Metformin may be the first prescription your doctor suggests if you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. According to studies, it aids in blood sugar regulation and improves the body’s utilization of its insulin.
Many patients who take the medicine lose weight, according to studies. This is in contrast to several other diabetes medications, some of which might lead to weight gain. It’s one of the reasons why metformin can benefit people who are overweight and at risk for type 2 diabetes. However, the drug isn’t classified as a weight-loss aid.
It’s not simple to lose weight, especially if you have a lot of it to lose. And if you’re frustrated, you’ve most likely looked into a variety of support choices. Metformin weight loss has been reported, but is it a true side effect of this diabetes medication? Let’s take a look at what’s going on here.
What exactly is metformin?
Metformin is a diabetes medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D). Metformin is used to reduce blood sugar levels in patients who are unable to achieve their goals with diet and exercise alone. It is considered by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to be the best first-line diabetes treatment for diabetics.
Metformin mechanism of action
Metformin begins its activity in the intestines. According to some scientists, it disrupts the natural bacteria balance in your digestive tract. It also activates enzymes that aid in the efficient utilization of fat by the body.
Metformin is also being studied to see how it causes weight loss. Digestion problems are a common side effect since it affects gut bacteria. As a result, one early hypothesis was that stomach pain made people lose their desire and eat less, or that diarrhea led them to lose water weight. However, the majority of these adverse effects subside after a few weeks. Metformin users who dropped weight did so for a long time.
Metformin’s effects on the intestines may suppress hunger, which is a more likely reason. It may cause your body to produce more leptin, a hormone that makes you feel full. You eat less since your hunger isn’t working overtime.
The weight you lose on the medicine comes primarily from fat storage, rather than the mix of fat and lean muscle that occurs when you diet. Metformin users also had reduced waist measures and waist-to-hip ratios, two methods of determining body fat.
Metformin is a weight-loss drug
Metformin is used to reduce blood glucose (sugar) levels. It accomplishes this in three different ways. It lowers glucose synthesis in the liver for starters. Second, it slows the absorption of glucose in the intestines. Third, it improves insulin sensitivity, which aids the body’s glucose processing.
It’s unlikely that you’ll drop much weight. In one diabetes preventive trial, 29 percent of participants dropped 5% or more of their body weight, but only 8% lost roughly 10%. That amounted to around 5 pounds on average. If you’re overweight, that may be enough to start improving your health, but it won’t be enough to make a significant difference. For someone who needs to drop 30 pounds or more, metformin isn’t going to make a difference.
In addition to those who took the medicine, a group of persons made dietary and activity adjustments. Just over half of those who dropped the weight on metformin kept it off over the next 14 years, but almost half of those who lost the same amount of weight through diet and exercise did as well. Metformin’s long-term weight loss success rate is similar to that of lifestyle changes, which have additional health benefits such as increasing heart health.
Precautions when consuming metformin
The FDA has issued a black box warning for metformin. Metformin may increase the risk of lactic acidosis, a potentially fatal disease. This difficulty is exacerbated by several medical disorders. If you have or have ever had any of the following conditions, be careful to tell your healthcare provider:
- renal failure
- heart attack or any other type of heart disease
- Ketoacidosis in diabetics
- liver ailment
If you consume alcoholic beverages, be open and honest about your drinking habits, especially binge drinking. Lactic acidosis is made more likely by drinking alcohol.
Metformin side effects
Metformin is generally well tolerated, however, it might cause side effects. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms while taking metformin, in addition to the ones listed under precautions:
- Bloating, gas indigestion, heartburn, and constipation are all symptoms of diarrhea.
- metallic flavor
- Changes in the fingernails or toenails as a result of a headache
If you get chest pain or a rash while taking metformin, seek immediate medical attention. It could be a symptom of an allergic reaction or something more serious.
Metformin, then, is a drug that is used to treat or prevent diabetes, not to help people lose weight. Any weight loss should be viewed as a welcome bonus. Metformin also isn’t a replacement for a healthy diet and consistent exercise. Experts advise that anyone starting the medication do both of these things at the same time.