For decades, it’s been prescribed for Type 2 diabetes.
Some years back, doctors began noticing something strange about diabetic patients taking it.
These patients were living longer than non-diabetics.
That doesn’t make sense.
Diabetes itself often leads to blindness, foot amputation, and death. Also, it’s a “gateway” disease. Diabetics are at much higher risk of both cancer and heart disease.
So, diabetes is quite dangerous, but patients taking this particular medicine remained alive for longer than doctors expected – 15% longer than non-diabetics.
The Anti-Aging Community Thought They’d Found the Fountain of Not-Aging
The news about this medicine spread quickly.
And it made sense.
With Type 2 diabetes, the patient’s metabolism is unable to deal quickly and efficiently with sugar digested from the food they eat.
Their insulin does what it can to make muscle cells accept the sugar – so the cells can burn it for energy – but diabetics have high resistance to insulin.
Therefore, the blood of diabetics generally holds too much sugar.
This is harmful because chronically high quantities of blood sugar hurt tissues – especially the linings of blood vessels and nerves.
All of us have SOME degree of insulin resistance. All of us have higher than-optimal levels of blood sugar, at least on occasion.
Therefore, ALL of us are at some risk of suffering damage from high blood sugar.
Diabetics are simply people in whom the process is far enough advanced they need medical intervention.
But people who want to live forever aren’t satisfied until they’ve done EVERYTHING to stop – and even reverse – the aging process.
Which includes high blood sugar.
Because this medicine reduces blood sugar-related damage, it seems to promise great value for everyone taking it.
Therefore, why shouldn’t everyone take it, to slow the aging caused by high blood sugar?
It’s Still a Prescription Medicine
It’s very cheap, costing less than supplements. But it’s still a medicine.
To doctors, it has what they call a high “safety profile.”
That means that – for a prescription medicine- it’s not likely to kill you right away or even soon. But it does have potential side effects.
And, to doctors, a high safety profile means the side effects are worth its benefits – at least when used as prescribed, which is for diabetes – not aging.
Side Effects Include:
* Gastrointestinal irritation
* Increased flatulence
Not much fun, but better than going blind, right?
Until recently, many anti-agers were willing to suffer the side effects to live longer.
That view may be changing, though, thanks to some new study results.
By now, you’ve probably guessed the medicine is:
(Brand name: Glucophage)
Discovered in 1922, doctors in France began using it to treat diabetics in 1957. American doctors started in 1995.
It comes from French lilac or goat’s rue (Galega officinalis), which has been used in folk medicines for several hundred years.
Life Span Lengthening
In 2008, researchers published a paper showing mice on Metformin had a 37.8% increase in lifespan. That’s tremendous.
In 2014, a paper came out documenting diabetics taking Metformin lived 15% longer than non-diabetics.
More Recent Studies Tell a Different Story
It turns out, however, from studies done in 2016, Metformin does not demonstrate any lifespan increases in otherwise healthy mice. The mice used in the original study were bred to become hypertensive, and Metformin did help them.
But healthy mice? The ones taking Metformin didn’t live any longer than the control group.
Also, in people, Metformin blocks the positive benefits of exercise, including increases in VO2Max. Take Metformin before a workout, and you may as well sit on the couch watching Netflix for all the good it does you.
Another serious side effect: Metformin lowers testosterone.
In 2021, scientists published the results of a large interventional study that ran for 21 years with over 3300 participants.
When it started, all the subjects were considered at high risk of Type 2 diabetes because they were all overweight and had high fasting blood sugar levels. But they were otherwise healthy – NOT diabetic.
Researchers divided them into three groups: the first group received Metformin, the second an intensive lifestyle intervention and the third was the control.
The group taking Metformin experienced the same rates of death as the control group, including cancer and heart problems.
Research documents there’s no benefit for non-diabetic people to take Metformin.
If there’s no benefit to taking it, why do so? Especially when it also could lower the effectiveness of your exercise (which we know is extremely important for good health)?
It might also lower your testosterone, which is not good for both men and women.
And don’t forget: many people suffer various forms of gastric distress when they take it.
If something won’t help you, and might hurt you – stay away.
If your doctor prescribes Metformin to you for prediabetes or diabetes, of course follow your doctor’s orders.
That’s the herb berberine, used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
It doesn’t work the same as Metformin, but it does help all people reduce their blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.
Plus, it has many other beneficial anti-aging effects.
How to Take Berberine
It’s available as a supplement. The usual dosage is 450mg twice a day, just before you eat.
Some advise taking it as soon as 30 minutes before meals.
However, berberine also produces gastric upset in some people, and this is reduced by taking it with food.
Take Metformin only when prescribed by your doctor.
Consider taking berberine as an alternative.
Or simply keep your risk of diabetes down by eating lots of fiber and lots of antioxidants, and not eating saturated fats, refined sugars and processed grains.