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Non-Kosher Insulin Injections

Non-Kosher Insulin Injections

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Question:

I have type 2 diabetes, and I'm unable to control it adequately with oral medication, and thus require insulin injections. The products my doctor is suggesting are made either from human cadavers or porcine (pork) product. What should I do?

Answer:

Taking shots made of porcine product does not pose any problem whatsoever. We are forbidden to orally ingest pork, but may benefit from non-kosher foods or their byproducts in other ways.1 This applies to non-medical areas as well, such as playing football with a pigskin ball, or wearing clothing made of leather which comes from a non-kosher animal.

[Bear in mind that the laws of kosher are suspended in many instances for medical purposes. Speak to an expert rabbi if you find it necessary to take oral medicine which is not kosher.]

Injections which contain human remains do present a problem because we are forbidden to benefit from human bodies (see Are cadaver transplants allowed?).2 I would therefore advise you to take the porcine product insulin shots.

Wishing you continued success in your efforts to keep healthy under trying circumstances.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and sweet new year!

Yours truly,

Rabbi Menachem Posner

FOOTNOTES
1.

The exception to this rule is a mixture of dairy and beef which was cooked together. Also, there are rabbinic restrictions on doing business in the non-kosher food industry.

2.

Though also not categorically forbidden in case of medical necessity.

Rabbi Menachem Posner serves as staff editor for Chabad.org. He lives with his family in Montreal, QC.
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Discussion (23)
October 19, 2013
insulin discussion
Irena McClain, when one reads the opinions of many people one can't help but ask: where on earth they were educated and where on earth they live? Thank HaShem that there are people like you who take the trouble to inform the ignorant. I hope that they will not only hear what you have said so clearly but, that they will listen.
Kenan Moss
Carayaca.
October 17, 2013
Genetically engineered insulin
Maybe this link will help explain how insulin is made. it is not derived from human cadavers nor is it obtained from slaughtered animals. Genetically engineered human insulin has been in production for over 35 years. Please take the time to google "making human insulin" for more information on the process.

Some companies grow the human insulin in yeast (Novo Nordisk brands) while others grow it in bacteria (Lilly brands). Sanofi insulin Apidra and Lantus are also genetically engineered. There is no insulin available today that is derived from animals, kosher or non-kosher, nor is human insulin derived from human cadavers.
Irena McClain, MPH- Associate Director, Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi
USA
October 16, 2013
insulin
I thought that insulin was being produced from genetically modified E-Coli bacteria for at least the last tree decades. If this is so, would it pose an halachic problem?
Kenan Moss
Carayaca.
July 21, 2013
Re: Wheat and type 2
The long list does not change my premise.

None of those things are kosher for Passover for Ashkenazim , and none of them are ingredients in Passover food, except for Matzah. Anyone keeping the Passover prohibitions who is not eating Matzah is not eating any of the things in your expanded redefinition of wheat.
Anonymous
Camarillo, CA, USA
chabadcamarillo.com
July 21, 2013
Re: Hurt an animal rather than use a dead person?
The way that this was explained to me was that kosher animals were created, according to the explanation I was given, so that they could be killed by humans, either as sacrifices or for kosher food, and that letting them live until they die of natural causes is, according to this explanation, a waste of their lives.

I don't agree with this, but you have to understand the premise before you can appreciate the conclusion.

I am not sure how non-kosher animals fit into this, because they can't be used for sacrifices or for kosher food.

I assume that the purpose of dead human bodies would be to buried (by "purpose", I mean G-d's reason for having humans become corpses instead of disappearing at death).

Once you understand the underlying belief about why animals and corpses exist, it does make logical sense to use each for its intended purpose.

But if you think the purpose of a corpse is to be useful and the purpose of an animal is to live, then you'd have an opposite conclusion.
Anonymous
Camarillo, CA, USA
chabadcamarillo.com
July 20, 2013
Hurt an animal rather than use a dead person? No way.
So you suggest using medicine from an innocent animal that will have to be killed rather than from a person who is already dead. That's cruel. Wake up; let's live and let live!
Chris L.
Los Angeles
July 18, 2013
Wheat and type 2 diebetecs
My appologies, I should have been more explicit in my reference to wheat. I was refering to all wheat, ie.: all grains from a to z except grains like amaranth buckwheat corn millet quinoa sorghum, rice, teff, ingredients like hydrolysed vegetable protein, wheat starch, modified food starch, gluten, bran wheat germ, flavoured coffees, some herbal teas, read ingredients, malt, dextrimaltose, maltodextrin, emulsifiers, stabilizers most energy, protein, meal replacement or supplements, sauces, salad dressings, marinades, miso, etc. The list goes on. We have been bombarded with wheat into our everyday life that we don't even realize it until we take a very close look at what we are consuming, including putting on our bodies in the way of cosmetics, because even some cosmetic, lotions, etc are made with wheat which our bodies ingest through the pores.

Not trying to be oversimplified but as our G-d teaches we must be alert to our being and holiness in relation to him in order to be Tzaddik.
Cynthia
Guelph
July 17, 2013
Re: Wheat and type 2
I have gone 3 days without eating wheat because it was Passover and I did not have Matzah (or had finished a box and did not want to open another because I was saving it for the next year).

I do not remember seeing my body going "through withdrawal".
Anonymous
Camarillo, CA, USA
chabadcamarillo.com
July 17, 2013
Wheat and type 2 diebetes
I am learning another culprit to rise blood sugar and insulin dependency is wheat products. Because the wheat we are eating has been genetically altered it does more harm than benefits our health. Wheat actually acts as an opiate, try giving it up for 3 days and watch your body go through withdrawal.
Cynthia
Guelph
April 24, 2013
Life-long Diabetic Input
I've been a diabetic since I was five, and Baruch Hashem Insulin has been available to me for 25 years w/o the use of any biological . I have never ever heard anyone ever, Rabbi, Doctor, anyone call insulin cannibalism. I was lucky that I never had to use 'animal insulin' since the engineered kind has always been available. I'll never forget in High School Science class putting some insulin on a slide expecting to see biology swimming and seeing nothing since it is not a biological living thing like donated blood. It's completely 100% engineered. Understand that HumaLIN insulin isn't HUMAN insulin and no one should ever harm themselves by not taking it on the worry of being a cannibal. It'd be like a type 1 diabetic not eating on a fast making themselves ill. You always protect health when you can. Insulin is one of the biggest blessings I have. If I'd been born 57 years earlier I'd have been dead at 5. I thank Hashem daily for giving this body to me now when I have a chance to live.
Alexis B.
Vancouver, BC Canada
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