Originally created as an anti-diabetic drug, metformin has shown to have a number of effects that aid in losing weight. Almost uniquely amongst diabetic medication, metformin is taken orally. It is normally used to treat type 2 diabetes, but it has many other side effects that, while unintended, can help the body in many ways, with some studies supporting it as a potential diet pill, and others claiming that its effects can even help prevent some forms of cancer.
How Does Metformin Work?
Metformin functions by targeting your body’s insulin production. Having too much insulin can make you feel hungry more often, as it is responsible for sending the message to your brain that it needs more fuel to work. Insulin also targets your liver and encourages it to produce more fat. By reducing how much insulin is produced by your body, metformin prevents these messages from being sent as often, so you feel hungry less often.
Reducing appetite isn’t the only way metformin can help with weight loss. It also reduces the rate at which your body absorbs carbohydrates from food, so any diet with a high-carb intake will use what’s eaten more efficiently since it’s not all be broken down at once and needing to be stored as fat. While your body does need carbohydrates to function, metformin only slows down the process in which they’re broken down, so it can keep a high-carb diet from adding on extra pounds.
Is Metformin Safe to Use?
Whether or not metformin is safe to use is going to depend on the person and his or her dietary habits. It is best used in cases of obesity or in people with diabetes, as they are much more likely to have high levels of insulin in their blood. People with normal levels of insulin who use metformin may find themselves feeling sluggish and fatigued because their insulin production will actually lower into an unhealthy range.
Likewise, people who do not eat many carbohydrates may not benefit much from metformin, as your body does need them, and if you are eating the right amount that your body needs, slowing down carbohydrate absorption may come with some negative side effects. Nausea, vomiting, and some gastrointestinal problems are just a few of the potential side effects if metformin is not used intelligently and responsibly.
It is best to consult a doctor before using metformin, whether you are unsure about if it’s right for you or if you believe that you could benefit from it.