Non-diabetic Weight Loss with Metformin

Metformin is a medication that normally is used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes mellitus. This medication is in the antihyperglyemic drug class, meaning that it counteracts glucose in the blood. While the Food and Drug Administration has not approved metformin for weight loss in the United States, some physicians are starting to utilize this medication in an off-label manner to decrease weight in overweight or obese patients. Several studies are underway analyzing the use of metformin for weight-loss, and more studies are needed before FDA approval.

Obesity is a growing problem in the United States that can lead to multiple health complications. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Decreased Hepatic Glucose Production

Metformin decreases the amount of sugar that is created by the liver, according to findings from the Glaser Obesity Study, conducted by the Glaser Pediatric Research Network. If you haven't eaten in some period of time and your blood sugar becomes too low, your liver can compensate by creating and releasing sugar into the blood. Insulin is then secreted to compensate, and stores this sugar as fat in adipose tissue. When metformin decreases the amount of sugar released by the liver, the pancreas does not have to release extra insulin, thus reducing fat production and storage.

Decreased Food Intake

Research has indicated that metformin may have an appetite-suppressing effect, though it is not completely understood why this occurs at the present time, according to the Weight-control Information Network. The network also states that metformin may make you feel satisfied quicker and for a longer period of time than normal.

Gastrointestinal Side Effects

Metformin may cause mild gastrointestinal side effects including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, according to Drugs.com. It is proposed that one possible mechanism of action for the weight-reducing benefit of metformin is simply that because of these mild gastrointestinal side effects people do not feel like eating, notes the Glaser research. If you have excessive or prolonged gastrointestinal upsets while taking metformin, contact your physician as he may need to change your medication.

Reduced Insulin Resistance

Metformin creates increased insulin sensitivity by assisting the body in using the blood sugar already present. This process decreases the release of glucagon and glucogenesis to increase blood sugar levels. Because metformin helps the body use blood sugar rather than store it, less fat is created and stored by the body.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.