Do you want to lose weight?
Do you want to live longer?
Could a single supplement tighten your waistline and lengthen your lifespan?
Metformin is a tried-and-trusted medication that controls blood sugar in diabetics.
This well tolerated med has emerged with a new proposed indication: anti-aging.
Researchers hypothesize that metformin may be able to halt a wide range of age-associated diseases, from cancer to cardiovascular disease. In fact, a search of ClinicalTrials.gov reveals over 100 ongoing studies examining metformin as prevention and treatment for cancer.
Metformin has been shown to extend the lives of mice (Martin-Montalvo et. al.).
Well, that's great for mice, but do these anti-aging wonders translate to humans, too?
Diabetes is reversible.
Taking metformin in conjunction with an improved diet and increased exercise can reverse diabetes. Yes, you read correctly: reverse diabetes. Unfortunately, critical counseling about nutrition and physical activity is all-too-often neglected by healthcare providers. Thus, many diagnosed with type 2 diabetes incorrectly believe that diabetes is permanent. In most cases it's not.
Why do diabetics love metformin?
Metformin promotes weight loss. In fact, metformin is the first-line medication for prevention and treatment of diabetes!
A pill that makes the pounds disappear?
Yes! And without destroying your lungs like Fen-Phen!
How does it work?
Metformin produces numerous effects on metabolism. Two of these effects are decreasing hunger and increasing insulin sensitivity. The former acts to reduce the number of calories you consume, while the latter decreases the amount of circulating insulin, thereby shifting the body from conserving energy to burning energy.
Does metformin facilitate weight loss for overweight people who are NOT diabetic?
Yes, metformin is an effective weight loss tool even for non-diabetics (Seifarth et al.). On average, those treated with metformin lost 5 more kilos than those given placebo, over a six month period. That's 11 pounds!
What is aging and how can it be controlled?
Campbell et. al. describes aging as "progressive damage at a cellular and organ level as prevention and repair mechanism begin to break down."
Is metformin able to halt this cellular damage?
Researchers are hopeful.
The FDA has approved a final stage clinical trial for metformin for the indication of extending life: Metformin in Longevity Study (MILES). The study explores "Whether treatment with metformin will restore the gene expression profile of older adults with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) to that of young healthy subjects."
How exactly does metformin do it?
Numerous mechanisms have been proposed (Campbell et. al.):
- Decrease insulin and IGF-1 signaling
- Reduce inflammation
- Decrease formation of oxygen radicals
- Reduce DNA damage
In examining all of the metformin studies they could access, Campbell and his team compared the effects of metformin on diabetics compared with age-matched controls who don't have diabetes and don't take metformin.
The result may astonish you.
Diabetics who take metformin live longer than non-diabetics who don't take metformin (Campbell et. al.).
Metformin is by prescription only.
Metformin should be used with caution in anyone with kidney disease.
Do not take metformin without first discussing the benefits and risks with your healthcare provider.
Is metformin right for you?
Schedule a consultation
Campbell, Jared M. et. al. "Metformin reduces all-cause mortality and diseases of ageing independent of its effect on diabetes control: A systematic review and meta-analysis" Ageing Research Reviews. Vol 40, Nov 2017, Pg 31-44.
Metformin in Longevity Study (MILES) <https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02432287>
Martin-Montalvo, Alejandro et. al. "Metformin improves healthspan and lifespan in mice" Nat Commun. 2013; 4: 2192. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736576/>
Seifarth, C. et. al. "Effectiveness of metformin on weight loss in non-diabetic individuals with obesity."
Cover image from <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1172810/The-yoga-supergran-bend-backwards-age-83.html>