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Does insulin is secreted all the time (even when i eat tiny amounts of carbs/sugar) or only when blood sugar reaches a certain treshold?

I cannot find any good info on the net about this thing.

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1 Answer 1

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Insulin is secreted in two ways:

Continuously There is always a baseline secretion of insulin. It is generally rather low amounts.

In spikes After a meal, the insulin levels spike to high levels, and as glucose gets cleared from the blood, slowly falls back to baseline levels.

This is the reason why insulin-dependent diabetics (at least type 1) need two types of insulin . They take one slow-acting insulin which will be in the blood for a longer period of time to simulate the baseline secretion. They also take a fast-acting insulin, which gets cleared very quickly, to simulate the insulin-spikes that occur after meals so the glucose enters the tissues where it is needed.

Here is a graph that shows the levels of insulin and glucose in healthy people. It also shows their erratic behavior after intake of sweets http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/4/4d/Suckale08_fig3_glucose_insulin_day.png/270px-Suckale08_fig3_glucose_insulin_day.png

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Very true... there is a basal insulin and then bolus or spikes depending on food or stress like activities that may raise blood sugars. –  Keni Jun 10 at 18:29
    
Stress increases cortisol, which in turn increases glucose, which then stimulates insulin. –  Darko Sarovic Jun 10 at 21:20
    
Thanks all for the helpfull comments! –  punked Jun 11 at 15:58

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