Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps to regulate carbohydrate (especially sugars) and fat metabolism in the body. Insulin causes cells in the liver, muscles and fat tissues to absorb gluclose from the blood.
Insulin stops the use of fat as an energy source by inhibiting the release of glucagon. When functioning correctly the body provides in a constant proportion to remove excess glucose from the blood, which otherwise would be toxic. When blood glucose levels fall below a certain level, the body then begins to use stored sugar as needed energy source. In other words, Insulin helps our body to use the energy that we get from the food that we eat.
When the body is no longer able to produce insulin, or not enough insulin, diabetes mellitus results. Biosynthetic "human" insulin is now manufactured for widespread clinical use using recombinant DNA technology. More recently, researchers have succeeded in introducing the gene for human insulin into plants and in producing insulin in them, some of which have delayed reaction times. These different insulins make it much easier to regulate blood sugar levels on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, insulin cannot be taken orally because it would just be digested by the body, and would then no longer be useful in regulating the blood sugar. There are several companies that are working to develop ways of protecting insulin from the digestive tract, but in the meantime, patients with diabetes must rely on daily injections of insulin.
We have several family members who use Insulin on a daily basis. I am grateful that we have this medication to allow them to live normal, productive lives.