11 Things You Need To Know About Metformin

1. Metformin can stop the progression of pre-diabetes to Type 2 diabetes. This one of a kind drug can do wonders when combined with proper diet and exercise.

2. Metformin can possibly help solve weight loss problems. The substance allows the cells in the body become more sensitive towards insulin, allowing the body to use less insulin for the transport of sugar as well as fat.

Similar drugs like Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone) also provide the same effects, but they possess a side effect that promotes fat cell development.

3. The smell of Metformin might be a problem to you as most Type 2 diabetic patients complain that its odor is similar to that of mothballs or raw fish. What you can do is to take the dose of Metformin you will be taking out of the bottle and leave it out for about five minutes to get rid the unwanted odor.

4. A side effect of Metformin is vitamin B12 deficiency, which occurs due to long-term use of the substance. To avoid this side effect while continuously using Metformin for an extended period, you can take vitamin B supplements regularly to ensure you won’t become vitamin B12 deficient.

5. Magnesium deficiency is also another possible side effect of prolonged Metformin intake. Regular intake of minimal doses of magnesium supplement is advised, which is equivalent to less than 100 milligrams of magnesium thrice per day.

You can also choose to increase the amount of green leafy vegetables in your diet as they contain adequate amounts of magnesium.

Avoid overdosage of magnesium as well as Metformin as this combination can cause diarrhea.

6. Teenagers suffering from Type 2 diabetes can be effectively treated with Metformin. Together with regular exercise, teenagers can expect a significant loss of excess body fat without worrying about stunted growth and hormonal development.

7. The body’s insulin resistance, which can be caused by MSG or monosodium glutamate, can be moderately equalized by Metformin. MSG is commonly added as a flavoring in prepared foods, bouillon cubes, canned soups, frozen dinners, and broths.

If you wish to save some money and to ensure you are eating healthy, you should choose to just cook your own meals.

8. Not all people suffering diabetes are advised to use Metformin. Your doctor will not advise you to take this drug if you are suffering from PAD or peripheral arterial disease or any kind of disorder related to blood clotting to avoid increased clot risks.

9. Both Metformin and Glucophage contain the same chemicals. However, there are diabetics who respond more positively to Glucophage. The Glucophage-XR is a time-release version of metformin. This medication costs about US$100 to $200 per month more than Metformin.

This particular version is greatly beneficial for diabetics that are able to successfully control their meals. If you are the type that tends to overeat, this version won’t be able to provide you with as much blood sugar control benefits.

10. You may need to ask your doctor for an increased dosage of Metformin if you are advised to take other medications than insulin and are taking less than 850 milligrams of Metformin thrice per day.

You can save thousands of dollars per year when you choose to use Metformin instead of other more expensive medications as metformin can provide you with the same blood sugar controlling effects.

11. Metformin is the only drug of biguanide type (blood sugar controlling drugs) that has been allowed by US FDA and has been widely used as a to-go medication for Diabetes


Metformin and Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Metformin and Vitamin b12 connection

At present, there is an increasing concern about the risk of developing vitamin B12 deficiency among patients who are taking Metformin. Cobalamin and cyanocobalamin are the other names of vitamin B12 that plays significant roles in the human body like maintaining the health of your blood cells and your nervous system.

Studies show that vitamin B12 can aid in the prevention of such conditions as heart disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s and a range of other diseases. Vitamin B12 is mainly obtained from animal products like beef, eggs, seafood and dairy products; hence, vegetarians are at a higher risk of suffering from vitamin B12 deficiency.

Often, older people are also at a risk of b12 deficiency due to the absorption problems in the gastrointestinal tract.

Anemia, memory loss, neuropathy, confusion, mood disorders, mental fog, and dementia are some of the symptoms of the lack of B12.

Along with insulin and other anti-diabetic medications, Metformin is usually the first drug to be used for patients newly diagnosed with diabetes. If you have diabetes and are taking a daily dose of Metformin, make sure to check your Vitamin B12 levels.

Because metformin hinders absorption of nutrients in the GI tract, there is a definite association of taking metformin with the risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency. A contributing factor is calcium malabsorption. Studies show that taking supplemental calcium can help in reducing the induced malabsorption of B12.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should quit taking your Metformin, unless your vitamin B12 deficiency is severe, and not without consulting your doctor first.

Metformin does an excellent job when it comes to managing type 2 diabetes and the safety record of this medication is great. It’s just that, when taking Metformin, it is suggested that you have your B12 or cobalamin level checked annually. If you have a low B12 level you should consult your physician about B12 supplementation.

It is usually very helpful to take a quality supplement (taken either orally or in the form of injections). You may also consider taking a B-complex (B100). This supplement complex may include all the needed B vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, and B6 (Pyridoxine) which are required for good absorption of vitamin B12.

A quality B-complex supplement should also contain folic acid.

