Created for Greatist by the consultants at Healthline. Learn extra

Studying up on blood sugar is about as enjoyable as deciphering Ikea furnishings directions. Whilst phrases like “insulin” and “glucagon” change into a part of your vocabulary, it may be troublesome to know what they really imply.

Sadly, you really want to grasp all of the lingo associated to blood sugar for those who’re going to correctly handle these ranges.

To begin, let’s check out insulin and glucagon.

Each are extraordinarily vital with regards to managing blood sugar and protecting your physique in grade-A form (particularly once you’re coping with a situation like sort 1 or sort 2 diabetes). Right here’s the news.

The massive factor to recollect about insulin and glucagon is that they work collectively. These two hormones use the fantastic thing about teamwork to control the degrees of blood glucose in your physique.

When insulin and glucagon are doing their jobs appropriately, they’ll steadiness your blood sugar ranges (which implies no spikes or drops). It’s once they slack off that issues can get tough.

Insulin is a hormone that’s important for survival. Your pancreas produces insulin in response to issues like hormones and blood sugar ranges.

Insulin helps cells in your physique correctly soak up the glucose in your blood so it could change into the vitality your cells must operate.

Glucagon is just like insulin: It’s one other hormone your pancreas releases that controls the degrees of glucose in your blood.

Glucagon works together with your liver to stop your blood sugar degree from dropping too low. It additionally helps convert glycogen into glucose and releases it into your blood so your physique can use it for vitality.

Ever the multitasker, glucagon additionally works to maintain your liver from consuming an excessive amount of glucose with a view to hold your blood sugar steady all through your physique.

Now insulin and glucagon have fairly comparable jobs. However how do these hormones work collectively?

After they’re doing their jobs appropriately, they work in excellent steadiness: Insulin prevents glucose ranges from getting too excessive whereas glucagon prevents them from getting too low.

Each have to be efficient in your blood sugar ranges to remain, effectively, as near excellent as doable.

When insulin and glucagon aren’t working appropriately, issues get difficult. If one or the opposite (or each) isn’t correctly regulating glucose ranges, these ranges will get thrown off, which might have some fairly severe uncomfortable side effects.

The three G’s

Gluco… glyca… what? We all know — there are quite a lot of G phrases on this article. Right here’s a refresher on what they imply and the way they’re totally different.

  • Glucose: “Glucose” is one other phrase for blood sugar. Mainly, it’s the sugar in your blood that fuels your cells and offers your physique vitality.
  • Glycogen: It sounds just like “glucagon,” however glycogen is totally different. It’s a substance that’s produced from glucose, and it will get saved in your liver and muscle cells and is ultimately used for vitality.
  • Glucagon: It is a hormone that controls the degrees of glucose in your physique by telling your cells to transform glycogen into glucose after which releasing it into your blood.

When your physique chronically isn’t producing the right amount of insulin or glucagon, it may end up in glucose problems like prediabetes, sort 1 diabetes, sort 2 diabetes, and even gestational diabetes.

Sort 1 diabetes is much less frequent than its sibling, sort 2. If you happen to’ve been recognized with sort 1 diabetes (T1D), meaning your pancreas isn’t making sufficient insulin or isn’t producing any.

T1D is attributable to an autoimmune response that destroys beta cells in your pancreas, that are answerable for making insulin. Growing T1D is often linked to genetics or different environmental triggers however to not food plan or life-style.

Individuals with T1D must take insulin each day to stop glucose from increase of their bloodstream, which might result in severe well being problems like coronary heart circumstances, nerve harm, and imaginative and prescient loss.

Sort 2 diabetes is extra frequent. Of the 30 million Individuals who’ve diabetes, 90 to 95 % of them have sort 2.

That is one other situation attributable to a problem with insulin: Your physique makes insulin (good!), however your cells don’t know easy methods to cope with it (unhealthy!).

When your cells don’t know easy methods to react to insulin, it’s referred to as insulin resistance.

Your pancreas, noticing that the cells appear to have no concept what they’re doing, responds by creating extra insulin and, ultimately, by not creating sufficient. The entire course of throws your blood sugar ranges out of whack.

T2D is usually preceded by prediabetes. Each circumstances may be introduced on by food plan and life-style elements similar to consuming quite a lot of sugar or not getting sufficient train, however different elements are concerned as effectively.

Lastly, gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops throughout being pregnant. It may possibly sometimes be managed with food plan and train, although sometimes insulin can be prescribed as effectively.

Gestational diabetes sometimes goes away after being pregnant (and it shouldn’t affect the well being of the fetus).

All three kinds of diabetes are completely manageable with a doctor-prescribed remedy plan and some easy life-style adjustments.


  • Insulin and glucagon are hormones that assist regulate blood sugar (aka glucose) in your physique.
  • Insulin helps cells soak up glucose in your bloodstream so the degrees of glucose don’t get too excessive.
  • Glucagon works together with your liver to make sure that glucose ranges don’t drop too low.
  • When these hormones do their jobs appropriately, your blood sugar ranges keep steady and wholesome.
  • Sort 1 diabetes happens when your physique can’t produce insulin because of an immune dysfunction.
  • Prediabetes and sort 2 diabetes develop when your physique stops reacting to insulin correctly or doesn’t make sufficient insulin. Each circumstances are associated to food plan and life-style, amongst different elements.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here