 40. Adults, normally over the age of 40 (there is a greater risk in those who have poor diets and/or are overweight). How it works The pancreas stops making enough insulin. The body no longer responds to its insulin. How it is controlled Injections of insulin for life and an appropriate diet. Exercise and appropriate diet. When treating Type 1 diabetes, the dosage of in Continue reading >>

How The Body Controls Blood Sugar - Topic Overview

How The Body Controls Blood Sugar - Topic Overview

The bloodstream carries glucose-a type of sugar produced from the digestion of carbohydrates and other foods-to provide energy to cells throughout the body. Unused glucose is stored mainly in the liver as glycogen. Insulin, glucagon, and other hormone levels rise and fall to keep blood sugar in a normal range. Too little or too much of these hormones can cause blood sugar levels to fall too low (hypoglycemia) or rise too high (hyperglycemia). Normally, blood glucose levels increase after you eat a meal. When blood sugar rises, cells in the pancreas release insulin, causing the body to absorb glucose from the blood and lowering the blood sugar level to normal. When blood sugar drops too low, the level of insulin declines and other cells in the pancreas release glucagon, which causes the liver to turn stored glycogen back into glucose and release it into the blood. This brings blood sugar levels back up to normal. Continue reading >>

8 Tips To Avoid Blood Sugar Dips And Spikes

8 Tips To Avoid Blood Sugar Dips And Spikes

If you have type 2 diabetes and your blood sugar levels are racing up and down like a roller coaster, it's time to get off the ride. Big swings in your blood sugar can make you feel lousy. But even if you aren't aware of them, they can still increase your risk for a number of serious health problems. By making simple but specific adjustments to your lifestyle and diet, you can gain better blood-sugar control. Your body uses the sugar, also known as glucose, in the foods you eat for energy. Think of it as a fuel that keeps your body moving throughout the day. Blood Sugar Highs and Lows Type 2 diabetes decreases the body’s production of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in the blood and can damage nerves and blood vessels. This increase of blood sugar also increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Over time, high blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can lead to more health problems, including kidney failure and blindness. "Keeping blood sugar stable can help prevent the long-term consequences of fluctuations," says Melissa Li-Ng, MD, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Dr. Li-Ng explains that high blood sugar can cause a number of symptoms that include: Fatigue Increased thirst Blurry vision Frequent urination It's also important to know that you can have high blood sugar and still feel fine, but your body can still suffer damage, Li-Ng says. Symptoms of high blood sugar typically develop at levels above 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). "You can have high blood sugar that's between 150 and 199 and feel perfectly fine," Li-Ng says. Over time, your body can also get used to chronically high blood sugar levels, so you don’t feel the symptoms, she says. On the flip side, if you Continue reading >>

How Does Fat Affect Insulin Resistance And Diabetes?

How Does Fat Affect Insulin Resistance And Diabetes?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 29 million people in America have diabetes and 86 million have prediabetes. Insulin resistance is recognized as a predictor of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. But what causes insulin resistance? In this NutritionFacts.org video, Dr. Michael Greger talks about how fat affects insulin resistance, and about how the most effective way to reduce insulin sensitivity is to reduce fat intake. We’ve also provided a summary of Dr. Greger’s main points below. Insulin Resistance of People on High-Fat Diets vs. High-Carb Diets In studies performed as early as the 1930s, scientists have noted a connection between diet and insulin intolerance. In one study, healthy young men were split into two groups. Half of the participants were put on a fat-rich diet, and the other half were put on a carb-rich diet. The high-fat group ate olive oil, butter, mayonnaise, and cream. The high-carb group ate pastries, sugar, candy, bread, baked potatoes, syrup, rice, and oatmeal. Within two days, tests showed that the glucose intolerance had skyrocketed in the group eating the high-fat diet. This group had twice the blood sugar levels than the high-carb group. The test results showed that the higher the fat content of the diet, the higher the blood sugar levels would be. What Is Insulin Resistance? It turns out that as the amount of fat in the diet goes up, so does one’s blood sugar spikes. Athletes frequently carb-load before a race because they’re trying to build up fuel in their muscles. We break down starch into glucose in our digestive tract; it circulates as blood glucose (blood sugar); and it is then used by our muscle cells as fuel. Blood sugar, though, is like a vampire. It needs an invitation to enter our cells. And that invit Continue reading >>

