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Letter Re: Insulin for Diabetics in Event of TEOTWAWKI

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James:
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 [9]., 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 [10]. There are also some herbal alternatives [11] for diabetics that are not fully insulin dependant. And here are a few others, from another source [12].

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 [13] would of course mean a grid-down [14] 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 [15]. If building your own PV system blows your complexity quotient, you can buy a prepackaged system from Ready Made Resources [16]. 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) [17]

As an aside, the American Diabetes Association put together this web page on disaster planning for diabetics [18]. (The link at the bottom of the page on diabetes emergency packs is the most useful tidbit.) Here is one alternative view [19].