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Aging is inevitable and can affect many aspects of your health and lifestyle. Aging can be accompanied by stiff joints, decreased energy, increased susceptibility to disease, and much more. In addition, the elderly are much more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, have strokes, and develop cancer. In recent years, antiaging products and therapies have been a hot topic and become more popular.
Many anti aging products are currently available. They offer a variety of benefits, including improved skin color and cell health, better fitness, and less joint pain. One of the products that is getting more and more attention is the drug metformin. But can this drug really offer benefits to slow the aging process?
What is metformin?
Metformin is generally used by people with type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar levels.
This drug works by reducing the amount of sugar, also known as glucose, that is released by the liver. Metformin not only lowers total sugar levels in the blood, but also increases insulin sensitivity.
Insulin sensitivity is the ability of insulin to draw glucose from the blood into cells. A low insulin sensitivity correlates with a decreased insulin effectiveness and an increased blood sugar level. Metformin can take four to five days to take for best results. It is often used in conjunction with diet changes and exercise programs.
How does metformin work?
Metformin belongs to a class of drugs known as biguanides, which block the production of glucose in the liver.
The body converts glucose into glycogen so that it can be stored in the body over the long term. The liver contains stores of glycogen, and when the body is low on energy this can cause the liver to break down glycogen to produce glucose.
The liver also produces large amounts of glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis. This process creates glucose by breaking down sources such as amino acids, lactate and glycerin in addition to carbohydrates.
In general, this process works fine. However, in type 2 diabetes, the effectiveness of insulin is reduced. The body has problems drawing glucose from the blood and transporting it to the cells. Insulin is released from the pancreas. If the cells do not allow glucose to enter, this is known as low insulin sensitivity. With prolonged duration, this leads to chronically elevated blood sugar levels, worsening diabetes, and a host of other health problems.
How popular is metformin?
Metformin is used by around 120 million people around the world. Its wide availability, lack of serious side effects, and affordable cost contribute to its use. This drug is growing in popularity because of the various other benefits it can provide.
Why should you take metformin for antiaging treatment?
As we age, various health problems can arise when the body breaks down. While aging itself cannot be viewed as a disease, it is linked to a variety of other processes that can lead to significant health conditions and lower your life expectancy. Diseases are a particularly strong contributor to the death rate in industrialized and developed countries.
Because of this, slowing the aging process down can help reduce the risk of potentially harmful diseases and conditions being diagnosed in the future.
While metformin is primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes, research has shown that it can protect the body from a variety of other diseases as well.
Some of these are cancer, inflammation, cognitive decline, dementia, diabetic nephropathy, and many more.
In addition to its protective effects, metformin has been shown to extend life and promote longevity.
Studies in humans have confirmed preliminary results from animal experiments. In particular, several studies have examined diabetics and cardiovascular patients and have shown that metformin increases life expectancy, reduces frailty, and reduces the risk of dementia and memory loss.
Metformin has been studied extensively and there have been many positive results. Here are the most notable ones.
1. Metformin: A Hopeful Promise in Old Age
Research by Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. Published 2016
In recent years, many drugs have been found to have antiaging properties and show promise in promoting life extension. One of these drugs is metformin. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med has completed an extensive review of various studies examining metformin's ability to slow the aging process.
The authors found that metformin produced a range of therapeutic effects, and this profile makes it an ideal candidate for promoting reverse aging effects. Initial tests were carried out on worms, mice, flies and rats. Many studies in these populations have shown significant improvements in lifespan with long-term use of metformin. The same benefits have been seen in humans.
2. Reusing Metformin: An old drug with new tricks in its binding pockets
Researched by Biochem J. Published 2015
In 2015, an article published in the Biochemical Journal examined the use of metformin as an antiaging strategy. The authors examined the cellular processes and effects of metformin throughout the body. They also collected data from many studies on insects, animals, and humans.
After reviewing all of the available data, they found that there was evidence from multiple organisms showing significant potential for using metformin as an antiaging strategy. While researching many of the potential benefits of metformin, the authors noted that there are many others that are likely yet to be discovered and that more research is needed to determine the full range of benefits metformin can offer.
3. Metformin – Do We Finally Have An Antiaging Drug?
Researched by cell cycle. Released 2013
In 2013, Vladimir Anisimov published a study examining the role of metformin in the aging process. The author found that there are nine characteristics of aging in mammals, including genomic instability, dysfunction of mitochondria, destruction of stem cells, decreased cell-to-cell communication, and others.
