7 Benefits of Metformin
Thirty-seven percent of Americans have diabetes, and of that percentage, over 90% of them have type 2 diabetes. Not to be confused with type one diabetes, an autoimmune disorder diagnosed at birth.
Some people even go as far as to call it adult-onset diabetes. And while these are staggering statistics, this article does not aim to blame or shame adults who develop this disease. The American health, food, and built environment set the average citizen up for health failure.
Many doctors believe in the benefits of metformin. Not only is it safe as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, but it has other, off-label uses as well. Read about all the things this drug can do, below.
What Is Metformin, Chemically Speaking?
Metformin is a pharmaceutical medication used to stabilize blood sugar in those with diabetes. It works by treating and improving the way your body processes insulin. Insulin is the hormone that regulates glucose (sugar) in the blood.
What many people don’t know is that this treatment method has roots in naturopathic medicine. It was created in 1918, by a scientist who studied Galega officinalis, an herb that had been used in folk medicine for years.
The Many Benefits of Metformin
First and foremost, (1) this medication is used as a diabetes medication to correct the use of insulin in the body. The majority of people taking metformin use it on label for such, but it can be prescribed for other situations.
2. Diabetes Prevention (Metabolic Syndrome)
Thankfully there are warning signs before someone develops full-blown type 2 diabetes. One of the best indicators that someone is on track to that diagnosis is Metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is the name for a group of disorders, all of which raise your risk for negative health events.
Metabolic syndrome includes high cholesterol, increased subcutaneous fat (belly fat), and high blood pressure. The combination of these phenomena increases the risk of developing diabetes by 30% or more.
Not only can metabolic syndrome increase your risk of diabetes, but also heart disease and stroke. It’s no joke.
Doctors have found metformin prescriptions successful in slowing the treatment of metabolic syndrome and reducing future diabetes diagnoses.
3. Fertility Treatment
Nothing in your body happens in a vacuum. That is to say, if one body process is affected, it’s going to ripple effect throughout your body. Scientists have found this especially true with insulin disorders and infertility.
Many people think about insulin in relation to food, but on a micro level, insulin is a hormone. Hormones run your reproductive system and so it makes sense that an issue with one hormone would hurt your chances of conceiving.
By regulating your insulin hormone, doctors have found relative success in increasing fertilityor, at least, reregulating ovulation and menstrual processes.
4. Weight Loss
General weight loss or obesity treatment is probably the largest off-label use for this medication. The rationale comes from the semi-recent discovery that obesity is not (only) a lifestyle-created disease, but an issue with hormone balance and regulation.
What we’re saying is that no, it’s not as simple as “calories in vs. calories out”. And while knowing there’s an obesity treatment is exciting, it’s not the right choice for everyone. Speak to an obesity specialist or an endocrinologist about your options.
5. Overall Longevity
As we said above, no health issue exists in a vacuum. If someone is struggling with obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, or hormone-related disorders, it will reduce their projected lifespan.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance increase your risk for heart disease, strokes, weight gain, and other disorders. Doctors will prescribe Metformin to reduce the intensity of these disorders, which will hopefully prolong and improve the patient’s quality of life.
There’s less research on this than on other uses. First, tracking someone’s lifespan takes a long time, and second, there are many factors that could increase or decrease it over time.
6. Dementia Prevention
If you’ve ever watched a loved one battle with dementia, you know that it’s a heartbreaking disease. It takes your loved one away from you years before they actually pass.
There’s some (admittedly, not much) evidence that taking metformin can reduce the development of dementia. However, this evidence is a correlation (two things related), not causation.
The difference between causation and correlation is an important thing to learn, especially when it comes to the general public assessing medical news.
7. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is a complicated disorder that affects people with female reproductive organs. Doctors still don’t 100% understand the depth of the disease or the cause, but they know it’s related to hormone disruption.
As we’ve explored, insulin is a hormone that can affect the reproductive system. Some doctors will suggest taking metformin as a treatment for PCOS.
More research is needed to determine the long-term uses of metformin on PCOS, but it’s considered clinically safe to use.
Getting a Metformin Prescription
You will need to speak to your doctor to get a script for this diabetes treatment, whether you’re using it for that purpose or not. Most of the time your doctor will order bloodwork, usually a metabolic panel, to make sure it’s safe for you to take this medication.
It does have a host of unpleasant side effects, so they may encourage you to try another option first. If you feel like they aren’t listening to your concerns, ask them to document their refusal on your chart.
Shopping For Metformin Online
We do everything online now. You can order groceries, get same-day delivery from Amazon, and book any service you want from your phone. Why not order prescriptions online too?
Online pharmacies are usually cheaper and you can experience the benefits of metformin faster with reoccurring deliveries. Learn more here.