Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels in our bodies. Specifically, insulin lowers the levels of glucose in our bloodstream by aiding the uptake of glucose into cells throughout our body. In turn, this allows us to use and store energy more efficiently. But what happens when insulin levels are low? Let’s take a closer look.
Before we dive into discussing what happens when there are low levels of insulin present in our bodies, let’s first get a better understanding of how this important hormone works.
When we eat food that contains carbohydrates , our digestive system breaks these down into sugars which then circulate through our bloodstream as glucose. Once this rise in blood sugar is detected by specialized cells in the pancreas called beta cells, insulin is secreted into the bloodstream. The main function of insulin is to help transport glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells where it can be used for energy.
Once inside a cell, glucose can either be used right away for energy or stored as glycogen for later use. Glycogen serves as a backup source of fuel when glucose levels decline temporarily – such as during an intense workout or after fasting overnight.
What Causes Low Insulin Levels?
Low insulin levels can occur due to several reasons:
Type 1 Diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin resulting in low production of enough insulin being produced.
Type 2 Diabetes:
In type 2 diabetes; despite having made some amount of insuling but still patient unable to utilize it effectivley because cell become resistant against it i. e. , they don’t respond well to its action.
Other Pancreatic Issues:
Other conditions that affect your pancreas may also cause low insulin levels, such as pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis.
When we have low blood sugar ffor too long i. e. , continuously for few hours, it can cause hypoglycemia which in turn lowers Insulin Levels.
Low Insulin Symptoms:
Below are some symptoms that could indicate low insulin levels:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive thirst
These symptoms might not always be due to low insulin levels and if you experience them frequently consult with your doctor.
What Happens When Insulin Levels Are Low:
Without enough insulin present to transport glucose into cells throughout our body, several things can occur. Here’s a closer look at what happens when there are low insulin levels:
Hyperglycemia occurs when the glucose cannot enter inside the cell because of lack of insuline hormone. Thus resulting in higher blood glucose amounts.
Reduced Brain Functionality:
Because the brain’s essential food is Glucose, reduced uptake;Which happens with No or very less amount of Insulin affects cognitive function.
Q: Can brain adapt and effectively use another source fuel than glucose if necessary?
Yes! In very short term conditions or certain health circumstances , the brain can effectively use ketones produced from fat breakdown as an alternative energy source.
Muscles require adequate supplies of glucose to properly operate during physical activity. Hence fewer availabe resources means more fatigue and decreased strength output.
As mentioned earlier; having high level of blood sugar puts excess stress on your kidneys to filter out this unnecessary excess amount leading towards Kidney damage
Nerve damage :
About 50% folks having Diabetes would experience nerulopathy i. e. , damage caused by denervation by disbalnced Glucose levels which can cause numbness, tingling or sharp pain.
Low insulin levels can also slow the rate at which wounds and injuries heal. This happens as glucose uptake is minimum hence when cells donot have enough energy they perform less repairs.
Although some causes of low insulin levels may be difficult to prevent, there are certain steps you can take to minimize your risk. These include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight,
- Regular medical checkups
- Avoiding prolonged fasting or starvation
- Quitting smoking and other unhealthy lifestyle habits
Insulin is an important hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels throughout our bodies. If there’s not enough present or it’s defective e. g. , in case of Insulin resistance then significant body damage could occur over time from overall lack of proper sugar utilization.
Hope this article made clear through explaining how Low insuline effects our body functioning so next time you encounter any symptoms like thirst headache etc , consult with doctor immediately.