Now Using Pork Insulin

By Crashnot Latest Reply 2010-06-06 15:29:53 -0500
Started 2010-06-05 21:44:25 -0500

Hi guys! This conversation has disappeared from the current list for awhile now. But wanted to give you interested folks an update.

Tried to win my endo over to trying the pork insulin last month and got a cold stare, and a reined-in tirade on how could I be feeding my family organic food, have watched what they feed pigs on "Food Inc." and want to even consider an animal-based insulin???

True enough. But this past Thursday I made the switch anyway. Couldn't hurt to see if it helped with my symptoms, right? (search "synthetic insulin" if you want the list of what synthetic can do to some people).

So far, I woke up Friday and it was pretty weird. It was like everything was brighter, sharper and more defined with my vision. I sound like I'm a junkie here, but that's just my immediate observation. It was nice, at any rate!

Next noticable difference is that the fog at the front of my brain has lifted and I feel like I can actually think again. That's a first in YEARS.

I'm still figuring out how to adjust for the longer duration of when the insulin is active, but while I'm running too high in the morning my sugars are amazingly stable at whatever number I'm at. On the synthetic Humalog I'd bounce from 22 to 360 to 180 to 56 and all over again. It was exhausting. The past two days I've pretty well been locked within a 20-point range. Had a low last night after making a correction before bed, but once I had a snack, I held right around 120-180, ALL NIGHT! Was wearing the CGM and it was so amazing to wake up at 150 instead of 350, which is a constant problem for me. Hope that lasts for sure!

I've also been labeled brittle for about 25 years (since starting the Humalog come to think of it) for not sensing when I'm going low. No sweating, shakes, I just get tired when I drop down to rock bottom.

Yesterday and today, I'm breaking out in a sweat anytime my sugars start to slide down quickly. Even if I'm way too high, I start to sweat as the insulin takes over. Still no shakes, but I can work with sweat!

My fatigue is still there, but unfortunately a lot of that is from getting exposed to wheat somewhere this week, which is the kiss of death with my Celiac Disease. As that exposure wears off over the next few days, I'm hoping I'll have more zip in my step when I wake up in the morning. A problem that has plagued me for longer than I can recall.

Can't say switching to animal insulin is the be-all, end all. But I am noticing a lot of nice changes in the two days I have used it. Most people feel a change immediately to within a week. So keeping lots of mental notes to see if I want to stay with it. My cost is $100 here in Canada versus $25 for Humalog, so plenty of incentive to go back to synthetic if I don't feel a lot of changes!

Lisa in Ontario

5 replies

Crashnot 2010-06-06 15:29:53 -0500 Report

Richard-I'm hoofing it on the overlap thing. The pork lasts 6-8 hours versus 3-4 hours for the Humalog. Remember that pumps were originally developed with the beef and pork insulins. The pump is of course figuring out the insulin on board, so that's taken out a lot of the guess work. I lowered all my basal doses when loading up the pork the first day, and am taking my time adjusting it for the high sugars. But I did raise the daytime basals yesterday and it seems to have done the trick for the highs I had the first two days.

I was on a beef/pork mixture my first 16 or so years on insulin, so was not hesitant to go back to it. The doctor switched me over when synthetic became available in the 1980s.

When I tried both Lantus and Levemir a few years ago, I had even worse problems than I was having with just the Humalog. VERY lethargic, fuzzy brained, and depressed. I stopped using each of them and was instantly better the next day, once the insulin cleared my system. From the reading I have done, this is very typical. The longest it should take to feel an improvement is 6 days.

KD-good to know. I've always been very sensitive to my insulins, so hoping that since I didn't have any resistance to them growing up, I will be okay with the pork for a long time.

Harlen-yes, the animal industry is a scary thing for being a source of medication! This is produced in England by a company which negotiated with Eli Lilly to take over the production when Lilly turned their plant in the states into a parking lot. The group I've worked with in England has done a lot of homework and lobbying to keep the animal-based insulins available to people who just don't work well with synthetic. Much to my grateful relief!

I'm starting to feel more energetic today and that's with cleaning the whole house and making a big birthday dinner for my hubs and his family. Hope that continues to improve. With a 3 & 5-year old in the house and 75 acres to attend to, I need all the energy I can find!


Richard157 2010-06-06 11:07:58 -0500 Report

I am happy for you that the pork insulin is working so well for you. I am very surprised that it worked so well, so fast. The human body needs time to adjust and accept a big change in medications and treatments. You say the pork insulin worked overnight and you woke up with everything working almost perfectly. That seems almost miraculous.

I realize the pork insulins today are very different from the pork insulin I used from 1945 until the mid 1980s. There is a short lasting and a long lasting pork insulin available in some countries. How long did your premeal insulin last? How do you determine the dosage for the next meal with so much of the previous dose still on board? Overlapping insulins can produce hypos. Modern day fast acting insulins last 3-5 hours. I think the peak for the fast acting insulin is reached much later than for the modern day insulins. That would mean that a spike would be longer lasting after meals. I doubt that the fast acting pork insulin would be suitable for pumps for a variety of reasons.

I would love to hear more about your using pork insulins. I have always thought that there would be MORE difficulty and worse blood sugar control when using pork insulin. Maybe I am wrong.

kdroberts 2010-06-06 10:20:38 -0500 Report

The one thing to watch out for is a slowly increasing need for higher doses. It's reasonably common for humans to develop antibodies against animal based insulin and end up needing massive amounts. The other weird thing about that is the antibodies can be somewhat random and "release" the insulin which can lead to rapid, extreme lows.

gregsteele 2010-06-06 09:48:10 -0500 Report

It sounds like its working well for you and im glad for that hope it continues to work as well in the future im fine on novalog but i do have some wild swings as harlen said unless i have to im chicken to try it GOOD LUCK love to all GREG

Harlen 2010-06-06 09:30:00 -0500 Report

Great for you looks like you may have got what you needed I am happy for you.For me in the US I dont trust the makers of the stuff at all.I am just to much a chiken to try it.
Have you had any of the side afects?
Best wishes