Metformin, an FDA-approved diabetes medication, in numberous studies was associated with variety of health benefits, and some scientists think that it might be an “anti-aging pill.”
Research has shown that it is associated with some potential longevity benefits that can allow users to live a longer, happier, healthier life.
Potential longevity benefits are due to studies in diabetics that show association with a reduced risk of several age-related diseases, including dementia, colon and pancreatic cancer, cognitive impairment, macrovascular disease, and diabetes. An increasing amount of evidence shows that metformin is much more than just a diabetes treatment.
Although cancer can strike at any age, it is much more prevalent in older adults. Several studies have looked at metformin’s effect on cancer with similar conclusions – metformin is associated with lower risk of colon and pancreatic cancer. A UK retrospective study analyzed 62,809 diabetic patients over the age of 40 and had begun diabetes treatment. The group was divided into four subgroups; those who received metformin, those who received sulfonylurea, those who received both (combined treatment), and those who received insulin. The results were quite interesting as researchers found that metformin use was associated with a decreased risk of colon or pancreatic cancer.
Additionally, metformin has been found to improve the prognosis of ovarian cancer. A study conducted by the Mayo Clinic monitored 240 women to evaluate the relationship between metformin and ovarian cancer prognosis. There were 60 cases of diabetic women with ovarian cancer who took metformin and a control group consisting of 178 women who did not have diabetes and were not taking metformin. The results of the study found that metformin use better predicted survival in patients with ovarian cancer.
Metformin can also help evade ovarian fibrosis that is associated with aging. One study looked at 27 ovaries, finding that ovary scarring occurred with age and that by taking metformin, the process could be halted. Also, a study out of Ohio found that metformin can also assist with fertility. Their study of 43 women found that metformin-induced the resumption of regular menses in 91% of women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
An age-related disease that can affect anyone is cognitive decline. Cognitive decline and dementia can adversely impact one’s quality of life as one gets older. Although it is still prevalent among older adults in the US, the evidence behind metformin in reducing cognitive impairment is very promising. A 2014 study examined 365 adults over the age of 55 in a longitudinal aging study. The study aimed to look at cognitive impairment in those who took metformin and those who did not. The results found that those who used metformin the longest were associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment. The researchers concluded that “among individuals with diabetes, long-term treatment with metformin may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.”
These results echoed those found in another study conducted almost a decade earlier. This study, in particular, looked at 67,731 patients who were over the age of 65, non-diabetic, and non-demented. After monitoring these individuals for six years, they found that those with diabetes were at a higher risk for dementia. However, when these individuals took metformin for a more extended period, the risk of dementia became weaker.
Like dementia, diabetes can cause several severe health conditions and shorten one’s lifespan. Evidence shows that metformin is not only effective at treating diabetes, but it can be used to prevent it as well. The diabetes prevention program group conducted a study to discover effective ways to prevent diabetes and metformin was one of them. They found that by taking metformin, the chance of developing diabetes was significantly reduced.
Metformin can also reduce the risk of macrovascular disease. In 2009, 390 patients were treated with insulin in an outpatient clinic for 4.3 years. In addition to insulin, they were given either metformin or a placebo. The results found that metformin prevented weight gain and was associated with an improvement in macrovascular health. The researchers concluded that metformin reduced the risk of macrovascular disease over the 4.3 years.
Metformin’s effect on weight loss has been noted in several studies like the one mentioned previously. It was also the subject of a 2013 study that sought to examine the “effectiveness of metformin on weight loss in diabetic individuals with obesity.” In this study, 154 patients were given metformin daily for six months, and their weight was monitored. The researchers included 45 untreated patients as a control group and measured insulin sensitivity. The results found that the individuals taking metformin lost weight, where those who were not taking metformin gained weight. Further, those with severe insulin resistance lost more weight than insulin-sensitive patients. The researchers concluded that metformin could reduce weight in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant obese and overweight patients.
Cancer, diabetes, ovarian fibrosis, dementia, and heart disease are all issues closely associated with aging. The evidence clearly shows that metformin anti aging benefits should reduce the risk of acquiring one of these age-related diseases. Fortunately, this drug is not out of reach. It currently sits on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines, a catalog of the most effective, safe, and cost-effective therapies.
Metformin is theorized to target age-related mechanisms and may help protect against these diseases. The drug could be a component of an overall longevity optimization plan (combined with improvements in lifestyle, exercise, and diet) and might be prescribed by an experienced medical professional as part of a comprehensive longevity plan from AgelessRx. AgelessRx.com is a telehealth platform that connects people to medical professionals knowledgeable about health and wellness and making therapies more accessible to those who want to live longer, healthier lives.
Metformin has been used for over 60 years with an incredible safety record and has very few side effects. These side effects, like gastrointestinal discomfort, can often be avoided by starting with a small dose. With plenty of research on the drug, the evidence behind metformin’s anti-aging benefits makes it clear to see how it can help people age less. Aging can be postponed, and quality of life can be improved with effective preventative measures like taking metformin.