A study published in the February 2019 issue of Aging Cell indicates that metformin may reduce the effectiveness of exercise. Metformin is a drug that has been approved for people with Type 2 diabetes to help control blood sugar. However, the drug is also used by healthy people for its anti-aging properties. The researchers are concerned about off-label use of this drug.
Metformin is a popular drug worldwide for those who have Type 2 diabetes. This medication helps improve their blood-sugar control and sensitivity to insulin. It works by reducing the amount of glucose released by the liver into the bloodstream. Metformin studies performed on animals point to metformin’s positive results. Not only does the drug reduce blood sugar, but it also reduces inflammation. Metformin appears to have anti-aging effects on the cellular level.
The researchers1 worked at the University of Illinois, Colorado State University, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. They recruited a group of healthy, albeit sedentary, men and women in their early 60’s. The subjects had a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. They were divided into two groups: one taking a placebo and the other metformin. Then, under a supervised exercise program, they were measured for four months. Overall, the subjects had improved results from better aerobics and associated blood-sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. However, there were differences between the two groups. Those taking metformin ended up with fewer fitness results and hardly any improvements in insulin sensitivity. The subjects taking metformin also showed no exercise-related muscle gain.
If your doctor has prescribed metformin to you for Type 2 Diabetes, the benefits of the drug likely outweigh the risks. Do not stop or change medications without talking to your doctor first. The main concern is for otherwise healthy people taking metformin as an anti-aging drug.
These findings give pause about mixing metformin with exercise in otherwise healthy people. According to the research, there was no additive effect from the combination of the two. Therefore, other medications may need research into how they affect exercise results.
NOTE: Discuss any changes or concerns about medication with your doctor.
Proven Anti-Aging Techniques
Instead of experimenting with off-label uses of prescription medications, try these proven methods for improving health and longevity:
- Clean Up Your Diet. Eat nutritious foods, high in anti-oxidants. A steady diet of junk food, soda, and no fresh vegetables is a recipe for poor health. Imitate the diet of people near the Mediterranean Ocean. The Mediterranean Diet is also excellent for protecting your eyes from age-related diseases. If necessary, take anti-aging supplements.
- Target Your Lifestyle. Stop smoking. Get plenty of restful sleep. Manage stress. Do not take any unnecessary medications, and know the potential side-effects of any medications you take.
- Get Regular Exercise. An entire body of research backs up exercise as a crucial anti-aging technique. Exercise does not even have to cost anything! Even walking 20 – 60 minutes a day has significant anti-aging benefits.
- Aging Cell, Volume 18, Issue 1. Metformin inhibits mitochondrial adaptations to aerobic exercise training in older adults. Adam R. Konopka Jaime L. Laurin Hayden M. Schoenberg Justin J. Reid William M. Castor Christopher A. Wolff Robert V. Musci Oscar D. Safairad Melissa A. Linden Laurie M. Biela Susan M. Bailey Karyn L. Hamilton Benjamin F. Miller. First published: 11 December 2018 https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12880 ↩