Metformin, diabetes and food interactions

Metformin Food Interactions

How Does Metformin And Other Anti Diabetic Drugs Interact With Food?

When you are taking any medication, it’s important to know what other life factors can affect that medication’s absorption and functioning in your body. Food is one of the most important factors to take into consideration. Consumption of alcohol is another.

Many types of foods, especially those that originate from plants, have various chemical compounds that interact with the enzymes present in the liver. These enzymes are also used by the liver to destroy and detoxify active chemicals that are present in the medications you take to control diabetes.

It is important to know how the type of food you consume will affect your liver’s ability to recycle the active ingredients present in diabetes medications, as well as which type of foods can slow this process down as these will affect the rise and the dip of blood sugar levels.

How foods affect diabetic drug processing

How the food you eat will affect the diabetes medication you take will depend on what enzyme is used by your liver to break down those medications. This is an overview of how several known diabetic drugs are processed in the liver and how they are affected by the foods you eat.


Also known as Glucophage, metformin is one medication that does not get processed by the liver. This means the use of Metformin cannot be affected by the food you eat.

However, consumption of alcohol does affect metformin metabolism. Excessive alcohol in your system will lead to metformin breaking down too much lactate which can cause one of the metformin side effects known as lactic acidosis.

Lactic Acidosis a serious condition that is characterised by an increased amount of lactate in the body and can cause multiple negative symptoms such as trouble breathing, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, muscle pain, and tiredness. In severe cases, lactic acidosis can be lethal. To avoid any negative symptoms, it is best to avoid alcohol or limit it to very small amounts ( 1 drink a day maximum for women and 1-2 for men) while medicating with metformin.

You will be even better off speaking to your doctor about risks of consuming alcohol in your particular case as well.


Also known as Galvus, vildagliptin is a diabetes medication that is processed by the liver with cytochrome P450. However, the processing is very limited. Through consuming licorice, grapefruit, ginger, or hot peppers, you can increase the ability of this medication to decrease blood sugar levels in the body.


Also known as Januvia, sitagliptin gets processed in the liver with the CYP2C8 and CYP3A4 enzymes. Avoid eating too much fruit and drinking fruit juices as these will interfere with the enzymes and increase the possibility of more severe side effects caused by the medication.

When using Sitagliptin, you should particularly avoid consumption of mangoes, oranges, dragon fruits, rambutans, passion fruits, pawpaws, wild grapes, pomegranates, wild mulberries, and kiwis.


This medication is also known as Actos and is processed with the CYP2C8 enzyme. All of the fruits mentioned above (mangoes, oranges, dragon fruits, rambutans, passion fruits, pawpaws, wild grapes, pomegranates, wild mulberries, and kiwis) will also affect this medication so it is important to avoid them especially pomegranate juice.


The CYP2C8 enzyme also processes Rosiglitazone, also known as Avandia, so it is also advised to avoid the fruits mentioned earlier. The intake of pomegranate juice will also cause this medication to produce greater side effects so stay away from the fruit juice as much as possible.

Food is very important when it comes to maintaining your body’s ideal health and well-being. Maintaining a correct diet and supplementing vitamins and minerals, as well as watching foods that can affect your medications should be high on your list of priorities in your quest to feel better.

Another important factor is following a healthy lifestyle, which includes: eating the right amount of healthy foods, maintaining regular physical activity and reducing stress.

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