The human body is incredible in all that it does without us even having to think about it or tell it what to do. Take a moment to process that. Think about how we breathe. We don’t have to stop every few seconds to remind ourselves to do it, we just do!
As a type 1 diabetic, for most of my life I have thought I have a lifeless organ floating in my body, but little did I know my pancreas has been doing lots of work behind the scenes that I knew nothing about, until now. Even with insulin lacking, our pancreas is a vital organ to our health and plays a very important role in nutrition.
The pancreas lies in the centre of the digestion system and is strictly an organ of secretion. The pancreas has two functional components – the endocrine function and exocrine function. For someone who has type 1 diabetes, the endocrine function of the pancreas is lacking. This is where hormones, such as insulin and glucagon, are released into the blood stream, and these hormones in turn help to control blood sugar levels. With the exocrine function, the pancreas produces 3 different kinds of enzymes to help with the digestion of food. These enzymes are secreted in a timely fashion depending on what has been eaten – carbohydrates, protein and fats. Enzymes are extremely important when it comes to digestion and absorption and are vital to our health in order to get our body the nutrients it needs from the food we eat.
The next time you’re feeling crappy and want to speak of your pancreas in a negative way, why not focus on the positive instead and what it is doing for you and remember there is more work being done here than you think! Be kind to your pancreas. It’s doing the best it can!