Is Metformin a Miracle Drug?
Have you ever wondered why certain medications are called “wonder drugs”?
In some cases, it’s because the drug provides tremendous health benefits for a particular condition, such as insulin for diabetes type 1 or antibiotics for pneumonia. In addition to its ability to relieve pain, treat or prevent cardiovascular conditions, and even prevent cancer, aspirin has often been called a wonder drug.
Is metformin one of these drugs? In the US, it’s approved for treating type 2 diabetes in people ages 10 and older when combined with diet and exercise. The potential for its use in preventing or treating other conditions, including aging, has grown in recent years. Aging, yes. That would make this drug a wonder drug if it is true.
Metformin has early beginnings in a plant used in the 17th century.
A wide range of symptoms, including diabetes-related symptoms, were treated with French lilac (Galega officinalis) in medieval Europe. Doctors began treating diabetes with extracts of this plant by the 17th century.
Metformin was synthesized in the 1920s from compounds derived from French lilac. Rabbits were found to have lower blood sugar levels after taking the drug. Metformin languished for several decades until physicians developed a way to use insulin to treat diabetes.
In 1957, metformin was being used in France to treat type 2 diabetes. In 1994, the Food and Drug Administration approved its use in the United States for type 2 diabetes. It may now be the most widely used diabetes drug in the world.
How does metformin work?
Metformin has a long history dating back hundreds of years. Galega officinalis was traditionally used to treat digestive problems, urinary problems, and other ailments in Europe. In 1918, a scientist discovered that guanidine, one of its ingredients, could lower blood sugar levels. For the treatment of diabetes, medications containing guanidine were developed, including metformin and phenformin. After phenformin and insulin were discovered, they fell out of favor because of serious side effects.
In the 1950s, metformin was rediscovered decades later and approved as a diabetes treatment in Europe. In 1995, the FDA approved its use in the US. Since then, it has become the most widely prescribed medication for diabetics who cannot control their blood sugar through diet and exercise.
The most important benefit of metformin is that it activates AMPK in the muscle tissue, as well as increasing glucose uptake.
The activation of AMPK may be a factor that contributes to the uptake of glucose in the skeletal muscle by AMPK.
There may be more benefits to metformin than just treating diabetes
Metformin is known for more than just lowering blood sugar in people with diabetes for decades. In addition, it offers cardiovascular benefits, such as lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease-related death. In addition, it can sometimes help diabetics lose excess weight.
The health benefits of metformin may also apply to those without diabetes. It has long been prescribed off-label for conditions other than those listed on its label, including:
Diabetic prediabetes. People with prediabetes have elevated blood sugar levels that aren’t yet high enough to qualify as diabetics. People with prediabetes may be able to delay or even prevent the onset of diabetes with metformin.
Diabetic pregnancies. Blood sugar levels may rise during pregnancy and then return to normal after delivery in pregnant women. Pregnant women who take metformin can control their blood sugar during pregnancy.
PCOS is a condition characterized by polycystic ovarian syndrome. The condition often affects young women whose ovaries develop multiple cysts. It is common to experience irregular periods and fertility problems. Despite mixed results of clinical studies, metformin has long been prescribed for women with PCOS to help regulate their menstrual cycles, improve fertility, and lower blood sugar levels.
As a result of taking antipsychotic medicines, you gain weight. Psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia can be treated with powerful antipsychotic medications. Weight gain is one of the most common side effects. People who take metformin may experience less weight gain.
Inflammation can damage your health. Protect yourself from it.
It has been proven that chronic, low-grade inflammation contributes to cardiovascular disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases. From Harvard Medical School experts, learn how to fight inflammation and stay healthy.
You can prevent chronic inflammation from causing damage to your health by viewing this page.
The potential benefits of metformin are also being investigated
Reduce the risk of cancer in people with type 2 diabetes. The most common types of cancer are breast, colon, and prostate cancers.
Decreased risk of dementia and stroke. There has been evidence that people with diabetes taking metformin experience less cognitive decline and dementia, as well as fewer strokes compared to those not taking metformin.
Increase lifespan by slowing aging, preventing age-related diseases, and preventing age-related diseases. It has been suggested that metformin may slow aging and increase life expectancy by improving insulin sensitivity, antioxidant activity, and blood vessel health.
Despite the fact that the majority of research involving metformin has been done on people with diabetes or prediabetes, it is unclear whether people without diabetes may also benefit from it.
How about side effects?
Metformin has an excellent safety profile. There may be mild side effects such as nausea, stomach upset, or diarrhea. Side effects that are more serious are rare. There are many types of allergic reactions, including lactic acidosis, a condition characterized by lactic acid buildup in the bloodstream. As a result, doctors tend to avoid prescribing metformin to patients with significant kidney disease.
Here’s the bottom line
Current diabetes guidelines recommend metformin as the first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. There are no serious side effects associated with it, and it’s relatively inexpensive.
Diabetes patients who need metformin to lower blood sugar will find its other potential benefits a wonderful – not harmful – side effect. In the event that you don’t have diabetes? Although it may slow aging, extend life expectancy and possibly prevent and treat diseases, its role is less clear.
This website is provided for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute providing medical advice or professional services. The information provided should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, and those seeking personal medical advice should consult with a licensed physician. Always seek the advice of your doctor or another qualified health provider regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. No physician-patient relationship is created by this website or its use. Neither the University nor its employees, nor any contributor to this website, makes any representations, express or implied, with respect to the information provided herein or to its use.