Ways to make your insulin work faster

According to this article: http://diatribe.org/issues/39/thinking-like-a-pancreas

massaging the area of injection will accelerate absorption of insulin.

Is it ok to inject arms, legs, thighs…etc and massage to accelerate absorption of insulin on a regular basis?

I’m asking because I am not aiming for the muscles and using long needles for an IM shot. I’m looking for faster insulin reaction and am wondering if avoiding the fatty abdomen may be the way to go. I’d like to use my pen and inject in non abdomen areas.

Has anyone had experience?
Thanks in advance

Anything that increases blood flow will increase absorption rates j imagine… Exercise, heat, (hot shower) rubbing, whatever…

I always do my needle corrections for very high BG on my skinny arms, they are more active with better circulation, absorption seems to be faster. YMMV …using a 8mm needle 3/10 BD U100 syringe, insert 90°.

I want to know if anyone injects in skinny areas (like JohnG) and massage for bolus as a habit; not for corrections. It would seem to me that I’d like my insulin to start working earlier, rather than later.

The instructions for injecting in fatty parts seem to be setting us up for failure because the insulin could take a long time to start working, 20 , 40,minutes or more.

when I was on MDI I used my arms for many years, earlier in my Bete’s career I had a lot of damage and scaring on my abdomen from the old regular insulin’s… I pump now but anytime I use a needle
I just use my arm…the needles are so short there is little chance I will inject it to deep.

Thanks @JohnG.

I’m clueless… what is meant by "Bete’s career?

Sorry…Bete’s = Diabetes

oh wow… I AM clueless. :wink: thank you for clarifying.

have you tried splitting a dose into several injections (all done at once, but not exactly in the same spot) to avoid what some have claimed is the “pooling” effect?


“have you tried splitting a dose into several injections (all done at once, but not exactly in the same spot) to avoid what some have claimed is the “pooling” effect?”

Please explain what is the “pooling” effect. I’m afraid that I don’t know what it is. Furthermore, for most meals, I inject between 1.5 u to about 2 units. More than 3 units would be unusual. Therefore, I’m unsure how I would go about splitting the dose.

I mentioned to my doctor if it would make more sense to dilute my insulin…his response was “don’t go there”. It’s easier to measure out for example 5 units on a syringe than 0.5.

I agree with your doc. If you need finer control over small doses, use a pump. If you are doing small doses, then pooling isn’t an issue (you can Google the effect)

I was taught that the higher up on the abdomen, the faster the absorption rate - they said it was because it was closer to the heart, but that sounds a little makey-uppy to me.

I would imagine that arms and legs would also work faster even if not into muscle because you can move them and get the circulation moving more easily? (Maybe we should all take up belly dancing?)

I go with the movement option - i walk or tidy my desk, do sit-ups, or something to make insulin work faster. I also try to give the insulin time to start working before i eat - i get the ingredients out, bolus, then cook/ prepare, so by the time i’m sitting down, it’s all working at the same time.

I have to admit that the idea of IM shots gives me the heebies… and i have no idea why!

That “rubbing” business is kind of a vexed issue. I was told NOT to do it back when I was on injections–something to do with it causing the molecules to clump up or something. Just googled on it and I found about a 50/50 split of equally authoritative sources either recommending it as a totally routine thing or condemning it as a hellish abomination, so take your pick.

I do know that one major difference between pump and injection is that pump algorithms* are designed to deliver any bolus in small increments spread out in time rather than squirting it all in at once. This is specifically to prevent having a big bubble of insulin sitting there under the skin, which frequently happens with a pen or syringe bolus. I don’t have my MM manual handy, but IIRC it’s something to do with the “bubble” preventing all the dose from being absorbed properly. So there seems to be some reason to try to get it to dissipate more quickly. I did see one site that said “No don’t rub!” but did recommend massaging it away in a steady, non-vigorous way. Maybe it’s all down to the definition of what “rub” means (“Aye, there’s the rub.”)

*On edit: “SOME pump algorithms” :slight_smile:

Non MM-pumps don’t all deliver boluses slowly. Unless Animas has changed their delivery method, they pump in boluses very quickly. Has Animas updated their delivery method? Years ago, their fast method turned me off so I never bought one of theirs. Someone please chime in to let me know yea or nay on the current delivery speed of non-MM pumps. thanks.

1 Like

My Accu-Chek Spirit Combo pump delivers the bolus a fast as the little motor will allow, essentially in one swell foop!

@phoenixbound, @YogaO – Interesting. I remember the MM trainer making a big deal of this feature when I got my 1st pump but I wasn’t sure how universal it was. My (late lamented) Assante Snap pump also stretched the timing out.

I was reading reviews of the Animas this past spring when I was considering what to do after the demise of Assante and one of the complaints was that some people found that fast delivery startling and uncomfortable or worse. One of the things that turned me off as well.

1 Like

I use a Ping, and it has a “normal” and “slow” option for bolus delivery. The “normal” setting delivers a bolus in one go (which I actually like), and the “slow” option pauses for a few seconds between each unit delivered. I’ve just changed mine to “slow” as I’m curious if that will help insulin absorption…

FWIW, I have never found the speed of bolus delivery to be much of a problem. These days, with my insulin needs decreased, it’s even less of a consideration for me. I could always deliver a large bolus using an extended bolus, if needed.

Of course, if a PWD needs a more significant amount for a bolus and/or have a large TDD, I can see the logic of delaying the delivery some.

That’s actually a nice feature. I’d probably opt for the “slow” one but clearly others have their own preferences. I’m in favor of anything that gives us more control over the fine points of these devices.

[quote]That’s actually a nice feature. I’d probably opt for the “slow” one but
clearly others have their own preferences. I’m in favor of anything that
gives us more control over the fine points of thes[/quote]

I used to use the Cozmo, which took 30 seconds to deliver the bolus regardless of its size. Even 0.5 units would take 30 seconds to fully deliver. This drove me crazy when I disconnected from my pump and had to reconnect temporarily to replace the basal that I’d missed. So when I got the Animas, I loved that it could deliver a 10 unit bolus in about 10 seconds! But maybe the slow setting will result in better postprandial blood glucose, which would be great. I never thought that the speed of a bolus could affect its effectiveness.