Metformin is being claimed as a panacea for all aging problems. Currently approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, the drug is being used off-label as an anti-aging medication. Let’s find out the truth behind these tall claims.
Metformin belongs to a class of drugs called biguanides. The drug decreases glucose production in the liver and increases insulin sensitivity in the muscle and fat tissues, according to HealthNews.
Primarily being used to treat type 2 diabetes for more than 50 years, the drug is also reportedly used off-label in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Metformin has anti-inflammatory properties and since inflammation is a factor in cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer, researchers opine that metformin can increase longevity by preventing these age-related diseases.
In a study of women suffering from PCOS, metformin was found to decrease hair loss in individuals. In addition to this, due to its anti-inflammatory effect, metformin has been shown to alleviate some inflammatory skin disorders, such as psoriasis, acne, and allergic contact dermatitis in multiple studies, according to the outlet.
Researchers also hypothesize that the popular drug may play a role in collagen synthesis, the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis), and skin-derived stem cell proliferation.
Moreover, in a series of studies in humans and mice, metformin was found to increase the level of the peptide hormone growth/differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) in the body. GDF15 can help boost energy and lower body weight.
Currently, the National Cancer Institute is funding several human trials to determine the role of metformin in preventing or treating different forms of cancer, including breast cancer, endometrial cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and smoldering multiple myeloma.
Despite so much speculation and many small studies, metformin is still not approved for use as an anti-aging drug. Many large-scale studies and clinical trials in humans are required to give the drug that acknowledgment.
So, take this information around metformin as an anti-aging solution with a pinch of salt. The drug also has side effects that need to be considered before using it as an off-label aging antidote. Common side effects of metformin include nausea, diarrhea, gas, bloating, stomach pain, indigestion and decreased appetite.
While on the topic of anti-aging, scientists from the University of Texas found that treating mice with low-frequency waves restarted cell division, rejuvenating cells from a zombie-like state that causes cell dysfunction and even diseases.
“‘Is this too good to be true?’ is the question I often ask. We are examining all aspects of it to see if it really does work,” Prof. Sheetz commented. The ultrasound frequency used in the study was no more than 100 kilohertz. For context, medical imaging uses around 2,000 kilohertz for its process.