Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the blood sugar or glucose level in the blood is too high. Blood glucose is the primary source of energy to the cells of the body. It comes mainly from the food we eat. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. This hormone helps glucose from the food to get into the cells of the body to be used for energy. When our body fails to make sufficient amount of insulin, blood glucose level increases, causing diabetes. Therefore, insulin and blood sugar are two important factors to control diabetes in patients.
What is Insulin?
Insulin is a peptide hormone formed by the beta cells of pancreatic islets. It is the main anabolic hormone of the body. Insulin regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats by promoting the absorption of glucose into the liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells from the blood. In these types of cells, the absorbed glucose is converted to glycogen via glycogenesis or to fats via lipogenesis. Normally, high concentrations of insulin in the blood inhibit glucose production and secretion by the liver. The circulating insulin affects the synthesis of proteins in a wide variety of tissues. Hence, it is usually an anabolic enzyme.
Beta cells of the pancreas are very sensitive to blood sugar levels. These cells secrete insulin into the blood in response to the high level of blood sugar (glucose). In contrast, they inhibit the secretion of insulin when the blood sugar level is low. Moreover, human insulin is composed of 51 amino acids and a heterodimer. It contains an A-chain and a B-chain bound together by disulphide bonds. The molecular mass of insulin is 5808 Da. Insulin was the first peptide hormone discovered and isolated from the pancreas of a dog in 1921 by Frederick Banting and Charles Herbert Best.
What is Blood Sugar?
Blood sugar is the glucose found in the blood. It is the main sugar in the blood. The body gets glucose from the food people eat. This sugar is an important energy source that provides nutrients to organs, muscles, and the nervous system of the body. The small intestine, liver, and pancreas of the human body constantly regulate the absorption, storage and production of glucose.
When glucose enters the bloodstream, the pancreas produces insulin that sends excess glucose in the liver as glycogen. For many people, 80 to 99 milligrams of sugar per decilitre before a meal and 80 to 140 milligrams of sugar per decilitre after a meal are normal. However, in diabetes, the body lacks insulin; hence, it increases blood sugar levels dangerously.
What are the Similarities Between Insulin and Blood Sugar?
- Insulin and blood sugar are two important factors to control diabetes in patients.
- Both work together to provide nutrients to organs, muscles and the nervous system of the body.
- They are biological macromolecules.
- They can be identified in the blood through specific tests.
What is the Difference Between Insulin and Blood Sugar?
Insulin is a peptide hormone secreted by the beta cells of pancreatic islets, while blood sugar is the glucose found in the blood. So, this is the key difference between insulin and blood sugar. Furthermore, insulin is a protein, while blood sugar is a carbohydrate.
The below infographic lists the differences between insulin and blood sugar in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Insulin vs Blood Sugar
Insulin and blood sugar are two important factors to control diabetes in patients. Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by the beta cells of pancreatic islets, while blood sugar is the glucose found in the blood. Insulin is a protein, whereas blood sugar is a carbohydrate. Thus, this is the difference between insulin and blood sugar.
1. Higuera, Valencia. “About Insulin: What It Is, How It Works, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 7 May 2019.
2. “Blood Sugar | Blood Glucose | Diabetes.” MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 27 Aug. 2021.