Insulin: What It Is, How It Works, And The Benefits



Published on: 17-Nov-2022


10 min read


Updated on : 02-Nov-2023




Shubhi Sidnis


Insulin: What It Is, How It Works, And The Benefits

Insulin: What It Is, How It Works, And The Benefits

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Insulin is a vital hormone that turns food into energy and helps manage blood sugar levels. If you have type 1 diabetes, your body cannot make the required insulin. Your doctor may advise taking insulin from outside through injections.

Insulin helps glucose to enter into the cells for better functioning, and insulin is essential to stay alive. Without it will be difficult for our bodies to survive.

Let us understand the role of insulin  and many other things about insulin and how our body must work appropriately.

Table Of Contents

1. What Is Insulin?

2. What Are The Types Of Insulin? 

3. What Does Insulin Do? 

4. Diabetes: Role Of Insulin

5. What Are The Benefits Of Insulin? 

6. Negative Effects Of Insulin

6. Dietitian’s Recommendation

7. The Final Say

8. FAQs

What Is Insulin?

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas β-cell, which helps to utilise sugar for energy. There are chances of diabetes if your pancreas does not work properly to secrete insulin, which is required to control the sugar in the bloodstream. 

Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs when there is no sufficient insulin in the body or does not utilise insulin.

What Are The Types Of Insulin?

What Are The Types Of Insulin 

Various types of insulin come primarily in injection form, and the other comes in pump or pen form, which can be used easily by the patient directly.

Now, let us talk about the main types of insulin:

1. Regular Insulin

Regular insulin starts working within 30 to 45 minutes of ingestion and works for 5 to 8 hours. It is most effective after 2 to 4 hours after you inject. It includes Humulin and Novolin (name of insulin)

2. Rapid-Acting Insulin

The rapid-acting insulin works within 5 to 20 minutes of taking it through injection or the pen. It works for 3 to 5 hours, including glulisine.

3. Long-Lasting Insulin

Long-lasting insulin takes 1 hour to work when ingested and takes about 3 to 14 hours after the injection. This insulin lasts up to a day, and it includes glargine.

4. Intermediate-Acting Insulin

The moderate-acting insulin works for about 2 hours and is effective between 4 to 12 hours. This insulin includes NPH (Isophane Insulin).

5. Ultra-Long-Lasting Insulin

This type of insulin reaches the bloodstream in 6 hours and can stay up to 2 days. This ultra-long insulin includes degludec.

What Does Insulin Do?

Here are some roles of insulin in our bodies and how it is a vital component.

  • Insulin also prevents using fat as an energy source. Without insulin or in conditions where insulin is low, body cells do not take up glucose, and the body begins to utilise fat as an energy source.
  • Causes the cells in the muscle, fat, and liver tissue to take up glucose from the blood and convert it to glycogen to store in the muscles and liver.
  • Has several other anabolic effects on the whole body as well.
  • Helps to excrete sodium through urine from the body.
  • Boosts the learning capabilities of the brain by promoting memory.
  • Insulin also manages other body systems and regulates the amino acid uptake by body cells.

Diabetes: Role Of Insulin

The insulin system works well when your pancreas works perfectly fine. The slight impairment of the pancreas can inhibit the breakdown of  blood sugar and cause diabetes.

There are two types of diabetes which can occur if there is an impairment of the secretion of insulin by the pancreas.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which occurs when the immune system attacks the beta cells and destroys them in the pancreas producing insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs gradually, and your pancreas finds it difficult to produce insulin. Moreover, type 2 diabetes makes the cells challenging to absorb insulin, which can cause insulin resistance. It is more prone in people who are obese and overweight.

What Are The Benefits Of Insulin?

Insulin regulates blood sugar and keeps the blood sugar in check. Scroll down to find out how else it is beneficial.

1. Effective For Nerve And Brain Function

Insulin is helpful for cognitive function and most beneficial for people suffering from Alzheimer’s as it enters the brain through the blood-brain barrier.

2. Lower Blood Glucose

Insulin lowers blood glucose levels in people suffering from type I diabetes and type II diabetes.As the body does not produce enough insulin, and cannot be managed through the medications ingested in the body. 

3. Better Heart Function

Insulin resistance can increase hypertension and cardiovascular disease chances. Insulin helps to relax the artery walls and boost the blood flow in the heart by promoting heart function.

Negative Effects Of Insulin

You could experience the following adverse effects from insulin in some situations:

  • Obesity 
  • Low blood sugar discomfort at the injection site if the injection location is infected.
  • Occasionally, an allergic reaction may occur at the injection site.
  • Insulin can trigger blood glucose levels to decrease and cause Hypoglycemia

Dietitian’s Recommendation

To increase insulin sensitivity in the body, people suffering from type I and type II diabetes can take fenugreek water with chia seeds. It is great for both as fenugreek has blood sugar-lowering properties and chia seeds have fibre which also helps regulate blood sugar.

Here is ToneOp’s fenugreek water recipe to help you control peak sugar levels. 


  • Fenugreek- 1 tsp, overnight soaked
  • Chia seeds- 1 tsp

How to prepare

1. Heat the fenugreek-soaked water the following day.

2. Add chia seeds to the glass and pour the water onto it.

3. Mix well and drink twice a day.

                                                                         -Dietitian Akshata Gandevikar

The Final Say

Insulin is the most important hormone for the better functioning of the body. It helps to control the peak of blood sugar in the body, which curbs the chances of having diabetes in the long run. It also has many other actions like repair of the muscles after injuries and many more. 


1. Can insulin make you feel tired?

If the insulin dose is incorrect, it can make you tired. If the dosage is correct, there is no chance of fatigue or tiredness.

2. Can insulin make you lose weight?

Maintaining a healthy body weight while taking insulin is vital for people suffering from diabetes. As often consumption can lead to weight gain.

3. How does insulin work in diabetes?

Insulin opens the path for glucose to enter the cells in the body, provides energy to the body, and controls the peak of sugar level.

4. Where can insulin be injected?

Insulin can be Injected through arms, thighs, into the skin, and through the abdomen. While injecting insulin from the belly is the best place.

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