Have you ever wondered why certain pharmaceuticals are called “wonder drugs”?
Some drugs, like insulin for type 1 diabetes and medicines for pneumonia, command high prices because of the significant health advantages they give for a specific ailment. Or it might be due to the medicine’s versatility; for example, aspirin is commonly referred to be a “wonder drug” due to its ability to cure or prevent cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
Is it possible that metformin will be added? Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, it has effectively treated type 2 diabetes in adults and children over the age of 10. Interest in its use to delay or halt the effects of aging, among other disorders, has increased in recent years. We all age. If that’s the case, calling it a “wonder drug” would be too modest.
What is metformin?
Metformin has been around for hundreds of years. In European countries, Galega officinalis was a well-liked remedy for gastrointestinal and urinary issues. One of its components, guanidine, was found by a scientist in 1918 to have the ability to reduce blood sugar levels. Guanidine was used to generate the diabetes drugs metformin and phenformin. However, they lost popularity with the discovery of insulin and the terrible side effects induced by phenformin.
In the 1950s, metformin was rediscovered and given the green light as a therapy for diabetes in Europe. 1995 it finally gained FDA clearance for sale in the United States. Since then, it’s been the first line of treatment for those with diabetes whose blood sugar is unmanageable by diet and exercise alone.
Possible uses of metformin outside of diabetes
Metformin’s benefits to people with diabetes extend beyond its ability to reduce blood sugar levels; this has been recognized for decades. They should expect improved cardiovascular health and a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular causes. And in some instances, it aids in the reduction of diabetes-related obesity.
People who don’t have diabetes may potentially benefit from taking metformin. It has long been used “off-label” or for purposes other than those doctors initially intended.
- Prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition characterized by raised blood sugar levels that do not yet meet the criteria for diabetes. Metformin users with prediabetes may be able to delay or even prevent the onset of diabetes.
- Diabetic pregnancies. Elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy are expected but often normalize after birth. Diabetes during pregnancy is manageable with metformin.
- PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome. Multiple ovarian cysts are a common symptom of this illness, primarily affecting young women. Infrequent menstrual cycles and reproductive issues are typical. Metformin has been administered for years to assist in regulating menstruation, fertility, and increased blood sugar in women with PCOS, despite conflicting outcomes from clinical research.
- Antipsychotic medication-induced weight gain. Potent drugs called antipsychotics are used to treat mental disorders, including schizophrenia. Gaining a lot of weight is a typical negative impact. Weight gain while taking these medicines may be mitigated by taking metformin.
Additionally, researchers are examining metformin’s capacity to
- Protect people with type 2 diabetes from developing cancer. Breast, colon, and prostate cancer are just a few examples.
- Reduces your risk of having a stroke or getting dementia. Researchers have shown that persons with diabetes who take metformin have a decreased risk of cognitive decline, dementia, and stroke than those who do not.
- Reduce the aging process, forestall age-related diseases, and lengthen life expectancy. Metformin has been shown in preliminary trials to have antioxidant properties, improve blood vessel health, and extend longevity by making the body more insulin sensitive.
Most studies on metformin have only involved individuals with diabetes or prediabetes, so it’s unknown whether the drug’s advantages are confined to those with the disease or if those who don’t have diabetes might also reap some of the same rewards.
Metformin is safe. Nausea, stomachache, and diarrhea are moderate side effects. Serious adverse effects are uncommon. Lactic acidosis and severe allergic responses are examples. Doctors avoid metformin for those with severe renal disease because of this risk.
Finally, the bottom line
Metformin is recommended as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes by current diabetic guidelines. Its possible adverse effects are known, and it doesn’t cost too much.
If you have diabetes and use metformin to control your blood sugar levels, any other health advantages you may get are a pleasant bonus. What if you do not have diabetes, though? Its function in illness prevention and treatment, and maybe even in retarding the aging process and increasing longevity, is less specific.
While the results of this study are encouraging, further rigorous testing is required before we can recommend it for broad usage in the general population. Clinical researchers looking to convert an existing medication into a new miracle drug could do well to begin with metformin.