Insulin Most Popular

The Insulin test contains 1 test with 1 biomarker.

Brief Description: An Insulin test is a blood test that measures the insulin levels in the blood's serum. It is a measurement that is heavily used in patients with diabetes.

Also Known As: Fasting Insulin Test, Insulin Assay Test, Insulin Serum Test

Collection Method: Blood Draw

Specimen Type: Serum

Test Preparation: 9 Hours Fasting Required

When is an Insulin test ordered?

Insulin levels are most commonly ordered after a low glucose result or when someone has acute or chronic symptoms of hypoglycemia.  Hypoglycemia can cause the following symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Palpitations
  • Hunger
  • Brain fog
  • Hazy vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

Seizures and loss of consciousness are common in severe instances.

While low blood glucose can cause these symptoms, they can also be caused by other illnesses.

When a person has or is suspected of having insulin resistance, an insulin test may be performed. People with type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, prediabetes or cardiac disease, or metabolic syndrome may fall into this category.

After an insulinoma has been effectively removed, a health practitioner may arrange insulin and C-peptide testing to verify the effectiveness of treatment and subsequently order the tests on a regular basis to monitor for recurrence.

Periodic testing can also be performed to track the success of an islet cell transplant by determining the graft's insulin-producing capacity.

What does an Insulin blood test check for?

Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas' beta cells and stored there. It is necessary for the transfer and storage of glucose, the body's primary energy source. Insulin aids in the delivery of glucose from the bloodstream to cells, as well as the regulation of blood glucose levels and lipid metabolism. This test determines how much insulin is present in the blood.

The levels of insulin and glucose in the blood must be balanced. Carbohydrates are frequently broken down into glucose and other simple sugars after a meal. The blood glucose level rises, prompting the pancreas to produce insulin into the bloodstream. The amount of glucose in the blood reduces as it enters cells, and the amount of insulin released by the pancreas decreases.

If an individual is unable to produce enough insulin, or if the body's cells become resistant to its effects, glucose is unable to reach the majority of the body's cells, causing the cells to starve as blood glucose climbs to harmful levels. This can disrupt normal metabolic processes, leading to a variety of illnesses and difficulties, such as kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and eyesight and neurological issues.

Diabetes is a life-threatening illness characterized by excessive glucose levels and diminished insulin action. People with type 1 diabetes produce relatively little insulin, necessitating the use of insulin supplements. Insulin resistance is a common cause of type 2 diabetes, which worsens over time.

Insulin resistance occurs when the body is unable to respond to insulin's effects. The body makes up for this by manufacturing more of the hormone. Hyperinsulinemia and overstimulation of some insulin-sensitive tissues happen as a result of this. This process generates an imbalance in the connection between glucose and insulin over time, which, if left untreated, can lead to health problems affecting numerous regions of the body.

Insulin resistance can be present in people with polycystic ovary syndrome, prediabetes or cardiac disease, metabolic syndrome, and diseases of the pituitary or adrenal glands, in addition to type 2 diabetes.

Hyperinsulinemia is most commonly seen in persons with tumors of the pancreatic islet cells or an excess of injected insulin, aside from insulin resistance. Low blood sugar is caused by hyperinsulinemia, which can cause sweating, hunger, palpitations, confusion, dizziness, blurred vision, seizures, and fainting. Because the brain relies on blood glucose for energy, severe glucose deprivation caused by hyperinsulinemia can swiftly result in insulin shock and death.

Lab tests often ordered with an Insulin test:

  • Glucose
  • Hemoglobin A1c
  • C-Peptide
  • Comprehensive Metabolic Panel

Conditions where an Insulin test is recommended:

  • Diabetes
  • Insulin Resistance
  • PCOS
  • Metabolic Syndrome

Commonly Asked Questions:

How does my health care provider use an insulin test?

Insulin testing can be used for a variety of purposes. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas' beta cells and stored there. Insulin is a hormone that aids in the movement of glucose, the body's primary source of energy, from the bloodstream to the cells. Cells starve if a person produces too little insulin or is resistant to its effects. When someone produces too much insulin, such as when they have an insulin-producing tumor, symptoms of low blood glucose appear.

Insulin testing may be used to assist with the following:

  • Diagnose an insulinoma, confirm that the tumor was successfully removed, and/or keep an eye out for recurrence.
  • Determine the source of hypoglycemia in a person who has signs and symptoms.
  • Recognize insulin resistance.
  • In this instance, a C-peptide test may be used to monitor the quantity of insulin produced by the beta cells in the pancreas. As part of the conversion of proinsulin to insulin in the pancreas, the body produces both insulin and C-peptide at the same time. When a doctor wishes to know how much insulin is created by the body and how much comes from outside sources like insulin injections, both tests may be ordered. The C-peptide test indicates insulin produced by the pancreas, but the insulin test analyzes insulin from both sources.
  • Determine when a type 2 diabetic may need to supplement oral medications with insulin.

Insulin tests can be ordered in conjunction with glucose and C-peptide tests. In addition to the glucose tolerance test, insulin levels are sometimes employed. To assess insulin resistance, blood glucose and insulin levels are tested at pre-determined time intervals in this circumstance.

What do my Insulin test result mean?

Insulin levels must be reviewed in the context of other diagnostic tests and symptoms.

Insulin levels can be elevated with:

  • Acromegaly
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Use of medications such as corticosteroids, levodopa, and oral contraceptives
  • Intolerance to fructose or galactose
  • Insulinomas
  • Obesity
  • Insulin resistance, as seen in type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome

Insulin levels can be low with:

  • Diabetes 
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Chronic pancreatitis 
  • Pancreatic cancer

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Insulin (fasting)


Insulin is a hormone that is produced and stored in the beta cells of the pancreas. It is vital for the transportation and storage of glucose at the cellular level, helps regulate blood glucose levels, and has a role in lipid metabolism. When blood glucose levels rise after a meal, insulin is released to allow glucose to move into tissue cells, especially muscle and adipose (fat) cells, where is it is used for energy production. Insulin then prompts the liver to either store the remaining excess blood glucose as glycogen for short-term energy storage and/or to use it to produce fatty acids. The fatty acids are eventually used by adipose tissue to synthesize triglycerides to form the basis of a longer term, more concentrated form of energy storage. Without insulin, glucose cannot reach most of the body's cells. Without glucose, the cells starve and blood glucose levels rise to unhealthy levels. This can cause disturbances in normal metabolic processes that result in various disorders, including kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and vision and neurological problems. Thus, diabetes, a disorder associated with decreased insulin effects, is eventually a life-threatening condition.
*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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