Is Intranasal Insulin Safe?
The Safety of Intranasal Insulin
The first question I always ask before trying a nootropic for the first time is, “What the hell am I doing!?!”
Once I slap myself across the face a few times, splash some cold dihydrogen monoxide on my face, and pull myself together, the second question I ask is this: “Is this nootropic safe?”
Most people freak out when I first tell them that I spray insulin up my nose (Luddites). =)
But still, I totally get it.
The reason they freak out is simple…they think they know how insulin works.
And the truth is, they probably do!
However, just because they know how insulin works it doesn’t mean they know how INTRANASAL insulin works.
There’s a big difference.
The Question of the Day
I’ve already talked about the amazing benefits of intranasal insulin and how it enhances mood, memory, and brain energy levels in my post The Benefits of Intranasal Insulin.
I’ll talk more about how and why it works so well in future posts but for now I want to answer one simple question: Is intranasal insulin safe?
Well, we can theorize until the cows come home, move back into their old bedrooms, bum money off of us, and collect unemployment well into their late thirties (those bastards).
However, the real arbiter of truth is experiment.
So, what do the experiments say?
Let’s take a look.
What say you, Scientists?
“No treatment-related severe adverse events occurred during the study, and most adverse events were minor, such as dizziness or mild rhinitis. There were no episodes of hypoglycemia.” R
“This effect was independent of odor type and in the absence of systemic side effects (eg, fasting plasma glucose levels remained unaltered).” R
“Intranasal insulin administration appears safe, does not affect systemic glucose control, and may provide acute improvements of cognitive function in patients with type 2 DM…” R
“Intranasal insulin was well tolerated; no subject exhibited hypoglycemia or other safety concerns.” R
“This pilot study demonstrates both efficacy and safety of using intranasal insulin to treat early Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment.” R
“Short-term use of intranasal insulin without absorption enhancers was predominantly well tolerated, the risk of hypoglycaemia was minimal and no objective nasal adverse effects were detected.” R
“Plasma insulin and glucose levels were unaffected by treatment.” R
I could go on but I think you get the idea. =)
The End is the Beginning is the End
There you have it, my friends.
The side effects have been minor stuffiness, a nose bleed here and there, and a bit of dizziness in a handful of patients.
As far as pharmeceuticals go, it appears pretty safe.
Let’s end with my favorite study, shall we? (abstract below)
It concludes thus: “Results indicate a direct action of prolonged intranasal administration of insulin on brain functions, improving memory and mood in the absence of systemic side effects.” R
Until next time.
Note: If you try i-insluin please come back, comment, and let me know how it goes!
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2004 Nov;29(10):1326-34.
Intranasal insulin improves memory in humans.
Benedict C1, Hallschmid M, Hatke A, Schultes B, Fehm HL, Born J, Kern W.
Previous studies have suggested an acutely improving effect of insulin on memory function. To study changes in memory associated with a prolonged increase in brain insulin activity in humans, here we used the intranasal route of insulin administration known to provide direct access of the substance to the cerebrospinal fluid compartment. Based on previous results indicating a prevalence of insulin receptors in limbic and hippocampal regions as well as improvements in memory with systemic insulin administration, we expected that intranasal administration of insulin improves primarily hippocampus dependent declaration memory function. Also, improvements in mood were expected. We investigated the effects of 8 weeks of intranasal administration of insulin (human regular insulin 4 x 40 IU/d) on declarative memory (immediate and delayed recall of word lists), attention (Stroop test), and mood in 38 healthy subjects (24 males) in a double blind, between-subject comparison. Blood glucose and plasma insulin levels did not differ between the placebo and insulin conditions. Delayed recall of words significantly improved after 8 weeks of intranasal insulin administration (words recalled, Placebo 2.92 +/- 1.00, Insulin 6.20 +/- 1.03, p < 0.05). Moreover, subjects after insulin reported signs of enhanced mood, such as reduced anger (p < 0.02) and enhanced self-confidence (p < 0.03). Results indicate a direct action of prolonged intranasal administration of insulin on brain functions, improving memory and mood in the absence of systemic side effects. These findings could be of relevance for the treatment of patients with memory disorders like in Alzheimer's disease.
Note: I’ve collected every human study here.
Note 2: I explain how to make it legally over the counter without a prescription here.