ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Metformin is the most widely prescribed drug in the world to treat type 2 diabetes, and it’s been around for more than 60 years! But now, researchers are learning this popular medicine might also have other health benefits. Slow aging
More than 150 million people worldwide take this little pill to treat type 2 diabetes.
Karen Elkind-Hirsch, PhD, Dir., Scientific Research at Women’s Hospital, Baton Rouge explains, “The most commonly used medication, which is pretty much, it’s probably in the water here, is metformin – everybody knows about it.”
A large review of 53 different studies concluded that metformin reduces all causes of death like cancer, heart disease and stroke, in addition to its effect on diabetes. Experts believe metformin also has anti-inflammatory effects, which may contribute to its ability to slow aging.
Elkind-Hirsch, PhD, says, “Our diabetes incidence is skyrocketing and so is the health costs.”
Research has also suggested the medicine may prevent type 2 diabetes. In one large study, people without diabetes who took metformin reduced their risk of developing the disease by 30 percent!
“Many are on it even during pregnancy because it’s a very safe drug.” Says Elkind-Hirsch, PhD.
What’s more: metformin is inexpensive – costing just pennies a day, but it does sometimes cause nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, and stomachache. Taking metformin for a long time can also lead to a vitamin B deficiency. For most patients, these symptoms are mild, and for some, the potential anti-aging benefits may be worth it.
Use of metformin can also trigger moderate weight loss. On average, most people lose about six pounds after being on metformin for a year.
Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
DIABETES DRUG TO SLOW AGING?
BACKGROUND: Metformin is a widely prescribed medication for managing type 2 diabetes, known for its effectiveness in lowering blood sugar levels. One of its primary advantages is its relatively low risk of causing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can be a concern with some other diabetes medications. Additionally, metformin has shown benefits beyond glycemic control, including potential weight loss. It is generally well received, with fewer side effects compared to some other diabetes drugs. However, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, or stomach upset, particularly when starting the medication. In rare cases, metformin can lead to a serious but uncommon side effect called lactic acidosis, which requires immediate medical attention. Individuals who’ve experienced certain health episodes such as a heart attack or kidney failure should avoid metformin all together. Overall, metformin is still deemed reliable in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and offers remarkable advantages for many individuals. It’s mandatory, however, to weigh the benefits and risks with a healthcare provider.
TREATMENT: Metformin mainly works by decreasing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and increasing the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin. These actions help to lower blood glucose levels effectively. For people with diabetes, metformin can lead to improved glycemic control, leading to more manageable blood sugar levels over time. Also, metformin may contribute to modest weight loss, which is especially beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes who are overweight or obese. It can also lower LDL cholesterol levels, in turn leading to improved lipid proportions. Overall, for many individuals with diabetes, metformin works as a critical component of their treatment regimen, helping to maintain better control of their blood sugar and contributing to an improved quality of life. However, like any medication, its effects can vary from person to person. It’s important for individuals to work closely with their healthcare provider to monitor its impact and make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan. (Sources: https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/metformin-health-benefits-why-they-likely-go-beyond-type-2-diabetes/
NEW REGULATIONS: In 2023, a study called COVID-OUT discovered that metformin prevents the development of long COVID. It was found that in patients who started metformin less than four days after their COVID symptoms appeared, their risk of developing long COVID decreased by 63%. The results were consistent despite the varying demographic of volunteers involved and the multiple variants present, including the Omicron variant. John Buse, MD, PhD, co-authored this study and made these remarks – “Not only did we demonstrate that metformin, an inexpensive and safe treatment, may prevent the development of long COVID in many people, but we validated that long COVID is a real disease in that a 14-day treatment can reduce the risk of long COVID symptoms and a doctor’s diagnosis over many months.”
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