He also described that it appears that metformin can positively affect all nine of these factors. Some potential metformin benefits found in studies include improved DNA formation and repair, decreased cell mutation rates, decreased cell stress, and more. Anisimov also notes that in addition to having antiaging potential, metformin also holds promise in its ability to slow or stop the progression of cancer.
4. Metformin as a tool for targeted aging
Researched by Cell Metab. Published 2016
Given the evidence supporting metformin as an antiaging drug, four authors suggested a study design to further evaluate the potential benefits of this drug. The authors found that the most important outcome to be assessed was the health span, that is, the time in a person's life when they are fully functional and free from chronic diseases.
The authors emphasize the various bodily processes that metformin can benefit from, including decreased insulin levels, decreased DNA damage and improved repair, decreased inflammation and cell self-destruction, and much more. However, there is still uncertainty as to the method of action, whether metformin affects several pathways and systems at the same time or only affects a single pathway that also affects other processes.
Initial studies, particularly in rodents, showed promising results and showed a 14 percent increase in lifespan when metformin was taken at the beginning of life. Other studies have shown similar increases that range between four and 20 percent.
However, not all studies had positive results on lifespan. However, after looking at the results, it appears that the range of benefits is related to the metformin dose provided. This has shown researchers the importance of establishing an effective dose that is non-toxic to the human body. After reviewing all clinical studies, the authors found that a dose of up to 1,600 to 1,700 milligrams per day is the maximum dose needed to achieve the desired results.
5. TAME: Targeting aging with metformin
Researched by the American Federation for Aging Research. The process is ongoing
The TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin) study is an ongoing research project based on the outlines and results of the previous study. In this study design, 3,000 people between 65 and 79 years of age are enrolled for assessment. The expected completion date for the study is August 2024, which will take a total of six years. There are currently 14 different locations in the United States that have been secured and are involved in the study.
By administering metformin to these people, researchers can then evaluate outcomes related to heart disease, cancer, dementia, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and mortality. The aim of the study is to obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration for metformin as a usable treatment with benefits that are directly related to aging.
Every drug has side effects, and metformin is no different. This drug can have other effects on the body, including the following:
While taking metformin, this can cause all exercises to fail to produce results
One potential problem with metformin is its effect on exercise. A 2018 study looked at the potential effects of metformin and exercise when used together. It is known that exercise has protective effects on the heart and lungs and improves insulin sensitivity. Exercise can reduce the incidence of heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and more.
However, when using metformin in conjunction with exercise, the researchers found that the typical effects of exercise were reduced. The study comprised two groups. Both groups received the same training, but only one group received metformin treatment in addition to training.
The group that only did sports showed improvements in insulin sensitivity and better respiratory function. However, metformin reduced the extent to which these benefits were seen. For this reason, more research needs to be done to determine whether metformin has an antagonistic effect on exercise.
This can lead to B12 problems. You can take a B12 supplement to counteract this.
Another potential problem with metformin is that it permanently negatively affects your body's ability to absorb vitamin B12. This vitamin plays a vital role in maintaining brain function, preventing dementia, improving arterial health, and regenerating damaged and destroyed cells.
If you decide to take metformin, it is important that you are taking a good quality vitamin B12 supplement, preferably in the methylated form. This ensures that your body is still able to receive a sufficient amount of this nutrient, negating any possible negative effects.
When should you not take metformin?
Metformin is contraindicated if you are suffering from various health conditions. You should not use metformin if you have moderate to severe kidney disease, advanced liver disease, metabolic acidosis, or diabetic ketoacidosis. In addition, you shouldn't take metformin if you need an X-ray or CT scan that involves injecting dye into your veins.
Metformin is broken down in the kidneys and this can lead to impaired kidney function if the drug is used long-term or in high doses.
For this reason, you should avoid taking metformin if you have severe kidney problems or if you are receiving dyes that the kidneys need to break down. Metformin also affects liver health by blocking certain enzymes that affect functionality. We'll discuss more about the effects of acidosis later.
Metformin generally causes mild side effects. Usually less than other similar drugs
Compared to many other drugs used for similar purposes, metformin has very few side effects and is fairly safe to take. However, there are still many people who stop taking this drug for various reasons.
Metformin puts little or no strain on many internal organs, is not associated with weight gain, and is one of the cheapest diabetes drugs on the market.