Carbohydrates And Blood Sugar

Carbohydrates And Blood Sugar

When people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage. As cells absorb blood sugar, levels in the bloodstream begin to fall. When this happens, the pancreas start making glucagon, a hormone that signals the liver to start releasing stored sugar. This interplay of insulin and glucagon ensure that cells throughout the body, and especially in the brain, have a steady supply of blood sugar. Carbohydrate metabolism is important in the development of type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body can’t make enough insulin or can’t properly use the insulin it makes. Type 2 diabetes usually develops gradually over a number of years, beginning when muscle and other cells stop responding to insulin. This condition, known as insulin resistance, causes blood sugar and insulin levels to stay high long after eating. Over time, the heavy demands made on the insulin-making cells wears them out, and insulin production eventually stops. Glycemic index In the past, carbohydrates were commonly classified as being either “simple” or “complex,” and described as follows: Simple carbohydrates: These carbohydrates are composed of sugars (such as fructose and glucose) which have simple chemical structures composed of only one sugar (monosaccharides) or two sugars (disaccharides). Simple carbohydrates are easily and quickly utilized for energy by the body because of their simple chemical structure, often leading to a faster rise in blood sugar and insulin secretion from the pancreas – which can have negative health effects. Complex carbohydrates: These carbohydrates have mo Continue reading >>

The Role Of Insulin In The Body

The Role Of Insulin In The Body

Tweet Insulin is a hormone which plays a key role in the regulation of blood glucose levels. A lack of insulin, or an inability to adequately respond to insulin, can each lead to the development of the symptoms of diabetes. In addition to its role in controlling blood sugar levels, insulin is also involved in the storage of fat. Insulin is a hormone which plays a number of roles in the body’s metabolism. Insulin regulates how the body uses and stores glucose and fat. Many of the body’s cells rely on insulin to take glucose from the blood for energy. Insulin and blood glucose levels Insulin helps control blood glucose levels by signaling the liver and muscle and fat cells to take in glucose from the blood. Insulin therefore helps cells to take in glucose to be used for energy. If the body has sufficient energy, insulin signals the liver to take up glucose and store it as glycogen. The liver can store up to around 5% of its mass as glycogen. Some cells in the body can take glucose from the blood without insulin, but most cells do require insulin to be present. Insulin and type 1 diabetes In type 1 diabetes, the body produces insufficient insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Without the presence of insulin, many of the body’s cells cannot take glucose from the blood and therefore the body uses other sources of energy. Ketones are produced by the liver as an alternative source of energy, however, high levels of the ketones can lead to a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis. People with type 1 diabetes will need to inject insulin to compensate for their body’s lack of insulin. Insulin and type 2 diabetes Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body not responding effectively to insulin. This is termed insulin resistance. As a result the body is less able to t Continue reading >>

How Does My Body Control My Blood Sugar Levels?

How Does My Body Control My Blood Sugar Levels?

When high sugar, or low fiber, starchy foods are eaten in excess, blood sugar levels rise quickly, producing a strain on blood sugar control. The body responds to the rise in blood glucose levels after meals by secreting insulin, a hormone produced by the beta cells of the pancreas (a small gland that resides at the base of the stomach). Insulin lowers blood glucose by increasing the rate that glucose is taken up by cells throughout the body. Declines in blood glucose, as occur during fasting or exercise, cause the release of glucagon, another hormone produced by the pancreas. Glucagon stimulates the release of glucose stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. If blood sugar levels fall sharply or if a person is angry or frightened, it may result in the release of epinephrine (Adrenalin) and corticosteroids (cortisol) by the adrenal glands. These hormones provide quicker breakdown of stored glucose for extra energy during a crisis or increased need. Ideally, these mechanisms are effective in keeping blood sugar levels within a very narrow range. Unfortunately, a great deal of Americans stress these control mechanisms through diet and lifestyle. As a result, obesity, diabetes, and other disorders of blood sugar regulation are among the most common diseases of modern society. Hunger Free Forever: The New Science of Appetite Control From two leading authorities on appetite control, obesity, natural medicine, and food comes a breakthrough in getting healthy and staying slim without starving.Millions have spent years searching for... Blood glucose levels naturally vary. They rise after a meal, then go down as the body uses up the glucose provided by the food. Here's how it normally works: As your blood glucose starts to rise after a meal, the pancreas responds by releasin Continue reading >>

