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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are there biological differences between ethnic groups with Insulin?

    Is there any biological differences between ethnic groups taking insulin e.g. caucasion vs indigenous vs asian etc
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  • Lisa Renn

    Dietitian

    Lisa is an APD with 12 years experience, specialising in helping people identify and change habits that impact negatively on their health. Inspiring change, Lisa … View Profile

    Hi there,
    As you may be aware insulin is a hormone required to transport glucose in the body and is prescribed to people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to ensure adequate blood sugar control.

    One of the things that affects the effectiveness of insulin's action is insulin resisitance and this is often associated with extra abdominal fat/weight. So a person who is lean may require less insulin that another who is carrying weight on the stomach; as with all things diabetes there will be an exception to every generalistaion. In this way those with type 2 diabetes on insulin are often on much higher doses than those with type 1 diabetes.

    What we do know differs with ethnicity is the disease risk at a given BMI (Body Mass Index). A person of Asian decent will have a higher disease risk when compared to a Cuacasian of the same BMI. Those of Islander decent can be quite overweight and still have a low disease risk when compared to other ethnicity's.

    Given this it may be possible that insulin resistance is present at lower BMI's in Asian population and this in turn may affect insulin's action. I am not aware of any studies that have been done on this issue- but someone else might?

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