Most people are not as conversant with their insulin levels the way they do with glucose levels. The insulin level circulating in your blood points to your overall health and may be able to envisage your risk of sudden death. This is why it’s vital to check your insulin levels. However, you need to know the insulin levels that are considered normal, so as to know when it has increased or fallen too low.
Normal insulin levels
Normally, insulin levels are measured in micro units per milliliter (mcU/ml or mIU/ml). However, experts often disagree on what should be the “ideal” levels of glucose.
The levels should be about 10-20 mcU/ml, according to Health Central. However, Stephen Guyenet, a researcher from University of Washington, said the average blood insulin levels in the American population are 8.4 mIU/ml for women and 8.6 mIU/ml for men, but given the prevalence of obesity and metabolic disorders in the US, the ideal level is probably between 2-6 mcU/ml.
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Insulin levels are often assessed after fast for some time. A study found that women who had a fasting insulin level of 8 mcU/ml were more than twice as likely to develop prediabetes as those with 5 mcU/ml insulin levels. Though the amount of insulin in the bloodstream will oscillate in accordance with the levels of glucose.
Benefits of Insulin in the Body
The first function of insulin is to control sugar levels in the blood, maintaining them within the normal range. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars, which the body absorbs as glucose. Rise in blood sugar cause the pancreas to secrete insulin which promotes the process of introducing blood glucose into the body cells to be used as the main source of energy for the cells.
Also, insulin helps to store any excess blood glucose as an energy supply for future use. Glucose levels and insulin levels will usually increase after you’ve eaten a meal. Insulin helps turn glucose into glycogen that’s stowed in the liver. Glycogen is converted back to glucose and released back into the bloodstream when the glucose levels drops, thereby controlling the blood glucose levels.
Side Effects of Low Insulin Levels
The blood sugar level can upsurge if there are low amounts of insulin secreted into the blood (diabetes type I) or the body cells become insensitive to insulin (type II diabetes). Patients may develop nerve damage, kidney disease, or loss of vision, if the condition isn’t properly managed.
Side Effects of Excessive Insulin
The side effects of excessive blood insulin include:
- Low levels of the mineral magnesium in your body cells. Magnesium is needed to relax your blood vessels and help promote good blood circulation.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome, Fatty liver, and increased blood pressure can also happen Increased hunger, together with cravings for sugar and carb-rich food. In turn, you will gain weight.
- Increased retention of sodium which can lead to hypertension
- Lowered levels of beneficial high density lipoprotein (HDL), and increased levels of harmful low density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides. All these factors contribute to the development of heart disease.
- Increased quantities of inflammatory compounds in the bloodstream.
- A possible higher risk of cancer. This is because insulin promotes cell spread.
How to Lower Insulin Levels
High levels of insulin can be remedied with insulin injection. However, very high insulin level may be difficult to deal with even with injections. Here are tips on how to lower insulin level:
You have to change your diet to lower your levels of insulin. Quit alcohol and foods containing trans-fat or refined sugar. Consume more dark green vegetables and whole-grain foods rich in fiber. Patients who followed these guidelines had decreased fasting insulin levels.
READ ALSO: Can Fenugreek Help With Diabetes?
- Lower Your Glycemic Index
To lower your glycemix index (Glycemic index or GI, measures the effect of a particular food on blood glucose levels), engage in regular exercise. Workouts can boost insulin-mediated uptake of glucose into muscle tissue, and therefore reduce the body’s need for insulin. Exercise combined with a low glycemic index (GI) diet can reduce the body’s insulin requirements.
- Take Some Medication
Doctors normally prescribe metformin combined with a healthy diet and exercise to prevent the progression of prediabetes to diabetes in susceptible patients, especially those who are obese.
See the table below for more information:
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