Morning Highs? How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar

Morning Highs? How To Lower Morning Blood Sugar

As Type 2 Diabetes Develops During the years when type 2 diabetes slowly develops (which may be up to 10 years through developing metabolic syndrome and continuing on to prediabetes), hormonal control of blood glucose breaks down. To understand how your body responds, it's important to understand the essential hormones involved in blood glucose control. Four hormones are involved in blood glucose control: Insulin, made in the beta cells of the pancreas, helps the body use glucose from food by enabling glucose to move into the body's cells for energy. People with type 2 diabetes have slowly dwindling insulin reserves. Amylin, secreted from the beta cells, slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream after eating by slowing stomach-emptying and increasing the feeling of fullness. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are amylin-deficient. Incretins, hormones secreted from the intestines that include glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), enhance the body's release of insulin after eating. This in turn slows stomach-emptying, promotes fullness, delays the release of glucose into the bloodstream, and prevents the pancreas from releasing glucagon, putting less glucose into the blood. Glucagon, made in the alpha cells of the pancreas, breaks down glucose stored in the liver and muscles and releases it to provide energy when glucose from food isn't available Out-of-Control Blood Sugar During Sleep For people in the early years of type 2 diabetes, the hormones that control blood sugar can particularly go awry. Here's what happens during sleep to a person with type 2 diabetes: "Overnight, the liver and muscles get the message from excess glucagon to ramp up the glucose supply because the person is sleeping, not eating," says Marty Irons, R.Ph., CDE. "There is not enough GLP-1, i Continue reading >>

What Is Insulin?

What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone; a chemical messenger produced in one part of the body to have an action on another. It is a protein responsible for regulating blood glucose levels as part of metabolism.1 The body manufactures insulin in the pancreas, and the hormone is secreted by its beta cells, primarily in response to glucose.1 The beta cells of the pancreas are perfectly designed "fuel sensors" stimulated by glucose.2 As glucose levels rise in the plasma of the blood, uptake and metabolism by the pancreas beta cells are enhanced, leading to insulin secretion.1 Insulin has two modes of action on the body - an excitatory one and an inhibitory one:3 Insulin stimulates glucose uptake and lipid synthesis It inhibits the breakdown of lipids, proteins and glycogen, and inhibits the glucose pathway (gluconeogenesis) and production of ketone bodies (ketogenesis). What is the pancreas? The pancreas is the organ responsible for controlling sugar levels. It is part of the digestive system and located in the abdomen, behind the stomach and next to the duodenum - the first part of the small intestine.4 The pancreas has two main functional components:4,5 Exocrine cells - cells that release digestive enzymes into the gut via the pancreatic duct The endocrine pancreas - islands of cells known as the islets of Langerhans within the "sea" of exocrine tissue; islets release hormones such as insulin and glucagon into the blood to control blood sugar levels. Islets are highly vascularized (supplied by blood vessels) and specialized to monitor nutrients in the blood.2 The alpha cells of the islets secrete glucagon while the beta cells - the most abundant of the islet cells - release insulin.5 The release of insulin in response to elevated glucose has two phases - a first around 5-10 minutes after g Continue reading >>

8 Sneaky Things That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

8 Sneaky Things That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

Skipping breakfast iStock/Thinkstock Overweight women who didn’t eat breakfast had higher insulin and blood sugar levels after they ate lunch a few hours later than they did on another day when they ate breakfast, a 2013 study found. Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men who regularly skipped breakfast had a 21 percent higher chance of developing diabetes than those who didn’t. A morning meal—especially one that is rich in protein and healthy fat—seems to stabilize blood sugar levels throughout the day. Your breakfast is not one of the many foods that raise blood sugar. Here are some other things that happen to your body when you skip breakfast. Artificial sweeteners iStock/Thinkstock They have to be better for your blood sugar than, well, sugar, right? An interesting new Israeli study suggests that artificial sweeteners can still take a negative toll and are one of the foods that raise blood sugar. When researchers gave mice artificial sweeteners, they had higher blood sugar levels than mice who drank plain water—or even water with sugar! The researchers were able to bring the animals’ blood sugar levels down by treating them with antibiotics, which indicates that these fake sweeteners may alter gut bacteria, which in turn seems to affect how the body processes glucose. In a follow-up study of 400 people, the research team found that long-term users of artificial sweeteners were more likely to have higher fasting blood sugar levels, reported HealthDay. While study authors are by no means saying that sugary beverages are healthier, these findings do suggest that people who drink artificially sweetened beverages should do so in moderation as part of a healthy diet. Here's what else happens when you cut artificial sweetener Continue reading >>