If your health care provider suggests calcium supplementation in addition to B12, try to find a brand that uses certified pure or quality coral calcium. Certified pure suggests that the calcium is derived from coral using best methods preserving all important qualities of the mineral as well as protecting from the danger of heavy metals including mercury, lead, and aluminium.

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Metformin For The Treatment of PCOS

PCOS overview

PCOS, or Polycystic ovary syndrome, is a condition that arises in between 5% and 10% of women of childbearing age as a result of an imbalance in reproductive hormones. Women in PCOS have highly elevated levels of male reproductive hormones (androgens).  Polycystic ovaries develop as a result of being stimulated by too many androgens, especially testosterone.  The cause of PCOS is unknown, although it is believed it has a hereditary component. There seem to be two main driving forces behind the development of PCOS – high level of male hormones (androgens) and high level of insulin.

PCOS Symptoms

The symptoms of PCOS include irregularities in the menstrual cycle (no periods, or very heavy periods), excess facial hair, excess body hair, areas of darkened skin, pelvic pain, difficulty getting pregnant or infertility. Some other conditions are also associated with PCOS. For example, half of the women with PCOS is estimated to get diabetes or pre-diabetes by age forty. PCOS – affected women sometimes also tend to have high blood pressure, high levels of bad cholesterol, sleep apnea, endometrial cancer and some other conditions.

PCOS, Metformin, and Diabetes 

PCOS and diabetes are often connected because, as stated above, around 50% of women with PCOS will also have diabetes at a certain point in their lives. Apart from this connection, women with PCOS are often treated with metformin, the same drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes, to manage their PCOS and increase their fertility. Studies have found that one of the reasons behind PCOS is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance leads to the compensatorily increased production of insulin by the pancreas, which, in its turn, leads to the increase in the levels of male hormones (androgens) in the body. The increase of androgens is the main cause of PCOS. This is the link that connects Insulin Resistance and PCOS, and this is why metformin is often used to help treat PCOS.

Studies that looked at patients with PCOS taking metformin have observed significant improvement in menstrual cycle regularity and reduction in androgen levels as well as a significant reduction in body weight of the subjects. In real life treatment, metformin, particularly Glucophage, has been proven to be very effective in treating PCOS and increasing female fertility, by the mechanisms of reducing insulin resistance, helping control blood sugar levels in the body and decreasing the amount of androgens in the system. This in its turn helps reduce the number of cysts and prevent the development of new ones. Metformin has also been proved to help induce ovulation in women with PCOS struggling with fertility.

If you are suffering from PCOS, your doctor may also prescribe other medications such as fertility treatment drugs such as Clomid. Since there is an association between PCOS and insulin resistance, lifestyle modifications should include exercise and monitoring caloric consumption to maintain proper blood sugar levels.

Miscarriage risks and metformin

Women suffering from PCOS have been shown to have a much higher risk of miscarriage than women that don’t (three times as high for women with PCOS as opposed to healthy women). In many cases, this can be connected to the prevalence of obesity in PCOS women. However, that has not been sufficiently researched. Metformin has been shown to have a positive impact on reducing risks of miscarriage for women with PCOS.

Gestational diabetes and metformin

Women that have PCOS also have a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes during their pregnancy. The reverse is also true: women with a history of gestational diabetes have as much as 40% chance to develop PCOS at some point in their lives.  Gestational diabetes is not only bad for the mother. It can also negatively affect the fetus and cause abnormalities, developmental issues, and even death. Medicating with metformin throughout pregnancy has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of PCOS women developing gestational diabetes, thus greatly improving their chances to carry the pregnancy to term and have a healthy child.

Other health issues you may need to know about if you are diagnosed with PCOS

*More than half of women suffering from PCOS will get diabetes.

*A woman affected by PCOS will have 4-7 times greater chance of experiencing a heart attack compared to one of the same age who doesn’t have PCOS.

*A woman who is suffering from PCOS is at higher risk for high blood pressure.

Metformin has been shown to be very effective in a whole range of conditions related to insulin resistance and Polycystic ovary syndrome. However, the long-term use of metformin to treat PCOS has not been studied extensively. Follow your doctor’s advice about how long you should use metformin and in what dosage. Although metformin has shown some great results, it is still not a replacement for a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity and well-balanced diet. If you are suffering from PCOS or having troubles with fertility, please consult your doctor to develop a program you can follow to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. Exercising and healthy diet should be an important part of any medical treatment.

If you are suffering from diabetes-related neuropathy, please check out this Guide by Dr. Randall C. Labrum, Clinician, Researcher and Author. It has helped a lot of people end chronic peripheral neuropathy and regain health and well-being.

“I get so excited every time I have the opportunity to help someone with a chronic unresolved health problem. The ability to provide my expertise and experience in resolving these conditions creates a feeling of satisfaction like nothing else.”
Dr. Randall C. Labrum, Clinician, Researcher and Author