Letter Re: Insulin for Diabetics in Event of TEOTWAWKI

I was wondering what your thoughts on perishable things like insulin might be in a worse case scenario…. as it needs to be refrigerated at all times, and even if you were to get a large supply. How long could it last as it deteriorates quicker than pills…and pills might be easier to manufacture after a bad scenario whereas insulin would be very difficult to make. Diabetics would probably have a limited life in a TEOTWAWKI., right? – CWW

JWR Replies: Insulin is indeed a problem for those that envision a long term socioeconomic disruption. However, I challenge the view that in a long term scenario, diabetics will face certain peril. First, many diabetics can minimize or even totally eliminate dependence on daily insulin by altering their diets. I strongly suggest that any SurvivalBlog readers that are diabetic or that have diabetic relatives look into the Weimar Institute’s NEWSTART Program. There are also some herbal alternatives for diabetics that are not fully insulin dependant. And here are a few others, from another source.

For those that are indeed insulin dependant regardless of dietary changes, I recommend that you stock up on enough injectable insulin for its full potential shelf life. TEOTWAWKI would of course mean a grid-down situation. So I also strongly recommend that you get a long term photovoltaic (PV) backup power system to run a compact refrigerator, similar to that described by SurvivalBlog reader Hannibal. If building your own PV system blows your complexity quotient, you can buy a prepackaged system from Ready Made Resources. Or how about getting a propane powered refrigerator and a large propane tank?

One recent development is a new variety of Oral Insulin (Oralin/Oral-lyn)

As an aside, the American Diabetes Association put together this web page on disaster planning for diabetics. (The link at the bottom of the page on diabetes emergency packs is the most useful tidbit.) Here is one alternative view.