Facebook Pixel

Insulin and Glucagon: Essential Hormones for Normal Blood Sugar

By Expert HERWriter
Rate This
glucagon and insulin are important hormones in regulating blood sugar Andy Dean Photography/PhotoSpin

When it comes to regulating blood glucose levels there is an important interplay between two hormones in your body, insulin and glucagon. These two hormones counterbalance each other and allow for normal blood sugar balancing.

When they are not working correctly people can develop insulin resistance and diabetes. Here are the major players.

Glucose is a simple form of sugar that is used by our cells as fuel. When you eat a meal your food is broken down in your digestive system into its building blocks and ultimately converted into glucose.

Glucose is then released into your blood stream so that your cells can use it for fuel to do their jobs in your body. When there is extra glucose in the blood stream it is taken up into the liver and muscle cells to be stored as glycogen for in between meals.

Insulin is a hormone that is released from your pancreas in response to high amounts of glucose circulating in your blood. The purpose of insulin is to help the high glucose levels leave your bloodstream and enter your cells.

Insulin acts as a key to open the cell membranes of the cells so glucose can enter. This causes the blood glucose levels in the blood to drop and become lower.

Glucagon is a hormone that is also released from your pancreas but this time in response to low levels of glucose in your blood. It causes the stored glycogen to be broken down back into glucose.

It's then released into the bloodstream to raise blood glucose levels during times when you are not eating. For example when you are sleeping or in-between meals.

When insulin levels are high, glucagon is not released. When glucagon levels are high then insulin levels are not released. The interplay between insulin and glucagon keeps your blood glucose constant between 90-100ml/dl throughout the day.

When someone’s cells become insulin resistant it causes the blood glucose levels to become high even during fasting times. When the cells are not receiving glucose they think they are starving and request the pancreas to release glucagon, causing glucose to be released from the liver and muscles.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Insulin Resistance

Get Email Updates

Insulin Resistance Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!