Are fat cells more sensitive to high doses of insulin?

Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
The answer to this question is a little complicated. On the one hand, fat cells respond more as insulin levels in the blood stream go up. The more insulin there is, whether it is made by the body or given as a medication, the more the fat cells will respond by storing energy. On the other hand, as body fat increases -- especially with increasing fat in the liver and other intra-abdominal organs -- fat cells become somewhat resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance means that more and more insulin is required to have the same action. In a person who is insulin resistant, the same amount of insulin will have a much lesser effect on fat cells than it would have in a person who is not insulin resistant.

The obvious question that arises in this setting is what makes fat cells insulin resistant in people with too much abdominal fat. Despite many years of research into this question, it is still not completely clear what causes insulin resistance, but it appears that the intra-abdominal fat cells themselves make a variety of hormones and other chemical signals that lessen the body’s responsiveness to insulin.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.