What is Metformin?
Is Metformin for weight loss? Metformin refers to an oral prescription drug, which is predominantly used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Doctors also sometimes prescribe it to treat symptoms of PCOS and other ailments. This drug works by controlling the blood sugar in the body and can be used on its own or combined with other drugs or medications. Because of this, metformin has become associated with weight reduction and has become very popular with people struggling to lose weight.
Metformin is also widely available in many pharmacies and is sold under different brand names such as Glucophage, Siofor, Riomet and Fortamet among others in Lebanon. Like with any drug that is used for weight reduction , metformin for weight loss has its advantages and drawbacks.
Pros and Cons of Using Metformin for Weight Loss
Pros of metformin for weight loss
Lowers Absorption of Dietary Carbohydrates
Although weight gain can be caused by other factors, diet and lifestyle significantly contributes or can compound the problem. Carbohydrates are usually absorbed through the intestines and this is why most obese or overweight people store fat around the abdomen. Metformin decreases the rate at which these carbohydrates are absorbed through the intestines.
It Lowers Insulin and Glucose Levels
Although insulin helps regulate the blood sugar in the body, too much of it may be responsible for weight gain and obesity because it sends hunger signals to the brain, which makes you want to eat. Weight gain is highly associated with eating too much. After you eat, your body converts the food into sugar which is absorbed from the intestines to the blood stream after which it goes directly to the liver. The liver instantly releases this sugar back to the blood stream, which causes blood sugar levels to rise.
Metformin helps you lose weight because it reduces your appetite hence reducing the amount of food you take. If you eat less and less, the levels of glucose in your blood reduces and consequently the level of insulin in your body also reduces.
It Can Prevent or Delay Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes has been associated with obesity and weight gain especially around the abdomen. Even if taken by a non-diabetic or someone with pre-diabetes for weight reduction, metformin can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes or prevent it all together.
A study carried out at George Washington University showed that out of 3,234 non-diabetics who were either given placebo or metformin, and recommended lifestyle changes for both groups, the people in the metformin treatment group showed a 31% less prevalence of diabetes.
Safe to Use
Metformin is highly safe to use even for non-diabetics and although it has side effects, they are not really life threatening unless of course, you have an underlying problem like kidney impairment or heart problems. Because it helps in weight reduction, there is no reason why people who are struggling to lose weight should not try it. Even if it does not give you the results you expect, you will not be any worse for it.
Cons of metformin for weight loss
It does not Cause Weight Loss on its Own
Although metformin can help in weight reduction, it cannot really cause weight loss on its own. It must be combined with total lifestyle changes and healthy eating habits. Obese people must still do more exercises and change their diets, reducing the amount of carbohydrates and avoiding sugary foods, beverages and alcohol, if they really want to lose weight.
It has Side Effects
Like any other drug, metformin has many side effects as well. These may include diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. These side effects may last for a while until the body gets used to the drug. They may cause discomfort and inconveniences until the body adjusts.
It is not guaranteed to Help You Lose Weight
Although may people have confessed to losing weight after they started taking this drug, there is no way to tell whether it may produce the same results in everyone who uses the drug. Again, different drugs work differently for different people.
It is not a Fast Way to Lose Weight
Many people who attribute their weight loss to this drug often confess that they did not lose the weight overnight. Even if metformin will help you lose weight, it may take a long time for you to see any real results.