Normal aging can often affect how easily people absorb glucose (the body’s fuel) into the cells. Cells all have a mechanism for keeping certain things out and allowing others in. Insulin is a chemical that unlocks cells to allow glucose to pass across cell walls, so the body can utilize that energy. If the body becomes less sensitive to insulin, so that it does not unlock the cells, glucose can build up in the blood. Many health issues are related to the build-up of glucose (sugars) in the blood.
Blood sugar and diet
Diets high in fats and sugars weaken the body’s ability to regulate glucose levels. Over time, poor diet can make the body resistant to insulin and it can refuse to respond to insulin signals. Poor diet can also reduce the ability to produce insulin, which may result in blood sugar imbalance.
When the body can’t maintain normal blood sugar levels, insulin resistance increases. This causes the body to generate even more insulin in order to get the glucose inside the cells where is can be used as fuel. However, an insulin increase is often interpreted as a threat and the body becomes even more resistant.
While sensitivity to insulin is important, normal blood sugar levels also require healthy production of insulin in the first place. The pancreas, the organ that produces insulin, requires the participation of beta cells for normal function.