Amylin is a recently discovered 37 amino acid peptide secreted into the bloodstream, along with insulin, from pancreatic beta-cells. It is about 50% identical to calcitonin gene-related peptides (CGRP alpha and CGRP beta) and structurally related to the calcitonins. Amylin can elicit the vasodilator effects of CGRP and the hypocalcaemic actions of calcitonin, while these peptides can mimic newly discovered actions of amylin on carbohydrate metabolism. The different relative potencies of these peptides suggest that they act with different selectivities at a family of receptors. Amylin is deficient in insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, while plasma levels are elevated in insulin-resistant conditions such as obesity and impaired glucose tolerance. In this Viewpoint article, Tim Rink and colleagues propose that amylin is an endocrine partner to insulin and glucagon; deficiency or excess of amylin may therefore contribute to important metabolic diseases.