The main side effects noted have a negative effect on the gastrointestinal tract. Although these minor side effects may discourage people from taking this drug.
possible side effects
Some of the most common side effects that may occur with the use of metformin are:
- stomach pain
Possible Serious Side Effects
This drug has a black box warning. This is the most serious warning the Food and Drug Administration has issued regarding medication. This warning alerts patients to possible drug effects that can be dangerous and cause serious harm.
The main serious side effect that may be observed with the use of metformin is lactic acidosis.
Lactic acidosis occurs when lactic acid builds up in the blood. Lactic acid is a by-product of energy production in low oxygen cases.
When metformin is broken down in the body, this drug works by blocking gluconeogenesis in the liver to prevent the production of extra glucose. As part of this step, an enzyme known as pyruvate carboxylase is inhibited, and this leads to the build up of lactic acid in the bloodstream. Metformin can also inhibit the breakdown of lactic acid and further increase blood levels. If left untreated, lactic acidosis can cause confusion, liver failure, difficulty breathing, weakness, cramping, rapid heart rate, and even death.
The FDA has also issued a number of warnings regarding metformin use:
- Do not take metformin with alcohol. Alcohol can increase the risk of lactic acidosis from metformin by inhibiting liver function. Alcohol can also raise or lower blood sugar levels due to its high sugar content and poor nutritional value.
- Do not take metformin if you have moderate to severe kidney injury or disease. Metformin inhibits kidney function and, if left untreated, can lead to failure of several organ systems. Renal impairment can also increase the risk of lactic acidosis.
- Do not take metformin if you have liver problems. Liver disease is a risk factor for lactic acidosis. Metformin inhibits liver function and can lead to liver failure.
The dose of metformin that you will be prescribed will depend on the type and severity of the disease you are treating with metformin. Your age, the type of medication you are taking, and any other existing health conditions that you have been diagnosed with will all play a role in your dosage. It also depends on what you are taking metformin for. Diabetes or anti aging purposes.
In many cases, your provider will start with a low starting dose of metformin. This dosage can then be changed and adjusted over time to ensure the correct benefits are being achieved. It is common to use the lowest dosage possible to produce the desired effects. Older patients are often given lower doses and kidney function is often inhibited. This can lead to decreased drug clearance and increased or toxic levels in the blood.
There are two different forms of metformin that you may be prescribed: regular release and extended release. The extended release version is often better tolerated by many people, since the effects are spread over several hours. However, some people may need the regular dose if they have particularly high levels of glucose after a meal.
Metformin is the generic form of this drug. There is also a branded version of this drug with the immediate release form called Glucophage. The extended release forms are Glucophage XR, Fortamet, and Glumetza.
The immediate release form is available in dosages of 500 milligrams, 850 milligrams, and 1,000 milligrams. Each of these is taken orally in pill form. The prolonged release tablets are supplied in doses of 500 milligrams, 750 milligrams and 1000 milligrams.
For adults, the most common starting dose is either 500 milligrams twice a day or 850 milligrams once a day with meals. This dosage can be increased up to 2,550 milligrams per day, and all dosages above 2,000 milligrams must be divided into three doses per day.
Extended-release drugs often start once in the evening at a dose of 500 milligrams. This dosage can be increased up to 2,000 milligrams daily in two doses.
In children between 10 and 17 years of age, the majority of patients use only immediate-release tablets. The typical starting dose is 500 milligrams taken twice a day, with the maximum dosage being 2,000 milligrams per day. This drug has not been studied in children under 10 years of age and should not be used by them until further research has been done.
Always talk to your doctor
Metformin is not an over-the-counter drug, so it must be prescribed by a doctor.
If you think metformin is a good option for you, it is important to speak to your doctor as they will help you figure out if this drug is right for you.
This drug can react with other drugs and cause serious side effects and health problems. Because of this, your doctor can speak to you and assess your current health, prescription and non-prescription medications, and possible future health diagnoses. This will help you better understand the potential benefits of metformin and determine if they are relevant to your specific situation.
The benefits of metformin in terms of treating type 2 diabetes are well known. The various other possible uses for this drug are becoming more established through various studies. Metformin for anti aging has become increasingly popular.
Current research suggests that metformin may provide a number of benefits, including:
- Reduced incidence of cancer and heart disease
- Decreased inflammation
- Slowed cognitive decline and progression of dementia
- Improved cellular communication and repair
While more studies may still be needed to confirm the results, establish the correct dosages, and ensure safety, there is definitely potential for this drug to be used to slow the aging process. The TAME study currently underway should provide significant evidence of the potential benefits of this drug. In the years to come, metformin may be more widely used and used to slow the aging process and increase lifespan.