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New research shows metformin inhibits aging by boosting AMPK activity. Numerous beneficial health outcomes are associated with the use of metformin to treat patients with type 2 diabetes.

Clinical trials, including the MILES (Metformin In Longevity Study) and TAME (Targeting Aging with Metformin), have been designed to assess the potential benefits of metformin as an anti-aging drug. Activating AMPK has broad-ranging effects that extend far beyond blood sugar control. Studies show that boosting AMPK activity can prevent—and even reverse—the life-shortening effects of aging, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and more.

Preliminary studies suggest that metformin may actually slow aging and increase life expectancy by improving the body's responsiveness to insulin, antioxidant effects, and improving blood vessel health. Research has provided evidence that metformin has the ability to reduce early mortality associated with various diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and cancer. Metformin can improve health span thereby extending the period of life spent in good health. These effects appear to be indirect via its effects on cellular metabolism and result from its anti-hyperglycemic action, enhancing insulin sensitivity, reduction of oxidative stress and protective effects on the endothelium and vascular function.

The history of metformin goes back hundreds of years. In Europe, the medicinal herb Galega officinalis was popular for digestive health and to treat urinary problems and other ailments. Then in 1918, a scientist discovered that one of its ingredients, guanidine, could lower blood sugar. Medicines containing guanidine, such as metformin, were developed to treat diabetes.

Metformin can block or diminish many of the fundamental factors that accelerate aging. These include protecting against DNA damage glycation, poor mitochondrial function, and chronic inflammation. Metformin has been shown to facilitate DNA repair, which is critical for cancer prevention. By attacking these fundamental degenerative processes, metformin can prevent the development of aging’s most troubling diseases. Metformin has also been shown to modulate longevity-promoting signaling molecules in cells, such as mTOR, which reduces fat and sugar storage and increases youthful functioning at the cellular level.

Diabetics taking metformin were shown to live 15% longer than healthy individuals without diabetes!

AMPK activity declines with age, making us more vulnerable to many of the diseases associated with aging. Fortunately, a wealth of recent studies show that by activating AMPK, metformin plays a major role in preventing age-related disorders including cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and neurocognitive decline.

By combatting many of the underlying causes of aging—and by activating AMPK—metformin can be considered a broad-spectrum anti-aging drug.

What about side effects?

The safety profile for metformin is quite good. Side effects include nausea, stomach upset, or diarrhea; these tend to be mild. More serious side effects are rare. They include severe allergic reactions and a condition called lactic acidosis, a buildup of lactic acid in the bloodstream. The risk for this is higher among people with significant kidney disease, so doctors tend to avoid prescribing metformin for them.

Although metformin has an outstanding track record in the fight against diabetes, cancer, obesity, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, there are some precautions to be aware of with its use. Metformin is known to interfere with the absorption of B12, increasing the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency. Low B12 levels contribute to higher concentrations of artery-clogging homocysteine—an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Some studies have shown that metformin reduces free and total testosterone levels in men. Testosterone is especially important in male diabetics as it enhances insulin sensitivity.

Mounting evidence in preclinical models, and in humans, suggests beneficial effects in reducing the risk of aging-related diseases, such as neurodegeneration and cancer. These properties of metformin have attracted an enormous amount of attention from research and industry to develop indications for metformin as an anti-aging therapeutic in humans.

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1 Comment

Lewis Harvey
Lewis Harvey
Jun 05, 2023

This blog post exceeded my expectations! The author's ability to break down complex concepts into easily digestible information is commendable. The inclusion of real-life examples added depth and relevance to the topic. I was left feeling informed and inspired. Can't wait to explore more of their content!

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