Emergency Preparedness for Diabetics

I am looking for a group of like minded people to research and talk about how we as diabetics can learn to extract insulin from pigs or horses if push comes to shove. If we get in a situation where there is an economic collapse I don’t know about the rest of you, but I want to be prepared for long term…

Are you for real? Have you been watching 'The Dome" tv show? See the discussion about a recent episode. "Surely you jest"

God bless,

I’m very serious. And no I don’t know what that tv show is?

You might look on some Mormon/survivalist websites and see what they are doing. If you find anything please pass it on. Personally, I don't see it as very realistic.

Your best solution would be to store insulin I have enough for 1500 days, the challenge of keeping it cool is much easier than making pork or beef insulin. It takes about a ton of pork or beef pancreas to make a few ounces of insulin, it will be hard to store and preserve. You will be lucky if you do not kill yourself with the first batch.

Start now, practice = perfect...;-)

The beef or pork pancreas is finely minced in a large grinder and the minced material is then treated with 5 c.c. of concentrated sulphuric acid, appropriately diluted, per pound of glands. The mixture is stirred for a period of three or four hours and 95% alcohol is added until the concentration of alcohol is 60% to 70%. Two extractions of the glands are made. The solid material is then partially removed by centrifuging the mixture and the solution is further clarified by filtering through paper. The filtrate is practically neutralized with NaOH. The clear filtrate is concentrated in vacuo to about 1/15 of its original volume. The concentrate is then heated to 50oC which results in the separation of lipoid and other materials, which are removed by filtration. Ammonium sulphate (37 grams. per 100 c.c.) is then added to the concentrate and a protein material containing all the Insulin floats to the top of the liquid. The precipitate is skimmed off and dissolved in hot acid alcohol. When the precipitate has completely dissolved, 10 volumes of warm alcohol are added. The solution is then neutralized with NaOH and cooled to room temperature, and kept in a refrigerator at 5oC for two days. At the end of this time the dark coloured supernatant alcohol is decanted off. The alcohol contains practically no potency. The precipitate is dried in vacuo to remove all trace of the alcohol. It is then dissolved in acid water, in which it is readily soluble. The solution is made alkaline with NaOH to PH 7.3 to 7.5. At this alkalinity a dark coloured precipitate settles out, and is immediately centrifuged off. This precipitate is washed once or twice with alkaline water of PH 9.0 and the washings are added to the main liquid. It is important that this process be carried out fairly quickly as Insulin is destroyed in alkaline solution. The acidity is adjusted to PH 5.0 and a white precipitate readily settles out. Tricresol is added to a concentration of 0.3% in order to assist in the isoelectric precipitation and to act as a preservative. After standing one week in the ice chest the supernatant liquid is decanted off and the resultant liquid is removed by centrifuging. The precipitate is then dissolved in a small quantity of acid water. A second isoelectric precipitation is carried out by adjusting the acidity to a PH of approximately 5.0. After standing over night the resultant precipitate is removed by centrifuging. The precipitate, which contains the active principle in a comparatively pure form, is dissolved in acid water and the hydrogen ion concentration adjusted to PH 2.5. The material is carefully tested to determine the potency and is then diluted to the desired strength of 10, 20, 40 or 80 units per c.c. Tricresol is added to secure a concentration of 0.1 percent. Sufficient sodium chloride is added to make the solution isotonic. The Insulin solution is passed through a Mandler filter. After passing through the filter the Insulin is retested carefully to determine its potency. There is practically no loss in berkefelding. The tested Insulin is poured into sterile glass vials with aseptic precautions and the sterility of the final product thoroughly tested by approved methods.

What are you going to do for test strips when they run out?

If this was to ever happen I would think this is death knocking at my door.

Where I live, we have tornadoes which, while hair-raising, are generally narrow, sewing paths of annihilation a few miles wide at their worst. Since there is a Walgreens every mile or two, I believe that in the event of a storm like that, would be able to get down the road to safety. I also live about 2/3 of a mile from a 24-hour Walgreens so, if I get snowed in or the streets get flooded (both of which have happened in the last couple of years...), I can hike there in a worst-of-those-case scenarios. I am not planning for "The Road Warrior" or the zombie apocalypse or nuking at this point.

I wonder if today, when high school kids are doing genetic engineering as part of standard biology coursework, we might do it differently. But this is how it was done 70 years ago:

Google for "Eva Saxl" e.g., http://diabeteshealth.com/read/2002/01/01/3495/evas-insulin/

Soon Eva was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and was put on an insulin regimen by a doctor the couple knew.

All seemed well—that is, until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the tightening Japanese occupation of China. Soon all the pharmacies in Shanghai were closed, and Eva had no legal access to insulin.

She found ways to get a little bit of insulin every day, such as buying it on the black market. But that was not the safest option; someone she knew had died from using the black market insulin.

