Insulin – the Minister of Energy and Metabolism


Majid Ali, M.D.

I designate insulin to be the Minister of Energy and Metabolism to the Oxygen king of the human body. By its signals, it regulates the energy of all cells in the body. Of necessity, this means that insulin has a role to play in the health preservation of all such cells.

Insulin is a hormone produced in specialized cells of the pancreas gland called beta cells. It is a string made up of 51 amino acid molecules and has a molecular weight of 5808 Daltons. Insulin performs diverse metabolic and non-metabolic functions in the body. As for metabolism, its major functions include the transfer of glucose from the blood into the liver and muscle cells for storage and into the fatty tissues to stop the use of fat as fuel. Among the major non-metabolic functions are its roles in cellular development, differentiation, and death. In the circulatory system, it is involved in the regulation of blood flow. Insulin is a molecular Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde par excellence. It is energizing under one set of conditions and de-energizing under another. At normal low (healthy) levels, it is a Dr. Jeykll while at abnormal high (unhealthy) levels it is a Mr. Hyde. The crucial fact is that the Jeykll/Hyde roles of insulin are determined by the prevailing oxygen conditions in the body.

 

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