A new approach with an old drug for the proactive age management at 23MD™
Believe it or not, Metformin, a 40 year old drug historically used for diabetes, comes from the plant world, and has many properties that make it suitable for health maintenance.
The French Lilac plant (Galega Officinalis) was used for centuries as a folk medicine for the treatment of Diabetes. The active ingredients, guanidine compounds, in the French Lilac plant, were discovered and isolated in the 1920’s and the drug Metformin has been safely used in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes for the last 40 years.
It turns out that Metformin is a “Healthy Anti-Ageing” Drug, and could lead to improved health-span AND life-span.
At 23MD™, every patient’s journey starts with a medical consultation, albeit the problem arising from a skin condition such as acne, body shape or weight loss issues, problems with hair, wrinkles or otherwise. Since our inception, Dr Galy at 23MD™ has been actively managing his patients’ ageing process by balancing hormones, prescribing metformin, and providing appropriate diet and lifestyle modifications. This holistic approach to age management leaves our patients well ahead of their game.
The multiple uses of metformin (1) include but are not limited to
- Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)
- Pre Diabetes
- Age management
- Poly cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Adjuvant to cancer treatments
How does it work?
Metformin UP REGULATES the Master Switch AMP Kinase -this is involved in the energy status of cells, hormone expression and protein synthesis.
- When AMP-kinase is Turned ON, This is GOOD for you –> similar effects to Caloric Restriction occur
- LOW insulin levels happen .
- ATP (Energy) is created.
- Fatty acids are predominantly consumed for energy
- increasing the number of muscle and adipocyte (fat cell) insulin receptors and the attraction for the receptor, glucose is rapidly moved inside cells
- If AMP-kinase is turned OFF, This is BAD for you –> similar effects of HIGH insulin levels happen
- ATP is consumed and Glucose is burned for energy instead of fat
- Fatty acids and cholesterol are synthesized and stored
Metformin is not associated with causing hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Its activity reduces insulin levels by increasing the sensitivity of peripheral tissues to the effects of insulin by rejuvenating the response, and restoring glucose and insulin to younger physiological levels that may cause weight loss and most certainly a decrease in the body’s total fat content.
Effects on NIDDM
- In a study published by the American Diabetes Association, metformin was found to decrease the fasting plasma glucose concentration by -60 to -70mg/dl in patients with non-insulin dependent type II diabetes. For 40 years metformin has been used to control blood glucose levels in patients with type II diabetes
- Metformin also reduced haemoglobin A1C levels, a blood measurement of glycosylation.
- One of the most devastating consequences of diabetes is protein degradation caused by the formation of advanced glycated end products.
- Reductions in serum haemoglobin A1C levels are a good indicator of consistent glucose control in the diabetic patient.
- Metformin’s multiple effects benefit individuals with a propensity to develop diabetes, cardiovascular problems, endocrine problems, retinopathies, nephropathies, cancer or decreased immunity, infections and weigh gain.
- Metformin has been shown to reduce the amount of supplemental insulin needed by type II diabetics who become insulin-dependent. They are able to take a lower insulin dose in conjunction with metformin without the risk of becoming hypoglycaemic.
Effects on prediabetes
- Physicians are now recommending it to patients who are predisposed to diabetes for the prevention of developing the disease.
- With the cluster of cardiovascular problems associated with hyperinsulinemia, metformin has proven effective in lowering total cholesterol, low density lipids, free fatty acids, and tissue plasminogen activator antigen and insulin levels when patients present with symptoms of hypertension dyslipidaemia, visceral obesity or hyperglycaemia.
- Metformin prevents the acceleration of atherosclerosis and reduces the rate of pro- aging cross linking of collagen.
- The microvascular complications of hyperinsulinemia are improved by metformin due to the arterial clearance in small blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys and nerves. As with diabetes, metformin has been shown to cause a reduction in appetite, weight, and the body’s total fat content. In associated heart disease conditions, there is plaque build-up that lines the arteries. This build-up of plaque can lead to atherosclerosis.
- Metformin reduces or lowers the chances of developing atherosclerosis and reduces the rate of pro-aging cross linkages of collagen, which plays a role in the scar tissue build-up that occurs during wound healing.
Effects on Age Management
- Metformin is a “Healthy Aging” Drug.
- Lipid lowering effects
- reduction in systolic blood pressure
- hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance syndrome
- In non-diabetics, metformin reduced low density lipid, total cholesterol, free fatty acids, tissue plasminogen activator antigen, blood pressure and fasting triglyceride levels
- Metformin could lead to improved health-span and lifespan in humans.
- Metformin-based interventions promote healthy aging.
- Metformin can delay aging and the incidence of age-related diseases. What’s more, many of these interventions are based on the study of calorie restriction mimetics, that reproduce physiological and anti-aging effects found in CR animals. Indeed, several studies propose that metformin’s actions resemble CR.
Effects on PCOS
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome is characterized by irregular or absent menstrual periods, and elevated serum testosterone and androstenedione.
- These patients complain of abnormal bleeding, infertility, obesity, excess hair growth, hair loss and acne.
- Metformin has also been shown to aid in normal menstrual regulation and pregnancy. Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome have been treated with metformin.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome seems to have a genetic component in which those who are affected often have male and female relatives with type II diabetes, obesity, elevated blood triglycerides or high blood pressure.
- They may also have female relatives with infertility, hirsutism or menstrual problems. For women in the reproductive age range, polycystic ovarian syndrome is a serious common cause of infertility because of the endocrine abnormalities that accompany elevated insulin levels. As women with polycystic ovarian syndrome maybe at greater risk for other medical conditions, testing is essential.
- They should be tested for blood lipids, diabetes and blood clotting factors that promote abnormal clotting. Metformin, at doses of 500 mg to 850 mg three times per day, is shown to reverse these endocrine abnormalities.
- In women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, metformin reduced systolic blood pressure, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, and facilitated menstrual regulation and pregnancy.
How does metformin affect cancer growth
- Metformin has been found to suppress the growth of some tumours and enhance the activity of anti-cancer drugs. By giving the immune system a boost, metformin can improve cellular immunity.
- It has also been found to reduce the incidence of chemically induced cancer in rats.
- The way metformin improves cellular immunity is linked to its blood sugar lowering effect by improving receptor sensitivity and number.
- Bacteria, fungi and some viruses tend to feed on sugar. By diminishing their fuel supply, we diminish them.
- That is why diabetics and other individuals with endocrine abnormalities tend to be more prone to infections.
- Decreased tumour growth and improved cellular immunity in individuals who are prone to chronic infections associated high blood sugar levels.
What are the Side effects and contraindications of Metformin? –> VERY FEW INDEED
- Long term use of Metformin may cause malabsorption of the fillowing
- vitamin B12 supplementation is recommended
- Co Q10 supplementation is recommended
- Side effects include
- mild nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, bloating and diarrhoea. The latter usually disappears once the person becomes accustomed to the drug.
- Metformin is not recommended for the folowing
- People who have a history of kidney or liver disease, or a history of congestive heart failure.
- People with a history of alcohol abuse should also avoid taking the drug, as serious lactic acidosis can develop in these individuals.