Porcupine Insulin in Canada? You can get some too


I've been a Type 1 diabetic for /years/ (25+) and started on Human insulin.

In chatting with Richard (who is a pillar in the diabetic community) I learned that animal (and real human insulin) contains 2 proteins and not just the one - and that the RDNA insulin I started on and almost all of us are now on - lack C-Peptide.

Richard and other "long term survivors" have commented how tough the transition was - and that the new RDNA insulins had a phenomena known as "hard to perceive lows."

Further research I have conducted suggests that as many as 10% of our fellow Type 1s have this "very hard time" with the new RDNA insulins, and that there has been a bemoaning to return to some form of the Animal insulins with the C-Peptide.

I noticed that Wockhardt actually still make Pork, and believe it or not - Porcupine insulins - animal based, C-Peptide included.

Now here's the rub - in the US - it appears big pharma are "keeping it out" - they have all but abandoned animal insulins for the far more profitable "synthetic" ones.

However - I have discovered it is possible to get these - directly from the manufacturer. There are a few steps, essentially you need a permission letter from the USDA ($94 fee for 5 years) and a letter from your doc saying you do better on animal insulin, and a letter committing that the insulin shipped to you is strictly for personal use.


Has anyone here in the US gone through this process?

I'm actually curious because i'd actually be interested in determining the differences in my personal health using animal based (C-Peptide included) insulins versus the faster, cheaper to make, better profit margin for the manufacturer insulins.

Can anyone comment whom have gone through the process?

Has it made a difference?

Here is the process if anyone is interested in obtaining direct access to animal based insulins.


Note: I am a Type 1 diabetic, computer geek, and just plain curious.


I think you mean porcine not porcupine. At least porcupine insulin would come with its own needles… Sorry I couldn’t resist saying that.

I’ve had Type 1 for 36 years and used pork-based insulin for many years. I don’t remember any issues when I switched to Humulin insulins or current analog insulins. This whole debate is a non-issue to me. The idea that the c-peptide in the animal-based insulins protected people who took them seems phooey to me. Most people with Type 1 in olden days died an aversge 20 years earlier than non-diabetics and blindness and amputations were seen at a rate significantly higher than today. Many also believe that they didn’t have hypoglycemia unawareness until they quit the animal-based insulins. That could also just be related to the duration of diabetes.

But many people believe that they feel much better on the animal-based insulins and that their diabetes is in better control. I certainly am not informed enough to do anything but respect their beliefs.

Interesting subject, so let us know what you find out.

Oh, Lathump, I wish you could have heard my LOLLLLL at that first line!

I just hope that Drew has a sense of humor. Please Drew tell me that you do.

I do - seemed a natural animal to diabetics.

Okay - seems less shocking than porcupines.


But still - had to look it up.

So back to the animal insulins, anyone on them?

I am not on them, nor have I ever been, having just been recently diagnosed and put on insulin. I might want to try them at some point as I don't like the feeling of being on insulin at all, but it is my only choice to stay alive. I feel hungry a lot of the time and I have a lot of rapid shifts in bg with sweating etc. I wonder if the animal insulins may be better for me- who knows. I know each insulin is different for everyone from what I have read.

I have been diabetic for 31 years, so I was also on animal insulin both beef and pork. Because of that I found out I can not give blood due to a risk of mad cow disease. If any of you want to try animal insulin you might investigate that before a good friend needs blood and you want to help and are not able to.

In 1997, Eli Lilly jointly funded research into C-Peptide as a possible therapeutic. In the research undertaken at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, researchers determined that C-Peptide may effectively prevent and even reverse cardiovascular disease and nerve damage in people with Type1 diabetes, although their studies were only on rodent models of the disease. However, the company never pursued commercialization of the product.


supplementation of C-peptide in type 1 diabetic patients may be beneficial while an increase in C-peptide levels in patients with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes may be harmful...high levels cause Plaque build up in the cardiovascular system so if you introduce c peptide into a Type2's insulin regiment it could accelerate heart failure.

I’ve had Type 1 for 36 years. I definitely remember pork-based insulin. I don’t know about beef. Do you live in the US or abroad? I’ve never tried to give blood, so don’t know whether I would be eligible or not.

Next year on Diabetes Art Day, I envision a porcupine with syringe needles squirting out porcine insulin. One of those visuals that brings some humor to the daily rut of living with Type 1. Thanks, Drew.

There's an animal insulin advocacy movement in the UK. I contacted them over a year ago. Because of processing methods, there's actually very little C-peptide in current animal insulin. Other benefits, but not C-peptide. Really disappointing.

I looked into getting Canadian porcine insulin, but decided against it because there wasn't assurance that US Customs would allow it. Sometimes they do & sometimes they don't. Vials can be held up in customs for a while & that would effect potency. A lot of chances to take at $94/vial.

Seems that the safest way to get it from CA is drive there:)

The L insulin was the pork and the R insulin was the beef, or the other way around.

And also I live in the US

If you are thinking of taking it because of C-peptide content, think again.
Modern animal insulins, including Wockhardt's linked above - Hypurin - are highly purified
with everything other than insulin removed (and of course preservatives added ).

In particular on another forum a user wrote to Wockhardt to inquire specifically about C-Peptide content and got the following reply :

Request for information forwarded to Drug Safety and Information
Department, Wockhardt UK Limited (incorporating CP Pharmaceuticals Limited
and The Wallis Laboratory Limited)
Enquiry: Received: 07.06.2010
Response date: 07.06.2010
Wockhardt UK Limited's Hypurin Insulins are highly purified. The complex
processing removes any traces of C-peptide that may be present to extremely
low levels.*

So if they behave differently, it's not likely due to C-peptide.

Bummer! And by differently, could there be an aversion to bacon?


C-Pep would be the only interest I would have with them. Thanks for the info!

To me there is no protective component in c-peptide. People have a genetic arsenal of countermeasures against elevated blood glucose. For some these ongoing repairs work well and for some they can not keep up with the damage. Some people can smoke their whole life. For some one visit to a smoke filled room or sniffing at the gasoline while filling up might lead to lung cancer many years later. We have the capability to cope with damages. A good example is that diabetics might develop kidney or eye problems but very rarely both. The stress from elevated blood glucose was high enough to cause complications. Still the body found ways to protect either the eyes or the kidneys. The answer is in our genetic predisposition and our quality of glucose control.

The other point is the hypo awareness. I think most people can preserve their hypo awareness with modern analog insulins. People that switched from pork to analog reported about their difficulties to detect lows. But we should keep in mind that analog insulins are designed to act much faster. Perhaps people that have been using pork before have difficulties to recognize the signs of rapid movements of the blood glucose. But the new insulins need a much higher level of alertness to detect lows early. Perhaps they just have been underestimating the rapid onset of the new insulins.

I live very close to a Canadian border. Recently, I contacted a Canadian phaarmacy. The pharmacist told me beef/pork insulins are no longer available in Canada. Can any Canadians confirm this?

A company called Cebix in California is investigating C peptide and its' use in reversing and ameliorating some diabetic complications including neuropathy and nephropathy. They are in some phase of clinical trials and have found C peptide is protective and also therapeutic in some of the common D complications. I have had T1 for 37 years and used the porcupine ( I mean porcine) insulins for all but the last 10 years or so.

Encouraging news! Hope this comes to market.

OMG, I just laughed so hard at that first line that I lost some of my coffee out my nose!! Good one.