News & Research Medicine Pharmacy

Metformin – A 2019 Update: Trends, Usage, Benefits, Safety, Side Effects

Metformin - A 2019 Update: Trends, Usage, Benefits, Safety, Side Effects 17 MED4MIN.com Medical and Pharmaceutical News, Education and Fun News & Research, Medicine, Pharmacy
How about we cover what we know about metformin, what are the new trends and what other effects it hides?

Hello everybody!

As this is the first post on MED4MIN.com it had to be somewhat related to the name of the website. Isn’t that ironic.

If you are wondering – NO, the site won’t be about diabetes and metformin. Now that’s a relief.

A little introduction…

The articles on MED4MIN.com won’t be just about raw evidence and telegraph style representation of the information.

I want to break that web stereotype up a bit.

And just to say – I accept all sorts of critics on my spelling and grammar. It’s not my native language.

And now let’s jump to the very essence of the article…

As of the moment metformin is still mainly used for the treatment of diabetes type 2. And in fact it is pretty good at it. It is considered generally safe and effective in the therapy.

But how does it do that?

It’s still unclear as to what is the exact mechanism by which metformin reduces blood sugar. We just know that it reduces the amount of sugar released by the liver and it makes our bodies respond better to insulin, while slowing down the absorption of glucose in the gut. That’s great!

And yet, the very intimate mechanisms of those actions are not that well know. I will not try to explain them here because what science already knows is published on various renowned websites…

If you want to know the details – Check out what science knows so far!

What is more interesting is that people are starting to use it for other stuff as well… You’ll ask – what stuff and why?

New trends and findings on metformin…

I was a bit shocked when I read the following headline “Metformin for cancer prevention, longevity: popular in Silicon Valley“. At first I was like “Who in the right mind would do that?”.. And maybe your reaction was the same.

After doing a bit of research and reading a couple of other articles I also came across “Metformin may be cardioprotective in patients with coronary artery disease“.

It appears that more and more people are starting to use metformin for other reasons. What I’m asking myself here – “What are the mechanisms of those actions?”

Let’s look at some benefits found during clinical trials

We all know that inflammation and especially chronic inflammation is the reason for most of our health related problems. And is the cause for developing other illnesses and conditions.

What is interesting about Metformin is that it has a positive effect on inflammation. What is or are the mechanisms?

  • It has a direct effect on NK-kb, which is a protein complex that has a key role in the immune response. Incorrect regulation of this protein is linked to cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Read more.
  • It helps in the differentiation (transformation) of monocytes into macrophages – important cells, part of our immune system, that “eat” pathogens (other bad cells and microorganisms – the bad guys).
  • It was found that metformin suppresses cytokines from these and old macrophages – slowing down inflammation. Cytokines are signaling molecules that promote inflammation.
  • Stay with me…
  • Consistent with this, metformin suppresses the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in type 2 diabetes. NLR is a marker of inflammation that has recently been found to be a predictor of all-cause mortality and cardiac events.
  • It has also recently been discovered that metformin suppresses a specific cytokine C-C motif chemokine 11 (CCL11), which has previously been found to contribute to age-related cellular and tissue dysfunction.

Those are all facts posted here and a few other places. I am not making them up! And isn’t that great! It appears a drug for treating one condition could be used for so much more.

The reason why I believe the stated from the posted above headlines from CNBC and MedicineMatters is due to those recently discovered facts. And there is much more coming our way – I hope!

So it seems to be some sort of miracle drug… But is it?

And is it safe taking it without having diabetes?

Let’s first see what history has to say about this…

The first reported use of metformin dates back in 1918 right after the First World War or just about as it was ending. Then doctors used the precursor of metformin to lower blood sugar.

It was found in the plant Galega officinalis (also known as goat’s rue), traditional herbal medicine in Europe, in which scientists back then found guanidine. From which later they derived metformin.

Guanidine’s derivatives – metformin, phenformin, and buformin were put to trial but discontinued due to high toxicity. Until 1957 when this property was pursued by the French physician Jean Sterne, who first reported the use of metformin to treat diabetes. However, they were again quickly and generally discontinued in the late 1970s due to high risk of lactic acidosis.

After more trials showing the benefits of metformin use on diabetes treatment, it was again put to use in 1995.

Despite being put on and off a couple of times, metformin has become the preferred first-line oral blood-glucose-lowering agent to manage type 2 diabetes.

But the side effects and danger of high doses or abuse are very real!

The most common side effects of metformin are:

  • Digestive problems, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and flatulence
  • A vitamin B-12 deficiency
  • Slight weight loss

But some of the more dangerous are:

  • It could cause blood glucose levels to drop too low, and the medical term for this is hypoglycemia.
  • And lactic acidosis – the build-up of lactic acid in the body.

..both life-threatening conditions.

Now you don’t know if you should take it or not?

So many benefits… but that was a bit scary with the “life-threatening conditions”…

I will put it like this…

For people, suffering from diabetes type 2, there is absolutely no problem in taking metformin. Just know your doses – perfectly explained here.

For everybody else.. taking any medication without the actual need to do so, is just toying with your health. Either consult your doctor.. or just don’t do it!

Hope you liked my first article! If so – Like, Comment, Share and prepare for more!

Sources on the next page!

Did you find this useful?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

About the author: Ivan Nankov
Hello and greetings from Bulgaria. I am still a medical student but in my final years of study - 5th year, 1 to go - that is both great and a bit frightening. I have always wanted to have a website/blog where I can write some articles, share some views, comment and give my opinion on other articles, news, videos etc. And mostly a place where that can stick and not just sink down the timeline of some social network. I have lots of interests and am going to share most of them here. You can ask me anything on my facebook, instagram, the contact me page and so on. And, yes, blogs may be a bit oldschool as I hear from people, but who cares... 😀 Stick around, I bet you'll find something interesting to read.
Share this:

Comment via Facebook

What Do You Think?

Use Imgur to upload and share images! Just copy the link!

Get Connected!

Come and join our community. Expand your network and get to know new people!

No comments yet

Newsletter

Email notifications on some new posts?

Why not? You can turn them off anytime!

I agree to the terms & conditions

Want To Join The Club?

#MED4MIN.community

The latest on My MED4MIN.com