Survival as a Type 1

I’m posting this for a friend who’s concerned with the way the government has protected diabetics during the pandemic. She’s wondering if eventually a cut to her medical supplies and insulin to stay alive could be in the works, which I don’t agree with as the government could never be that inhumane. She’s wondering if there are any good articles or resources on making your own form of insulin, be it from animals or a homemade lab? Once more, I am NOT condoning this for anyone to try at home or to ever attempt. I’m just asking for a friend who wants to learn some different survival options. I think it’s all a bunch of hype and will personally not be reading them. :roll_eyes: What a waste of time…

1 Like

“Consider the story of Eva Saxl, the diabetes legend who made her own insulin — yes, I said made her own insulin — during World War II to survive, showcasing the power of human innovation under the most dire circumstances.”

Hi Tim12 thanks for your response. If I’m correct Eva didn’t actually make her own insulin but her husband, who had the knowledge and medical training to do it did. I’ve had a difficult time finding the medical papers for the breakdowns he used but to my understanding you would have to have a degree in chemistry to even attempt the process concerning the crystallization.

For someone worried about economic/political tumult in the next couple of years, it is probably more practical to build up an insulin stockpile (if necessary of Wal-Mart OTC insulin) and maybe a backup source of power for refrigeration depending on their climate.

When refrigerated at the right temperature insulin (by the label) is good for a couple of years and the non-analog insulins (like the Wal-Mart OTC stuff) is supposedly more stable than the analog insulins so more than a few years beyond that seems possible.

1 Like

This is absolutely insane and I wouldn’t recommend it to ANYONE but I know a survivalist whose daughter survived off insulin for 7 years after the expiration date. I would be scared out of my mind to try anything like this!! What a risk he put her in! :scream: Anyways, she wants to know how to make her own, I’m trying to discourage it but there’s only so much o can do.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong learning about biochemistry. There was the old fashioned way of Eva Saxl but the new generation would probably be doing their own recombinant insulin at home.

Now if I start accumulating glassware and reagents etc it’s likely the feds will assume that I’m putting together a meth lab!


BTW… if you want to see the historic ways that insulin potency was measured in the past… this is required reading! Supposedly after Eli Lilly started mass insulin production over 100 years ago, this resulted in an extreme shortage of rabbits around Indianapolis!

1 Like

We certainly don’t want that!


Purifying animal insulin is one thing and it is possible however many people died in the early years when it was done incorrectly.

Modern insulin is not animal based. It is bacteria based. They remove dna from a bacterium. Then transfect the new human dna into the cell.
The bacterium becomes an insulin factory.
Cells debris is removed leaving human insulin behind. Only it’s bacteria made but it is made from human dna.

So that being said you might be able to purify animal insulin. You are not likely to be able to make recombinant dna insulin unless you have a team of scientists and the instrumentation to produce it and test it’s strength. So you get the same response from every batch.

It’s no small, mix it up in your kitchen,kind of thing.

I have accepted that if there is a real insulin interruption then most type 1 will die.

I have some inhaled insulin powder Packs left over from a clinical trial that has 5 years shelf life. I would try it if I had nothing else I guess.

Timothy, that was an excellent explanation for those that weren’t aware of the process. Thanks for your insight! What I’d love to find are the medical papers used for the process but those have been extremely hard to find.

I have a background in molecular and cellular biology, and now my husband and I have a homestead with animals. I’ve always been curious how to extract insulin from the pigs and cows. I’ve never been able to find instructions, though. I haven’t looked terribly hard, though, but I would like it in my wheelhouse. I suspect it’s not terribly easy, though. To my knowledge, it isn’t stored anywhere but rather generated on demand. You can’t just stick a syringe in and extract it.

That said, recombinant dna and polymerase chain reaction are not highly technical processes. We did it in advanced biology in high school 20 years ago. You can perform them better in specific lab environments, but I always assumed I could do it easily enough with a kitchen immersion circulator and supplies you can buy online. Carolina Biological Supply has shipped all sorts of other supplies to my home already, though my husband may have had to enter the business i.d. number at checkout, I don’t know.

I’m highly curious about this thread.

1 Like

If it got bad enough for a type 1 to have a hard time getting insulin since we do manufacture some insulin in the US, I think the world would be falling completely apart and not that many people as a whole would be surviving.

Had anyone ever searched the U.S. patent database? Most insulin formulations are old enough that the details should be public record.

It’s really not easy, practical or even a good chance it would work the same.
Best option, lowest cost is to get Regular and NPH from walmart for about $25 per vial. In addition, have current RX written for maximum needed per month, rather than average per month and accumulate a backup supply.


Beyond building a stockpile if you can (hopefully your medical team will boost your prescription a bit), learn how to substitute the old fashioned insulins. They are cheaper and more readily available without an RX. That can be stockpiled as well as your newer insulin products where possible. I may have a fridge full but even if they are a bit old or weak, they are there for a true emergency.

While I think that there are many medical treatments that will become problematic long before insulin can’t be found, if I were worried about this, I would go the stockpile route. Next, I would put my dog’s collar on and get some U-40 Vetsulin. That is not cheap … it is at least $30 for a 10 ml vial of U-40 which becomes $75 for the equivalent of a 10 ml vial of U100. Note: this is a zinc suspension of pork insulin … which is probably very close to (if not purer than) what I used when I started this game in 1972.

That is definitely NOT the fancy rDNA stuff that we have today … but it probably has a 100 year head start over what most of us could do at home with our Gilbert Chemistry Set. While I don’t have access to Vetsulin, I assume that there are many warnings that this is NOT for use in humans. A stockpile from Walmart is much easier …

Stay safe.


1 Like

Or make a trip to Canada and stock up on the analog insulins at reasonable prices.

Here’s an inspirational post from member who miraculously obtained insulin in the worst of times. And she survived to late 80s.


Not really something I’m worrying about. There are much bigger things for me to worry about. I just keep doing what most of us long timers do, stockpile, stockpile, stockpile. And yes, I have used insulin that has expired and am currently using a bottle that has expired. No problems.