Metformin: The New Anti-Aging Drug?
What scientists know about medications and how they work frequently evolves over time. Sometimes researchers even discover new applications for drugs that go beyond their originally intended purpose.
Metformin is a good example. When first discovered during the 1950s, this medication was developed solely for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
More than half a century later, scientists are looking at how metformin may extend lifespan, as well as healthspan.
Read below to learn more…
Metformin and Type 2 Diabetes
Metformin was originally introduced as a treatment for type 2 diabetes by the French in 1957, in England by 1958, and in the United States by 1995.
Today, metformin is the single most commonly prescribed oral medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and is included on the World Health Organization’s “List of Essential Medications”.
Metformin works by moderating glucose production in the liver, thereby improving insulin sensitivity and helping the body to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
Anti-Aging Benefits of Metformin
So how can a diabetes drug help you to live longer…and better?
Several ways, as it turns out.
Obviously, if you suffer from type 2 diabetes, metformin can help you to avoid its associated complications…like nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, and poor wound healing.
But there’s more.
Because metformin stimulates the secretion of a protein that suppresses appetite (called GDF-15), people who take metformin tend to eat less. For this reason, researchers posit that metformin has the same effect on the human body as calorie restriction, with calorie restricted diets having a well-established link to longevity and better overall health.
Recent research has also revealed metformin’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties (thanks to its ability to activate AMPK, an enzyme that has an important role to play in cellular energy equilibrium). Furthermore, metformin appears to reduce cell damage (thanks to its ability to reduce oxidative stress by inhibiting mTOR pathways).
Both of the above are important because inflammation and oxidative stress cause many age-related conditions, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
Studies suggest that metformin limits inflammatory stress on the heart and blood vessels.
- Kidney disease
Inflammation is a key factor in kidney disease. Metformin appears to protect kidney cells from inflammation-related damage.
- Neuro-degenerative diseases
Neuro-inflammation is a significant factor in diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. It has also been linked to depression, and the damage associated with brain injuries. Research indicates that metformin restricts inflammation in brain and nerve cells, while simultaneously reducing oxidative stress.
Metformin appears to reduce the spread of cancers, and as a result is being used in many cancer therapies today. It also appears to reduce risk factors for developing cancer in the first place.
We’re Still Learning About Metformin
As described above, metformin has now been around for decades. But scientists are still teasing out exactly how it works…and how it can be used to help you live longer and live better.
Here’s what we do know:
- Metformin is the drug of choice to treat type 2 diabetes.
- Metformin helps with weight loss and appetite control.
- Metformin has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that make it a promising anti-aging therapy.
With research still underway, metformin could soon join the list of medications and supplements that don’t just cure disease, but also help us to live longer and healthier lives.
At Renew Youth, our mission is to stay current on emerging anti-aging treatments.
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