It's been so long since I've considered this - having been a Type 1 for 16 years - but I am curious:

What do you think is a "normal" amount of insulin for the body to produce in a day?  For example, if I'm taking 18 units of basal, and a variable of 15-20 or so units of Novolog in a day to cover meals - is my body imitating the non-diabetic?

Do non-diabetics have basal insulin, or do they simply release insulin dependent on their food/glucose intake?

I've been wondering about this since going relatively low-carb and mostly grain free - as I will never be insulin free but I have decreased my need for it.  I've been doing a
lot of reading about how an insulin surge response can be really
inflammatory for the body, and I wonder how it applies in my diabetic
circumstances.

Thoughts?


Tags: carb, free, grain, insulin, low, requirements

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I definitely don't know the numbers of what non-diabetics produce in terms of insulin (not even sure if that is measured), but they do produce basal insulin. That is why the whole basal/bolus regimen works, it's "thinking like a pancreas" - imitating what a normal pancreas does on its own: produces a low level of underlying insulin all the time, and then spurts for a bolus when it is required to cover food.
Thanks - that's what I thought.
Hi Sarah, i am also curious about it. As i´m a pump user, my daily amount is (in average) is 50 per day. Sometimes I need less, and sometimes I need more. When I´m in my period I need to take at least 20% more! My doctor said me once that we should consider taking 1 unit per kg a day, so I have 63 kgs and shouldnt get over 63 units a day...
About how does works the basal and bolus to a diabetic and a non-diabetic, I agree with Zoe...I think thats why the pump is so efficient, its because it imitates the pancreas.
I don't think that insulin dosage has too much relationship to weight, Fabiana. I weigh about the same as you and take about half the TDD you do. A type 2 might take double what you do. We are all different in our insulin needs based on things like insulin resistance/sensitivity and how much if any insulin we still produce. Weight might factor in there somewhere towards the bottom of the list.

I agree that the pump really imitates the pancreas the best, because those of us on MDI can only get approximate consistency from our long-acting insulin.
I don't know the answer, but I do know that I've tested hubby with his own machine (it was recommended that he test here and there since his has family history of it [two of three sisters have type 2]).

I know I've tested us both after eating or drinking the same thing and his numbers are normal where might will be either elevated or going low. I know where different so that the number wouldn't be the same but its still interesting to see how his body handles regular pop at times vs how it effects me - or how a good hour walk will drop me blasted low yet no sign of issues on his end (as it should be).
I remember some time ago I asked diabetics how much insulin they used. and par seemed to be about 0.5 unit per kg of body weight per day. I use a lot more because I am very insulin resistant about 1 unit per 3 grams of carb. There is no way that injecting insulin duplicates what the non diabetic body does. There the insulin goes into the blood stream and is released in an oscillatory manner. See wiki "insulin oscillations". Probably best to minimize the amount of insulin you use this is for sure true for insulin resistant diabetics if you are not it is unclear. I have no idea how you would measure insulin production in a non diabetic. I am not sure if insulin is inflammatory I would think high blood sugars are.
Hi Anthony!

Yeah, i am not sure about the " weight thing" but my doc told me that its better to maintain 1 unit per kg, because insulin is a hormone... About the pump, for me it worked preety well... the best choice ever!!! :)
What you mean about TDD??
All the best, Fabiana
I read somewhere that the pancreas produces in the neighborhood of 30 units a day. Never had the need to check the source or confirm.
I read in a book (Type 1 Diabetes for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults) that a non-diabetic produces about 1.0 units per kg of body weight per day, and someone with type 1 will take 0.5 - 1.0 units per kg of weight per day. It said if someone takes under 0.5 units per kg per day they are likely producing insulin internally. Of course, this depends somewhat on insulin sensitivity, since an athlete who is highly insulin sensitive may take below 0.5 and be producing no insulin while a type 2 who is insulin resistant may take over 1.0 yet be producing plenty of their own insulin.

But then I read somewhere else that the insulin the pancreas produces is 25 times more powerful than the stuff we take externally. No idea whether that is true or not. I don't know how comparable the two really are.

I am actually really interested in how a non-diabetic versus type 1 (children versus adult diagnosis) versus type 2 produce insulin. I don't think this information is useful on a daily basis but it's really interesting!
Natural insulin produced is variable according to conditions ( food/stress/hormones/illness) so perhaps there isn't a certain average amount .

Naturally produced insulin also contains other constituents, like C-peptide, that injected insulin doesn't have. It's comparing apples & oranges regarding amounts.

There's Phase I & Phase 2 insulin response also. Yep, non-diabetics have basal insulin circulating.

This is an interesting question. One that I think is worth revisiting. It is easy to forget that the pancreas is attached to liver, which absorbs about half of its release. (not sure to what effect). Not to mention, the non-D stomach empties slower, and as mentioned, human insulin is extremely potent. The amount of insulin in their blood must be negligible.

Jen had the right book (Type 1 Diabetes by Hanas) but mis-remembered the figures. According to the book (and cited to the science papers if you want to look them up) a non-insulin-resistant non-diabetic produces about .5 unit of insulin per killogram of body weight (or .23 unit/lb).

The amount of insulin a non-insulin-resistant type 1 diabetic requires depends on time since diagnosis and age. And it also certainly does depend on weight, just as that of a non-diabetic does. According to the book the average for an early onset T1 by the time they are adults is .7 to .8 units per kilogram. But of course this amount will tend to be less if someone is a LADA or in honeymoon or getting lots of exercise or eating a very low carb diet or experiencing poor control with lots of highs. Just as it will tend to be higher in someone who has insulin resistance or little exercise or eating a very high carb diet. And as always, YDMV (your diabetes may vary), but this is a good starting point.

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