Wondering about animal insulins

i have recently been looking back on old discussions. i am really curious about those who used to take animal insulins...and what differences they have seen after switching. are these still available to us? i am definitely a fan of anything NATURAL, i am only learning now just how synthetic our synthetic insulin really is. can somebody take a few minutes to tell and teach me about this? could these synthetic insulins be the reason that my numbers are great but weight keeps rising, and hair thinning, and all around exaustion. thyroid and vitamin levels read fine and i am always searching for the answer.

I took animal insulin for a VERY brief time when first diagnosed. I was diagnosed 85ish-86ish. Kinda at the tail end of their use. I wasn't on them anymore than a year, before being switched to human insulin. The animal insulins caused me to have a super bad (darn near) lethal low. The doctor said it was something called Somogei effect or something like that. Even since getting off the animal insulins and being on human and then synthetic, sure lows still occassionally happen, but NOTHING like what I experienced on animal insulin. I had two wicked lows on animal insulins, like I said one REALLY bad, and the other I don't recall having any symptoms. So yes Im curious about the effects of the C peptides that was in them, because god knows I haven't always had the best of control, but for being diabetic close to 30 years, I have minimal problems (mild gastroparesis). Kinda got to wonder, but overall Im not a huge fan of them based on my own personal experience.

I used pork insulin for just over a year or perhaps two I think? but that's about 34 years ago, I seem to remember always feeling better than when starting synthesised human insulin.Then It went to analog insulin about fifteen years ago and although my overall controll has been good I swear since using analog insulin that I never feel 100%. someone once described it as "Diabetic Fog"

Ps I too seem to be always tired since using analog Insulins!

Natural is not necessarily better. The first "synthetic" insulin made from recombinant DNA was only approved in 1982. It is however bioidentical to human insulin. It is exactly the same insulin that humans normally produce. The modern analog insulins came later and have a different insulin molecule.

Animal insulin, whether porcine or bovine are different insulin molecules from human insulin. And it was not uncommon for patients to develop an immune reaction to animal insulin, essentially becoming insulin resistant. Historically, these animal insulins were quite variable as they were produced as an extract. They did get better over time. In the end, the withdrawal of animal insulin products was a marketing move by companies like Lilly NovoNordisk which wanted to sell their more expensive product. Both companies stopped providing animal insulin products in 2005-2006. Animal insulins can still be obtained through difficult channels, but it is apparently still possible.

In truth, if you want the most "natural" insulin then go with human insulin (Regular or R). But all of these insulin formulations have other stuff in them to affect the action, stabilize and protect them. And I've really not heard any reports of insulins, whether R or modern analogs, causing the problems you describe.

I was never on animal insulins and glad that I never was. I would say that preservatives and other ingredients to remove unecessary items from insulins make both animal and recombinant insulins unnatural. Different people react to insulin and other ingredients in the bottle differently and it is possible that recombinant insulins are causing you problems, but it is not likely. Recombinant insulins have reduced adverse events, allergic reactions and lithotrophy more commonly associated with animal insulins.

I would argue that Recombinant DNA insulins are more natural than animal insulins for you. scientist have identified the human genetic sequence required to make the protein insulin. They have then inserted the insulin DNA into yeast cells and the yeast make the protein insulin. You can then harvest the "human" insulin, purify it and use it. since recombant insulins are made to be just like normal human insulins, I believe they are more natural for me than animal insulins.

Through trial and error, scientist have found ways to make the recombinant insulins more useful or predictable. For instance, removing the c-peptide increased how quickly the insulin became active and lead to much better bolus insulins. Lantus is made to a pH of 4 (quite acidic) and this causes the insulin to be absorbed very slowly and predictably, good quality in a basal insulin. And more recently scientist changed 1 or 2 of the 51 amino acids in regular insulin. This changed the tertiary shape of the insulin a very small amount, but lead insulin becoming active much sooner. It was named humalog.

I have often wondered if there would be noticable benefits from taking c-peptide as a supplement though.

Some older PWD report that they had fewer complications when they were on animal insulins, and more difficulty after switching.

There is some evidence to suggest that c-peptide has a role in reducing or preventing complications. IF that turns out to be the case (too soon to know yet), then the fact that animal insulins contain c-pep and modern synthesized insulins don't might (might!) be a factor in those people's experiences.

There is active research ongoing into the possible beneficial effects of c-pep. Expect to hear more as time goes on.

