“Metformin Is Tied To Long-term Weight Loss In Prediabetes!”
“Diabetes Drug Metformin May Help Reverse Serious Heart Condition!”
“Metformin May Help Obese With Prediabetes Maintain Weight Loss!”
Those are just some of the attention-grabbing headlines that have been popping up for the last month or so. Should you take metformin if you have prediabetes? That seems to be the question of the hour according to my newsfeed. But what’s it all about? metformin, also called Glucophage, is a drug that people with type 2 diabetes take, not something for people with prediabetes, right?
Well…maybe. Read on.
Metformin has been available in the United States since the mid-’90s and is almost exclusively prescribed to patients with type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus. In the simplest of terms, metformin helps the body tell the liver to chill out on the sugar production which is a big problem in type 2 diabetes.
At the same time, metformin is helping to slow the production of sugar in the liver, it’s also partnering up with the insulin that your pancreas produces so help get all the excess sugar out of your bloodstream which lowers your blood glucose levels.
Metformin and Heart Disease
Recently, a study was conducted called the MET-REMODEL Trial where 68 people with an average age of 70 were given either a placebo (a pill with no active ingredient) or a 2000mg dose of metformin.
According to the study’s researchers, “Only the metformin group experienced improved LVH symptoms, reduced blood pressure, and significant weight loss.” LVH is short for left ventricular hypertrophy which is often associated with various heart conditions and high blood pressure.
What makes this outcome exciting is that if you’re able to reduce your high blood pressure during the early stages of LVH development, you can potentially reverse the disease!
In addition to the promising effect on LVH, in 2016 the Annals of Internal Medicine published a piece which reviewed over 200 studies touching 1.5 million participants that showed a 30-40% reduced risk of dying from heart disease in patients taking metformin! That’s a significant finding.
So what does this all mean for you? Should you be taking metformin if you have heart disease or a history of it in your family as well as prediabetes? It’s not considered a standard treatment at this time. But I would encourage you to have a conversation with your Primary Care Provider about this and other treatment options that could be appropriate for you.
New studies are coming out all the time and with this promising news about the beneficial side effects of metformin, we may well see the uses for this drug expand to include diseases beyond type 2 diabetes.
Metformin and Weight Loss
Right off that bat, let me tell you that none of the studies that I’ve read have come to the conclusion that metformin is a magical pill that produces instant or significant weight loss. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
So far the studies have shown that metformin may be a factor in long-term weight loss “after initial weight loss with lifestyle interventions, antiobesity drugs or devices, or bariatric surgery,” according to the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in April 2019.
It’s actually been observed for quite some time that people with type 2 diabetes who take metformin often lose weight. But recent studies are beginning to show that those without the condition also respond with a drop in weight when given metformin.
There is some debate over how metformin works to produce this drop in weight. Some researchers believe that metformin reduces appetite thereby reducing the overall overconsumption of food or calories which results in a drop in pounds.
Others believe that metformin changes the way that the body stores and uses fat making it more efficient and therefore less insulin resistant.
One thing that the medical community does seem to agree on is that taking metformin alone, in the absence of lifestyle changes may not be enough to cause or maintain weight loss.
So you still have to do the work of making changes to your eating habits or pattern and increasing your activity levels. So far, medicine has not conquered that hill. At least not yet!
So where does that leave you if you’ve got prediabetes and want to lose weight? As always, the first thing I would recommend is opening a dialogue with your healthcare provider and discuss your concerns and weight loss goals. They may be able to recommend resources or programs through their office, your employer, or partner programs that could be beneficial for you.
Beyond that, head back over the Sweet People Club blog and read How To Subtract Added Sugar From Your Diet and 65 Ways To Get More Active Every Day. If you begin by making small changes like the ones suggested in these two articles you can actually begin to lay the foundation to a healthier lifestyle. And you may begin to see that needle on the scale move to the left!
Should You Take Metformin If You Have Prediabetes?
That leads us right back to our original question, should you take metformin if you have prediabetes? Right now the answer to that is still up for debate. There is promising research out there that suggests that metformin may have uses beyond what it is currently approved and prescribed for. But we’re not quite there yet. So keep an open dialogue with your doctor and keep following us here at the Sweet People Club and we’ll keep an eye out for developments with this other treatments and therapies that support our community.