HOMA-IR & HOMA-BETA: Normal Levels & What Results Mean

The Homa Index is a blood test results that to assess insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and pancreas functioning (HOMA-BETA). It is beneficial for determining a diabetes diagnosis.

The word Homa is short for Homeostasis Assessment Model. Generally, when results are above normal levels, it means that the patient is at a higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, for example.

The HOMA-IR or HOMA-BETA test is done after fasting, as instructed by the ordering physician or laboratory. It is done by collecting a small blood sample that is sent to the laboratory for analysis. It takes into account the fasting glucose level as well as the amount of insulin produced by the body.

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Normal levels

The normal levels of the Homa Index for adults may vary according to the patient's BMI, however, the normal values are generally:

  • HOMA-IR: less than 2.5
  • HOMA-BETA: between 167 and 175

Normal levels may also vary from lab to lab to the laboratory in which the test was carried out, and may also vary in the case of children and adolescents with very high BMI.

How to calculate

​The Homa Index is determined through mathematical formulas that use glucose levels in the blood and the amount of insulin produced by the body.

  • Formula to assess insulin resistance - Homa-IR: [(Glycemia (mg/dL) x 0.0555) x Insulin (ui/ml)] ÷ 22.5

What results mean

The doctor can determine how the pancreas is functioning and identify the risk for diabetes or worsening diabetes depending on the results: 

High HOMA-IR or HOMA-BETA levels

High HOMA-IR or HOMA-BETA levels can be a sign of:

  • Insulin resistance
  • Malfunctioning pancreatic cells
  • Increased risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Increased risk for metabolic syndrome
  • Decompensated diabetes
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

Normally, in these situations, the patient may also be at risk for abnormal cholesterol levels and fat build-up on the blood vessels. These findings can also increase the risk for a heart attack and stroke. Therefore, it is important for the doctor who ordered the test to evaluate your HOMA-IR and HOMA-BETA levels.

Low HOMA-IR or HOMA-BETA levels

Low HOMA-IR or HOMA-BETA levels can be also be a sign of malfunctioning pancreas cells, which can lead to low insulin production and therefore high glucose levels.