Can Metformin Help with Weight Loss?
An AgelessRx expert explains
Learn more from Dr. Sajad Zalzala, MD
This is Dr. Z, Chief Medical Officer, at AgelessRx. I get asked all the time, can Metformin help with weight loss? Yes, certainly can. Although it’s not approved specifically for weight loss, it’s been shown to help. And I find that true with a lot of my patients as well.
There’s many different ways that Metformin is thought to help with weight loss. One way is that it helps with insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is where your body makes enough insulin, but the cells, especially the muscle cells, just don’t listen anymore to the signal. So Metformin overcomes that and allows the muscles to more efficiently take up the extra glucose and therefore allows you to burn it off more easily.
The other way that it helps is by reducing the amount of sugar or glucose that the liver gives off, known as hepatic gluconeogenesis. So by reducing that, then you’re reducing the amount of glucose in your circulation.
Another reason that it seems to help is because patients who are on Metformin, sometimes they email me and say, “Hey, I don’t feel like eating that extra piece of pie after dinner. It just tastes too sweet to me.” And I’ve actually noticed that myself when I started taking Metformin; That I just can’t tolerate sweets like before. And I get that from a lot of patients. So there are variety of different ways that Metformin can assist.
Of course, it’s not a miracle drug. The patient still has to do their part. Healthy, well balanced, preferably low carb diet, good amount of exercise. You got to put those muscles to work, kind of burn off that extra of glucose that’s not being up taken. And of course, stress management, sleep management, just living a good lifestyle.
This is Dr. Z, Chief Medical Officer with AgelessRx. Check out our blog article, AgelessRx.com.
For decades, Metformin has been the bona-fide, first-line treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes: not only is it available in a convenient, daily tablet, but it’s also among the most well tolerated medications of its type, with little incidence of adverse side effects and very minor common side effects. For this reason, it is also one of the most prescribed medications in the United States.
Researchers and physicians have noted the numerous additional benefits of Metformin while observing clinical data over the years, which partly explains why Metformin is touted lately as a “miracle drug.” While we don’t subscribe to this claim at all (which we’ll talk more about later), it’s still difficult to ignore all of the additional benefits of Metformin.
One of these observations is notable weight loss in patients, including those who do not have type 2 diabetes, which has led more and more people to seek out Metformin when looking for healthy ways to help initiate weight loss and manage their ideal weight.
Even with so much ongoing research, Metformin can still be a complicated medication to understand, and with all this overwhelming information, it’s easy to ask yourself: does Metformin really help with weight loss? If so, how? Is it the real deal, or just another weight-loss trend?
Don’t worry, we know it can be difficult to navigate the wealth of information – just like you, countless people are also interested in Metformin for weight loss and turn to many different sources before finding us. In fact, our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sajad Zalzala, receives questions like these from his patients all the time, which is why we turned to help answer some of the most common questions about Metformin and weight loss.
Can Metformin help with weight loss?
To put it simply – yes!
Metformin is a safe and healthy way to facilitate weight loss, even for patients without risk or incidence of type 2 diabetes. Most studies generally suggest about 3-5lbs of weight loss. However, there are others that point to an even larger weight loss. In fact, a seminal study on Metformin for weight loss in non-diabetic patients found that, in a 6-month period, Metformin prompted up to 15lbs of weight loss. Meanwhile, the control group in this study actually gained weight on average.
Our patient data similarly suggests the efficacy of Metformin for weight loss: about 50-60% of those taking Metformin in our studies report weight loss, which is consistent with other weight loss medications.
Metformin can be an effective part of your weight-loss plan when administered and managed by your doctor, even if you’re not diabetic.
Is Metformin FDA-approved for weight loss?
While these results are nothing short of exciting, it should be noted that Metformin is only FDA-approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes and is not currently approved for weight loss.
However, you shouldn’t let that discourage you when considering Metformin for weight loss. In truth, many of the medications we use every day are likely not approved for that particular use!
Take ibuprofen, for example. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication that is FDA approved for pain relief and fever reduction. But your doctor will still prescribe ibuprofen to treat a variety of other symptoms, such as swelling. Just because ibuprofen isn’t FDA approved to reduce swelling doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe or ineffective to use for those purposes.
The same is true of Metformin: the available scientific data similarly reinforces its prescription as a weight loss aid, and we have a myriad of positive patient testimonials to show for it!
How does Metformin work for weight loss?
Metformin addresses weight loss in several distinct aspects.
- Insulin Sensitivity
Perhaps chief among these is Metformin’s effect on insulin resistance. Insulin resistance occurs when our bodies make enough insulin, but our cells – especially our muscle cells – stop responding the way they normally would (as if they are developing a tolerance, or resistance, to insulin, ignoring its signal). Metformin has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which causes our cells to be more responsive to insulin. This allows our muscles to absorb glucose more efficiently and, in turn, allows us to burn glucose more efficiently.
- Reduced Glucose
Another way Metformin can help with weight loss is by reducing the overall amount of sugar, or glucose, that your liver gives off by way of a process known as hepatic gluconeogenesis. This process leads to a further reduction in the amount of glucose let into your circulatory system (that is, your bloodstream), which is a healthy way to encourage weight loss in non-diabetics.
- Reduced Cravings
Additionally, Metformin has been shown to reduce sugar cravings. Patients taking Metformin often report that they have much less of an appetite for sweet treats, or that certain foods taste way too sweet for them – and in turn, they have less of a desire for those diet-killing midnight snacks.
This final aspect alone could help anyone maintain a healthy weight for years to come. But the combination of these three key processes is what makes Metformin so effective.
Are you curious if Metformin is right for you? Our dedicated longevity experts are available to answer your questions.
Is Metformin really a miracle drug?
Let’s get one thing straight – Metformin is no miracle drug.
The reason we say that is because phrases like this make it seem as if we can lay back and let the medication do the weight loss for us.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While it’s true that Metformin can certainly help with weight loss, we definitely shouldn’t go back to bad habits. As with any weight loss journey, commitment is key, and there are at least three habits that we need to maintain consistently to get the results we’re looking for.
- Maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet, for example, is a must. Sticking to a low-carb diet can also help to reduce glucose spikes, which is another fantastic way to help facilitate weight loss. But so long as you plan your meals routinely and keep your diet free of junk food and sugary drinks, you’ll be on the right track.
- Exercising regularly is also necessary. After all, how else are you going to put those muscles to work and burn off any extra glucose?
- Finally, we have stress management – or, as Dr. Z calls it, just living a good lifestyle – as this involves a wide range of lifestyle choices that collectively reduce our stress and allow our bodies to work more efficiently. These include getting plenty of sleep, taking daily mental health breaks, meditating, and generally limiting your body’s fight or flight response.
How to stay up-to-date on Metformin
As we said, there’s plenty of existing research on Metformin, with more emerging sometimes faster than we can keep up. And of course, all the ‘miracle-drug’ talk in these less-than-medical journals can make it even more difficult to get the latest on Metformin.
At AgelessRx, we try to make this easy by providing you with the latest news on all things longevity, including discussions of the most current findings on Metformin, with the help of Dr. Z and the rest of our medical experts.
Keep up with our blog, explore the rest of our longevity treatments, and find out more about the benefits of Metformin and glucose management.
The power to take control of your health is at your fingertips. Begin your free medical evaluation to get started with Metformin.
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