The Truth about Metformin
How does Metformin work?
One of the “defects” of Type 2 Diabetes and insulin resistance is that the liver overproduces sugar and dumps it into the bloodstream. This can be why, even if you haven’t eaten any food, sugars can increase steadily overnight - as the liver makes sugar.
The job of Metformin is to tell the liver NOT to make extra sugar – so it can be especially helpful for lowering high fasting blood sugars.
Metformin: The Good
- It is inexpensive - regardless of insurance! Most drug stores have this on their $4 generic drug list.
- It can also help with weight loss. While most people do not lose a substantial amount of weight with Metformin, often patients can lose a few pounds after taking it over a few months.
- Since it does not increase insulin levels, metformin alone doesn’t cause low blood sugars (hypoglycemia). Other prescription medications like glimepiride and glipizide (or insulin itself) can cause low sugars because they tell the pancreas to make more insulin.
Metformin: The Bad
- Diarrhea is the most common complaint from Metformin. It can help to take an extended-release version and to start with a very low dose (250-500 mg). Over several weeks, the doctor may increase the dose very slowly as your body gets used to its effects (for example, increase by 1 tablet or 500 mg every 1-2 weeks).
- Metformin can reduce the absorption of Vitamin B12 from food – resulting in Vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause or worsen nerve pain and make you feel tired. The risk of low B12 levels goes up the longer you take Metformin. So, it is important to take a Vitamin B12 supplement along with Metformin to prevent this, which is included in our Blood Sugar 24 Hour Support Supplement.
Does Metformin hurt the kidneys?
Metformin does NOT cause kidney damage, but your doctor will monitor your kidney function while you take Metformin. This is because Metformin is cleared from the body by the kidneys… and if the kidneys aren’t working well – the Metformin levels can build up and cause issues. One of the very rare but life-threatening safety concerns with this is lactic acidosis. Because of this, if your kidney function starts to decline to a certain point (which is common in Type 2 Diabetes) – Metformin will be stopped.
Remember, the best way to protect the kidneys is by controlling blood sugars. If Metformin is helping to control sugar levels, then it is beneficial for the kidneys. Milk Thistle is a natural ingredient, found in our Blood Sugar 24 Hour Support, that has researched benefits on markers of kidney health.
Does Metformin cause cancer?
Actually – it is just the opposite! A majority of clinical studies show that Metformin has a protective effect against cancer (including breast and colon cancer). People with Type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of cancers in general – possibly from insulin resistance. However, studies show as much as a 27% reduced risk of developing colon cancer for people who take Metformin.
Some research study links to support this:
Over the last year it has been questioned whether metformin contains a cancer-causing chemical called NDMA. However, FDA investigations have ruled this out and confirmed Metformin is safe to continue taking. (https://diatribe.org/there-cancer-causing-ingredient-metformin-fda-investigation-results).
What if I can’t take Metformin?
There are other great medication options – learn more about them here. Also, various natural ingredients have been proven to be beneficial on blood sugar and insulin health. Our Blood Sugar 24 Hour Support dietary supplement may be a great option before medications are needed or in addition to your current regimen. Learn more here.