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Regarding primitive means of extracting insulin, I direct your readers to this article (PDF and images available here.)
Note that the term ‘spirit’ in the paper means pure ethyl alcohol, and modern ethyl rubbing alcohol is not suitable as it contains denaturing poisons.
It’s known that the mixtures must be kept at ice water temperatures or the insulin will be degraded. This is not intended for a kitchen chemist, some knowledge of chemistry and lab technique is preferred.
Referencing this article is not intended to give medical advice. – A.N. Onymieux
I read the call for an insulin producing procedure so I spent some time searching and came across a useful thread over at The Survivalist Boards. I am sure they are looking for more detail but thought I would send it just in case it could help them.
Thanks – Tim
I do not want to make it sound like I know anything about type 1 Diabetes. I know my mother has it or she has Type 2 and uses insulin for that. She used to control it with a pills but now has to inject. I never gave it much thought until my step-father recently passed away.
I also try not to buy into conspiracy theory’s. I do believe in many ways that money changes the out come of many decisions and this could be one of them. Let’s face it, insulin is big money.
A prepper fiend told me that he was type I and that he had a very good supply of insulin. He was working on saving up to buy a solar refrigerator and with that he might be able to live for two years after a complete lose of supply. I did not like the sound of it. Putting a time on it just did not site right with me so I did some research.
What I found was a patent applied for in 1970 titled: FREEZE STABILIZED INSULIN, United States Patent 3683635.
Basically, the the concept is to flash freeze insulin in liquid nitrogen. By doing this the liquid freeze within seconds and the water does not get to separate and form crystals.
My fiend found this very interesting and decide to try it for himself. He now rotates some of his supply through this process and he is still alive after over a full year. The reason I say some is that according to the information the shelf life expiration date is delayed. If the expiration is 1 year and you use this process at the 6 month mark, then you still have 6 months left when you thaw it. If this part is true then you really do not need to rotate or even use what you freeze. You just have to be able to keep it frozen. A really good solar freezer might be in order.
Your first question after reading this is going to be about obtaining liquid nitrogen. Most compressed gas suppliers sell it for medical use. You first have to buy a special thermos from them for about $25. Just tell them you are a chef and need it for some crazy dish your are making or to make something you saw on food network.
Good luck, and I pray no one will ever need to use the foregoing. – John M.
I did a bit of searching and found a formula. It is pretty complicated but there are some practical bits of advice that are more realistic.
The plan was posted by a doctor and his wife who is a nurse and are both preppers and host a radio show on the subject. – Tricia
Israel Pharma Company has developed ORAMED – Oral insulin. this may be the long term solution, making it through studies, looking hopeful.
Thanks for what you do! God Bless You. – Elizabeth B.
The Doom and Bloom Blog has covered how to make insulin and penicillin, but you will need some chemistry knowledge and the equipment listed.To keep stored insulin cool in summer a roman evaporative cooler would work best as it only uses water and can be made out of 2 [unglazed] vases or [unglazed terra cotta] planter pots (with duct tape), a sheet and sand. Even though these where used by the ancient romans most videos showing how to make it are for charities in Africa [falsely] claiming that a Muslim invented it–long after Cleopatra was drinking iced drinks made by using these overnight in a dry area. How well they function depends on humidity. A warning about these coolers is that they can hit freezing temps which would be bad for insulin. It shouldn’t be a problem in the summertime especially if you use 2 wide mouth planters, but Egyptians and Romans could make small amounts of ice overnight. Duct tape would be effective to use with the holes on the bottom of planter pots:
Roman pottery cooler.
Making Penicillin at home.
I have a diabetic friend who I printed out instructions for but past the 6 months that insulin can be stored,he would probably have to take the recipe to the nearest teaching hospital, along with a live pig or bull. – Steve M.
Dear Mr. Rawles:
In regard to the letter from the father of a diabetic, on needing a recipe for Insulin. Below is the recipe.
Not sound to gloomy, but I feel that in a survival situation, the requirements for making insulin are essentially impossible for anything less than a well equipped lab with one or more well
trained technicians. The chemical requirements are daunting, the equipment extensive, the infrastructure (electricity, de-ionized water, etc. ) make it unlikely that a single person
could make insulin of sufficient purity and quantity to keep a Type 1 diabetic alive.
In Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven’s novel, Lucifer’s Hammer, one of the characters is a Type 1 diabetic. He dies a few weeks / months after the meteorite impact, of Diabetic Coma. I have to confess, I have thought about this before, and it appears that it is the inescapable conclusion.
Preparation of Insulin:
Best and Scott who are responsible for the preparation of Insulin in the Insulin Division of the Connaught Laboratories have tested all the available methods and have appropriated certain details from many of these, several new procedures have been found advantageous have been introduced by them. The yield of Insulin obtained by Best and Scott at the Connaught Laboratories, by a preliminary extraction with dilute sulphuric acid followed by alcohol is 1,800 to 2,220 units per kg. of pancreas. [Here is a quote from Best and Scott:]
The [fairly modern] method of preparation is as follows. The beef or pork pancreas is finely minced in a larger 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.
The method of estimating the potency of Insulin solutions is based on the effect that Insulin produces upon the blood sugar of normal animals. Rabbits serve as the test animal. They are starved for twenty four hours before the administration of Insulin. Their weight should be approximately 2 kg. Insulin is distributed in strengths of 10, 20, 40 and 80 units per c.c. The unit is one third of the amount of material required to lower the blood sugar of a 2 kg. rabbit which has fasted twenty four hours from the normal level (0.118 percent) to 0.045 percent over a period of five hours. In a moderately severe case of diabetes one unit causes about 2.5 grammes of carbohydrate to be utilized. In earlier and milder cases, as a rule, one unit has a greater effect, accounting for three to five grammes of carbohydrate.
Regards, – P.W.