"I love you so much. I won't let you die. You will live!" Victor continually promised.

Eventually, the young couple decided to get insulin another—albeit highly unconventional—way: make it themselves.

Neither Eva, a gifted linguist fluent in five languages, nor Victor, a textile engineer, knew much about the ways of scientific research. But that didn't stop them.

They got their hands on the book "Beckman's Internal Medicine," which described the methods that Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best—the discoverers of insulin—first used to extract insulin from the pancreases of dogs in 1921.

But money was scarce during that time, and so were animal pancreases. The couple would knit stockings and sell them for money that allowed them to purchase the pancreases of buffaloes. A Chinese man was kind enough to lend them a small laboratory, where they attempted to extract insulin from the pancreases. After much work, they finally produced a brown-colored insulin. After testing the insulin on rabbits for more than a year, Eva cautiously tried it on herself. It worked!

Oh, it's very possible to live without bg test strips. Just with urine tests some modicum of dosing control is achievable.

Before urine test strips aka "Tes-Tape", and before clinitest tablets, there was "Benedict's Solution".

Now, if you want to know about how you test insulin for potency, read some of the accounts of Eli Lilly's first insulin production in Indianapolis, or just google "insulin rabbit unit". Supposedly they were running out of rabbits in the Indianapolis area for a while!


Stocking up seems the most prudent. Though I do love the idea of being able to extract it from animals myself!

What about the expiration dates on insulin and test strips? Do you think they would still be good long past the expiration date?

Also not sure I could afford or justify paying for a big stock of supplies. Bad enough grappling with the insurance company for 30 days worth.

Lots, your comment

"I hope I don't start looking at my dog in a different way" ROFL!!Mindset of the Far Side comic by Gary Trudeau. Sorry folks, I cannot get deathly serious and somber about the possibility of a diabetic doomsday scenario that lasts several months. I am slowly building up to a three month supply of insulin and infusion sets,batteries and syringes; and I am trusting that will be enough.

God bless,

Lots of good information and discussion here, thank all of you participating in the discussion. Today we call it the zombie apocalypse, dooms day people, etc. But reallyi just don’t want to rely on government to take care of me. It seems that somewhere along the line I became complacent and thought to myself “well ‘they’ will take care of it.” Who are they and do they care enough in a life or death situation to be sure I have my supplies? How do we continue to create insulin and inject?

Read Stephan King's novel, a classic, The Stand. Scared the bejeepers out of me when it was published in 1978. I was 16 and T1 for 6 years. I lost sleep for quite a while. Still do..the daughter of the doctor is diabetic and they raid pharmacies to load up on insulin.

I live outside Washington DC. Fam has a meet up plans as my husband was dispatched, as historian, to the Pentagon on 9/11 and I was on travel. OK. Scared *********!!!

There is no answer and I refuse to do more than make basic plans--an emergency kit, cooling supplies for insulin...

As U2 says.. "Its the end of the world as we know it..."

And I agree with Brunetta--there are much more important things to worry about.

Can't help it: "And I feel fine!"

That’s REM Spock! “Flood” and “Ark” by Stephen Baxter are excellent perhaps more science oriented, he cites a study. Very scary. High ground.

I had a large supply due to taking a lot more insulin when I was diagnosed. It was in the freezer for a while due to a power failure so I'm not sure if it is ok now. But I'm not going to throw it out. I did get some new insulin just in case. I prolly had enough for a few months to a year since I use low doses now. I would eat no/lo carb and exercise too to reduce doses even more hopefully. Assuming there was food. Obviously a disaster or major proportions would prolly mean no food either. We're looking at a generator that will start up as soon as there is a power failure. I'm going to get a solar fridge also for a true disaster. Not sure about making your own insulin.. has anyone ever done that? I would have no idea how to do it. Since they use feces bacteria to make the synthetic insulin, wonder if it is possible. lol

Another good one is One Second After by William R.Forstchen if you dig doom and gloom :)

A horse and pig are not long for the world in the end of days, food will come first...just say'n :(

Great - two more books for my to-read list. :)

One Second After is the book I just finished. Definitely not for anyone who doesn't like depressing books!

I realized that later-knew I would get caught! :-)

That could've been taken directly out of my Organic Chem lab book! It sounds like everything we did in those two semesters.

Making synthetic insulin would be much, much harder than extracting insulin.

The bacteria they use do live in our intestines...and on our skin and almost everything we touch. It would be impossible to extract it from feces because there are too many contaminants and other bacteria there.

You'd then need the genetic sequence of insulin--which would really be impossible to extract without proper equipment, if you could even figure out how to do it (it's pretty hard). And then you'd need to get it into the bacterium, in just the right place, to get it to make insulin. That requires more specialized equipment and supplies.

I pretty much learned how to do it in Bio lab, but I wouldn't trust myself to do it, even with all the equipment and supplies. If necessary...