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You cannot swallow Insulin!

You cannot swallow Insulin in the sense that it will help you as a medicine! I mean you can swallow it, and it won’t hurt you. But it won’t do the job it’s supposed to do. It is supposed to lower sugar levels in the blood and control diabetes.

I am writing this because I have recently overheard an astonishing conversation about diabetic medicines. It was like a little competition about who is taking which pills and how many and who has to inject insulin instead of – taking it as a pill. No! No! No! Insulin is a protein, and if you swallow a protein it will be digested, means cut in pieces. Insulin cut in pieces cannot do its job.

Human Insulin is a protein!

The pills do not contain insulin. The pills have different functions like slowing down the digestion, motivating the body to produce more insulin and keeping the liver from sending out more sugar into the body. All of this helps the body to keep up with the amounts of sugar and carbs that are eaten.

pills in bread

Insulin can be prepared to work in different ways like fast and short, or slow and long, or medium fast and medium long. There is a link to a nice table showing the different types of insulin and how they work. Since different bodies simply react differently, and every life-style is unique, there is no better or worse, and there should definitely be no competition.

Will be digested, …

human insulinpicture courtesy of

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Hi I'm Ilka, a self-development writer and lovable scientist with a knowledgeable expertise in brain science. I help people realize the power our behavior has on our brain - and the other way around.

markbialczak - November 26, 2013

Next thing you know, you will overhear them talking about injecting their aspirin. My doctor educates me when he gives me my prescriptions. These folks either need a new doctor or they should pay more attention. Thanks.

Denise - November 26, 2013

Good post, very educational. It’s good to know what the pills *do* do in case I hear anyone talking about swallowing insulin! I’d never seen it explained so clearly before.

Erratica101 - November 27, 2013

very educational 🙂

Dalo 2013 - November 30, 2013

Educational post…I didn’t know there were pills that worked this way ~ although did know you cannot take insulin orally :-). Thanks!

barbarafranken - December 2, 2013

Thankyou for this post… Barbara

Rachel - December 11, 2013

This is interesting, thanks. I always wondered why insulin had to be injected. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my first child but not my second. It was managed with diet alone so fortunately I didn’t have to inject myself. I was very militant with my diet though because I really didn’t want to inject myself 🙂 I don’t have it anymore but doctors have told me that I have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes so I’m still careful with my diet – I never drink orange juice for instance and try to avoid high GI foods.

    simplyilka - December 15, 2013

    I am glad I could clarify. It is fabulous that you are taking care of yourself with a good diet. I am sure your body will thank you for not stressing it out 🙂

yuktakher - February 20, 2014

Great post. I happen to be a great biology lover, and it really proved to be quite interesting for me.

    simplyilka - February 21, 2014

    I am glad you liked it. Biology lovers are more than welcome! I am always happy if people learn something new from the posts and find it interesting 🙂

The (need to know) story of the inhalable insulin Afreeza! simplyilka - January 30, 2015

[…] cannot be swallowed because it is a protein and will be digested. I wrote about it in my post You cannot swallow insulin – where I also explained how all the different pills for diabetics work (read more if […]

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