How to speed up your insulin absorption

Anyone ever tried a hair dryer heat to speed up insulin absorption?
I know exercises do but I am sick of exercising all the time.

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Massage, heat, exercise, or movement of the injection site will help speed it up.

Intramuscular injection is also faster.



I have heard that a hot shower will speed up absorption as well.


I believe the size of the bolus also impacts absorption. Smaller boluses have more surface area than a single larger bolus.

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A long hot shower almost always drops me roughly 30-40 points. If it’s a short shower, and not overly hot, I don’t notice a difference between pre and post shower numbers. Having IOB makes a difference to the results, of course.


True. That’s why Bernstein recommends splitting large boluses into smaller ones.

Also as mentioned above, IMs are faster.

IM + a short run make a huge difference. We just started experimenting with it.

Sorry I have only heard that injections into large muscle area you might be using would help the speed of absorption. I always as a teenager would use my right arm if sugars were higher than I wanted, as I played badminton and used that arm for hours of practice. Or if running would use my legs.
I have also heard hot showers could help but never really tested it. Could be an interesting test.

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If you want to see if a hot, long shower lowers your bg, I suggest making sure to spend a fair amount of time with the hot water flowing over your insertion site (or injection site, if not on a pump). Bear in mind that I suspect (just a guess) that the results between pumping and MDI are going to different because pumps only use short acting insulin, which should drop bg’s faster than if you have no IOB on injections, and therefore don’t expect the hot water to make your long acting insulin drop your bg’s from the application of hot water as much as it would from fast-acting insulin always in your subq if on a pump (even if you have no IOB–you still have basal insulin in your tissues) Make sense? If not, i can expand on the topic.

Agreed, but if you’re in a hurry you’re most likely to be using fast acting insulin anyway.

Can you please explain this a bit more? Are you saying small boluses are quicker?

Smaller boluses will be absorbed more uniformly. Let’s say I need a large bolus. As it gets larger it absorbs more erratically so you might not get a consistent effect. If the same amount is split into smaller boluses they have more spherical surface area under your skin so they will absorb more uniformly. This aspect is seen more often in insulin resistant folks who need larger doses and at some point they still can’t get good control. Moving to a concentrated insulin = smaller boluses and more reliable results. Faster overall? Could be by having more surface volume. I have not seen speed versus bolus size specifically addressed. Hope this makes sense!

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thanks for explaining that. But with smaller boluses, you are essentially injecting into the same area over and over again so will is not have a negative effect and wear off sensitivity quicker?

You don’t have to inject in the same site.

No but with the pump you are likely going to be. The cannula is already fixed in the spot, its not like you are going to put multiple cannulas in at the same time to serve this purpose? But I take your point a smaller bolus can be more effective.

I use an OmniPod. Right now it is for basal only. I bolus via needle and syringe. I split it up if the bolus goes over 5 units.

If you use your pump for bolusing, try this … bolus no more than 5 units from the pump (Dr. Bernstein recommends no more than 7 units at a time) and the balance from a needle and syringe, on the opposite side of your body from where the pump is.

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@tedos As @Tapestry mentioned, Many pump users take mealtime bolus’es using a syringe to avoid pump site over-saturation.

I never inject much more than 5 units in any one spot, and with the syringe injections I can use tissue that I can’t normally reach with pump sites.


All very interesting. I’m 38 years in the club and pumping for 6. I bolus up to 16 units at some meals and may now consider splitting and perhaps using syringe for some of it. My question is; How can I tell my pump to add the syringe bolus to have an accurate “Insulin on board” for future calculations? I’m in Canada and still using an Animas vibe. My insurance in minimal for pump therapy and nil for CGM so still using Dexcom G4 so could use some sensors if anyone has any they’re not using and had them paid for by insurance or Medicare.
Thanks Don

The only way I know of (Medtronic pump) is to disconnect infusion set, and bolus that amount while not connected (wasted insulin). My guess is Animas would be similar.

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