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The Role of Insulin in Your Body

Jan 16, 2024
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The Role of Insulin in Your Body

Many people think of insulin as a “medication” for people with diabetes — but insulin is actually a hormone made by your body. And while it’s true that insulin is definitely involved in diabetes, its role in your overall health is actually much more complex and far-reaching.

Insulin has a major effect on your metabolism — the way your body converts food into energy your body can use. Understanding insulin’s effects can help you manage your weight more effectively and reduce your risk of developing diabetes.

At STL Medical Weight Loss in Chesterfield, Missouri, and McKinney, Texas, Joseph Moleski, DO, and Margaurette Walsh, PA-C, help patients optimize their metabolism with tirzepatide and semaglutide injections that target insulin-related issues. In this post, learn the basics about insulin and how injection therapy can help you manage your weight and improve your health.

Quick facts about insulin

Insulin is a hormone that’s created by special cells in your pancreas, an organ located near your stomach. Insulin helps regulate glucose or blood sugar, keeping it within a healthy range. 

One of the main functions of insulin is to regulate blood sugar or glucose. When you eat, your body converts carbohydrates into glucose, serving as a food source for many cells and tissues. When your body senses elevated glucose levels in your blood, it releases insulin to help your cells and tissues absorb glucose so it can be used.

If you have a problem with your pancreas or with the cells that produce insulin, you can wind up with serious health problems, including hyperglycemia and diabetes. Diabetes happens when your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin efficiently. Glucose builds up in your blood, eventually damaging your cells and organs.

Insulin also helps your body break down fats and produce proteins to help repair damaged tissues and perform other critical functions. It helps your body store extra glucose in your muscles and liver, releasing it when you need an extra boost in energy. And finally, insulin helps regulate your appetite, working with other hormones to help you feel full longer so you eat less.

Insulin resistance

Insulin works because certain cells in your body are sensitive to its effects. For instance, your liver and muscle tissue store glucose because they’re sensitive to insulin, and when insulin is present, they can absorb more glucose and store it for when it’s needed.

Sometimes, though, the cells in your muscles and liver become less sensitive (resistant) to insulin. That means that when insulin acts on them, they’re less likely to absorb and store glucose, which means more glucose builds up in the blood. 

Elevated glucose triggers more insulin production, and when the cycle continues, eventually, your pancreas won’t be able to keep up. If insulin resistance continues or increases, you can develop Type 2 diabetes.

Both semaglutide and tirzepatide stimulate special pathways to help balance glucose and insulin. At the same time, they help regulate your appetite, so you eat less and lose weight. A healthy weight is also essential for managing glucose levels and reducing your risks of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.

Learn more

Insulin plays a complex role in your body and your health, and if your body is resistant to this important hormone, it can seriously affect your weight and health. 

If you’re struggling with your weight, we can find a solution that works for you. To find out more about tirzepatide and semaglutide, along with other weight-management options we offer, call or book an appointment online with STL Medical Weight Loss today.