I took animal NPH insulin from the time I was diagnosed in 1975 until I switched to Humulin R and NPH about a decade later. I did not see any benefit to animal insulin; in fact I preferred the human insulin (except for the higher cost). I would occasionally get a dense tissue deposit at the site I had injected the animal insulin - that never happened once I switched to human insulin. But I never noticed any dosage variability with animal insulin like Brian suggested - that would have been in the very early days of animal insulin production and solved long before the 70's.

My understanding is that by the time I was taking insulin in the 70's, there was no C-peptide in the bottled insulin because it was considered an impurity and was separated out.

I haven't noticed weight gain or exaustion from human insulin. Hair thinning? - OK yes to some of that - but unfortunately that's pretty normal for a male 38 years later and unrelated to insulin.

(BTW, Humulin, the first genetically engineered human insulin, was first developed by Genentech in Cambridge, MA, and used E-coli, and not yeast).

Variability is the subtext that underpins all of this -- each person responds to things differently. So it's to be expected that some people will see a difference where others won't.

Example: Many people swear by Humalog. It does nothing for me. Novolog and Apidra work like gangbusters for me, but Humalog might as well be a placebo. I could just as well be injecting sterile saline.

I was on animal insulin for almost 40 years, pork and beef. Although I took both with those I saw no difference but with the new insulins I prefer the new insulins. For one thing the old insulins were unstable especially the NPH. With the newer insulins I feel like I'm in charge, maybe that's because I'm also now a pumper. With the animal insulin I was taking about 90 units of U80.
One thing I do know is that I'm happy to have survived and having been able to take advantage of the new technology that helps us manage our Diabetes.

Amen to that, Betty! Hardly a day passes that I don't thank my lucky stars I am dealing with diabetes now, and not 40 or 50 years ago.

It's been 54 years living with Type 1 for me that's why I'm so thankful

So far there is no scientific evidence for the protective effects of c-peptide. Insulin Manufacturers are in tough competition. If adding some c-peptide would result in a superior product they would develop it. You can be sure that they already did that. Obviously with mixed results.

Complications develop over time. To conclude that they came with new analog insulins is just too simple for me. High blood glucose will have a negative impact on our healing. With improved control this capability is restored. Now the problem is that the high blood glucose can cause little damage to the smallest blood vessels in the eyes. With improved control these damages start to heal. Eventually the healing will create new blood vessels and other proliferations. If this goes wrong it can result in bleedings in the eye that eventually need surgery. Of course this can also happen with normal control. Still we all would agree that good control in general is a good thing. It just shows that going from bad to good control has some risks involved. This is why even degraded control is much better than giving up on control.

So does better control repair any damage that has been done? I have always wondered that. Being diabetic for 11 years I have definitely went through periods of bad control…diagnosed during puberty was not fun at all…I was definitely high a lot. But I have had my bet control over the past 3 years or so. Is it possible to repair? I don’t have any complications detected…but I would hope that I am young, healthy and resilient enough to consider myself in great condition…or at lest getting there.

During the last year, you have been doing a bunch of diets. Some of which might be considered somewhat harsh. Sometimes during nutrition restriction, our bodies will shut down hair follicles as a way of preserving energy. Then when we restart sufficient nutrition, the hair follicles are restarted and too many start at once. And when the hair follicle restarts growth, the hair falls out. Your hair will grow back in as usual, but this is certainly shocking when it happens. This is perhaps why it is sometimes called "Hair Shock." Do you think this might have happened?

Yes that could definitely be! But now my endo is letting me experiment with metformin (because my weight is very stubborn and I am becoming very resistant to my basal rates) but I have heard terrible things about hair loss from met. Not positive I am going to try it yet, but appointment on Tuesday

To some extend it is possible. Even nerves can be repaired. However some damage can only be halted but not reverted. This is still a fair reward for good control.

Andrea, it is possible to repair damage done by years of Diabetes. I suffered for years with Neuropathy of my feet. I had the numbing. tingling and pain that is described when N is mentioned. I can't tell you how long I had it. In the 1990s I was referred to a CDE by then I had Diabetes for 40 years in 1999. I had read that N could be reversed. After learning tighter control in 1999 I continued to keep tighter control and eventually I got feeling back in my feet and have had it ever since. So I believe it's never too late to turn things around...my mantra is never give up!