We all need to eat to survive. Aside from providing us with the nutrients we need to keep our body healthy, food also give us the energy we need to perform a wide range of tasks and activities. But have you ever wondered how our body transforms the food we eat everyday into a source of energy? Well, it’s all thanks to a hormone called insulin.
In a nutshell, insulin helps us utilize sugar or glucose as a source of energy. Produced by the pancreas, it is a hormone that enables the human body to use the sugar obtained from the carbohydrates in the food we eat. It works by attaching itself to cells and signaling those cells to absorb sugar from the bloodstream. This is why insulin is often described as the “key” that unlocks the cell to allow the sugar in and be used for energy.
If there is more sugar in the body than it requires, insulin can help with that, too. It stores the sugar in your liver and when your blood sugar drops, such as when you are in between meals or when doing a physical activity, it will release the sugar to be used as energy. This is another vital function of insulin. By storing excess glucose and releasing them only when needed, insulin prevents your blood sugar levels from being too high or too low.
We have touched upon the basics of glucose regulation above via one of the main functions of insulin, but we’re going to dig a little deeper to help you develop a better understanding of it. Glucose regulation is basically the maintenance of blood sugar levels at constant levels amid changing glucose intake and the body’s energy usage.