Metformin is a drug originally intended for the treatment of diabetes. I say “intended”, rather than “designed”, since unlike most pharmaceuticals, Metformin was not invented in a lab.
Amazingly, this drug was isolated from an herbal source: French Lilac. It is one of the only ingredients derived from an herb to gain FDA approval for use as a prescription drug in a clinical setting.
Since Metformin wasn’t designed specifically as a diabetic drug, it might be less surprising to learn that it has many other uses besides just treating diabetes – one of which, as you probably guessed, is weight loss.
Doctors often write prescriptions “off label” in order to treat conditions which are different from what the drug was originally intended to treat. Not only has there been a recent rise in doctors suggesting Metformin for obesity (to patients without diabetes), but patients have started to ask for it by name.
Metformin for Weight Loss
In regard to weight loss, Metformin provides two primary benefits. First, it significantly improves glycemic control. This stabilizes your blood sugar, and makes you less likely to experience the up-and-down rollercoaster experience that often comes along with dieting. The second benefit of Metformin (partially a result of the first benefit) is suppressed appetite.
Users typically note a measurable improvement from their usual cravings for food. By simply not desiring as much food, and still feeling normal despite eating less (due to the improved glycemic control), the result can be profound weight loss.
That’s the good news, but you can’t just take the pill and expect everything to change on its own. Weight loss just doesn’t work that way. Metformin won’t work for you – rather, it will work with you.
For people who respond well to Metformin (all drugs have somewhat different efficiency from one person to the next), they will notice it makes sticking to a structured diet much easier. Even in lieu of a diet, some people may lose a little weight just from having a reduced appetite.
However, for significant weight loss to take place, you still have to do your part – meaning you have to follow a set diet and, ideally, an exercise plan. Metformin just makes this process easier to follow.
It’s an ideal drug for those who have had problems in the past with faithfully following a diet, but it usually isn’t recommended until you have had difficulty following one. Otherwise, it provides little benefit.
Since you have to talk to your doctor to get a Metformin prescription anyway, it’s a great idea to also discuss your diet plan. He will be able to make specific suggestions, such as target calories, based on your weight and BMI. Involving trained medical supervision can also allow you to safely follow a more aggressive diet than what would normally be recommended.
Other Benefits of Metformin
Another helpful benefit of this drug has been discovered by multiple research teams: Through some poorly understood mechanism, Metformin seems to be able to slash the risk of most cancers by 50% or more. These studies have sparked mass interest in this drug as a possible mechanism to extend lifespan.
These results still have to pass a mass scale, double blind, placebo controlled trial before any decisions can be made. At the time of writing this article, these trials are still underway, and no results have been released . So, no decisions should be made just yet – but if all goes well, those taking Metformin might enjoy an even more substantial benefit than appetite suppression!
To summarize, if you’re looking for some help starting and maintaining a diet, Metformin might be just what you’re looking for. Just don’t expect it to work magic all on its own. Combined with some hard work and dedication, though, it could put you closer to your goals than ever before.