How Insulin And Glucagon Work

How Insulin And Glucagon Work

Insulin and glucagon are hormones that help regulate the levels of blood glucose, or sugar, in your body. Glucose, which comes from the food you eat, moves through your bloodstream to help fuel your body. Insulin and glucagon work together to balance your blood sugar levels, keeping them in the narrow range that your body requires. These hormones are like the yin and yang of blood glucose maintenance. Read on to learn more about how they function and what can happen when they don’t work well. Insulin and glucagon work in what’s called a negative feedback loop. During this process, one event triggers another, which triggers another, and so on, to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. How insulin works During digestion, foods that contain carbohydrates are converted into glucose. Most of this glucose is sent into your bloodstream, causing a rise in blood glucose levels. This increase in blood glucose signals your pancreas to produce insulin. The insulin tells cells throughout your body to take in glucose from your bloodstream. As the glucose moves into your cells, your blood glucose levels go down. Some cells use the glucose as energy. Other cells, such as in your liver and muscles, store any excess glucose as a substance called glycogen. Your body uses glycogen for fuel between meals. Read more: Simple vs. complex carbs » How glucagon works Glucagon works to counterbalance the actions of insulin. About four to six hours after you eat, the glucose levels in your blood decrease, triggering your pancreas to produce glucagon. This hormone signals your liver and muscle cells to change the stored glycogen back into glucose. These cells then release the glucose into your bloodstream so your other cells can use it for energy. This whole feedback loop with insulin and gluca Continue reading >>

The Liver & Blood Sugar

The Liver & Blood Sugar

During a meal, your liver stores sugar for later. When you’re not eating, the liver supplies sugar by turning glycogen into glucose in a process called glycogenolysis. The liver both stores and produces sugar… The liver acts as the body’s glucose (or fuel) reservoir, and helps to keep your circulating blood sugar levels and other body fuels steady and constant. The liver both stores and manufactures glucose depending upon the body’s need. The need to store or release glucose is primarily signaled by the hormones insulin and glucagon. During a meal, your liver will store sugar, or glucose, as glycogen for a later time when your body needs it. The high levels of insulin and suppressed levels of glucagon during a meal promote the storage of glucose as glycogen. The liver makes sugar when you need it…. When you’re not eating – especially overnight or between meals, the body has to make its own sugar. The liver supplies sugar or glucose by turning glycogen into glucose in a process called glycogenolysis. The liver also can manufacture necessary sugar or glucose by harvesting amino acids, waste products and fat byproducts. This process is called gluconeogenesis. When your body’s glycogen storage is running low, the body starts to conserve the sugar supplies for the organs that always require sugar. These include: the brain, red blood cells and parts of the kidney. To supplement the limited sugar supply, the liver makes alternative fuels called ketones from fats. This process is called ketogenesis. The hormone signal for ketogenesis to begin is a low level of insulin. Ketones are burned as fuel by muscle and other body organs. And the sugar is saved for the organs that need it. The terms “gluconeogenesis, glycogenolysis and ketogenesis” may seem like compli Continue reading >>

Top 10 Supplements For Blood Sugar Control

Top 10 Supplements For Blood Sugar Control

We all know the sugar rush feeling after a particularly indulgent meal or beverage—a brief sensation of hyperactivity quickly followed by a sugar crash, that bone-weary exhaustion that makes you just want to crawl in bed. If this sounds familiar, you’ve had a glimpse into the roller coaster effect that sugar can have on our energy levels and how hard our body must work to keep it all in balance. You see, we quite literally run on sugar—every cell and organ in our body requires glucose. The food we eat gets broken down into glucose for ready absorption into our bloodstream and insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, helps our body take glucose out of the bloodstream and put it into our cells to be converted into energy or stored for later use. If we eat too much sugar or high-glycemic carbohydrates (think cakes, crackers, bread, and cookies), we experience a rapid influx of blood sugar. Our body must rush in to compensate with a spike of insulin to take care of the sudden overabundance of glucose, leaving us tired and irritable from the yo-yo effect. Keeping your blood sugar levels balanced is one of the most important steps you can take for overall health and vitality. Besides eating a wholesome diet rich in low-glycemic whole fruits, vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates, you can optimize your blood sugar levels by including supplements that promote glucose balance. Here are our picks for the top 10 supplements you can take to support healthy blood sugar levels. Alpha-Lipoic Acid This fat- and water-soluble antioxidant attacks free radicals in the body, protecting our organs and tissues. To balance blood sugar, alpha-lipoic acid helps convert glucose into energy in our body’s cells and can increase insulin sensitivity after just four weeks of supp Continue reading >>

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