Death from diabetes is common especially before the discovery of insulin by Charles Best and Frederick Banting in the early 1900. Insulin is a hormone produced naturally by our bodies. The main role of insulin in the human body is to convert glucose into a form that can be absorbed as energy by the human cells. Without it, we will die. Insulin is made of beta cells that sense sugar in our blood and release insulin to maintain normal sugar levels within our bodies.



There are many types of insulin available and your doctor will prescribe the ideal insulin for you based on your blood sugar levels, previous experience with insulin, and lifestyle. 

Insulin complications

Similar to other drugs, insulin may have complications and side effects. Doctors understand this and it is why you should provide all your medical history including any existing use of supplements, preexisting conditions like asthma, daily medications, and allergies if any. Your doctor will, therefore, be able to diagnose the right type of insulin for you.

Understanding insulin

Your body’s glucose level keeps changing as a response to the foods you eat, the stress levels you have and the energy you expend in a day. Because of such factors, insulin has been developed to cater to specific needs of people living with diabetes. The current state of insulin is mostly recombinant DNA Human (rDNA) and can mimic the functions of the pancreas. 

A healthy pancreas will release small amounts of basal insulin 24 hours a day and produce bolus insulin in response to the food you eat. Insulin can be given in liquid form or as insulin pills

Commonly used terms to describe the functions of insulin

  • Onset: The time it takes for insulin to get into your bloodstream and start lowering your glucose levels.
  • Peak: Defines the period when the insulin is at its maximum effect reducing sugar levels 
  • Duration: the length of time insulin takes to lower your blood sugar. 

Here are the types of insulin available


  • Rapid-acting


This will start to make effects on the blood glucose in your blood, 15 minutes after injecting it. It may take about an hour to hit peak levels but will still be responsive after a couple of hours. You should always have a good meal before taking rapid-acting insulin.


  • Short-acting


Takes about 30 minutes to get to your bloodstream and will hit peak levels after 2-3 hours and still be effective after 5-6 hours.


  • Long-acting


This will enter your bloodstream after 1-2 hours after the injection and may be effective for 24 hours. The advantage of the long-acting insulin is that there is no defined peak moment and insulin is discharged like an ordinary pancreatic basal insulin secretion. 


  • Combined/premixed insulin


Premixed insulin is a combination of two or more insulin products. This was developed to make users avoid drawing insulin from different bottles when fixing a dose. However, it is important to note that you should combine insulin medication only if your doctor prescribes it.

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