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What is....METFORMINE?

Metformin is an oral medicine usually prescribed for diabetes management. Metformin is used

together with diet and exercise to improve and control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2

diabetes mellitus.


Metformin has been a leader against diabetes for more than 50 years. Studies show that

metformin acts by boosting the activity of AMPK, [3] a master metabolic regulator that favors

fat- and sugar-burning and prevents their accumulation. Because AMPK is necessary in all

tissues, this makes metformin extremely important in reducing metabolic imbalances in the

entire body [3].

Strong evidence suggests that metformin, through its protective effects and AMPK-activating

properties can help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity and its consequences, and

even neurodegenerative disorders [3].


With continuous improvement in living conditions, interest and investment in anti-aging

remedies, the anti-diabetic drug metformin has acquired tremendous interest [2]. As a first-line

therapy for type 2 diabetes treatments, it has also exhibited anti-aging properties in model


Regardless of its widespread use in medicine for many years, the way metformin actions in the

body are not fully understood. Multiple targets and distinct mechanisms have been proposed by

which its anti-aging effects are mediated [2].

Many uncertainties exist in metformin mechanisms and side effects that may prevent its

widespread use in aging in otherwise healthy individuals.

There are not many studies conducted about the relationship and effects of metformin and anti-

aging, however, the FDA has approved a study that will determine if metformin can do more

than lower blood sugar. The purpose of the study is to evaluate metformin’s ability to slow

aging. This is the first ever anti-aging study approved by the FDA [6].

Studies have shown that metformin can block or diminish many of the underlying factors that

accelerate aging, and it has also been shown to extend lifespan in animals [5]. Dr. Nir Barzilai

from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, along with researchers from the American

Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) [5], want to find out if metformin can extend lifespan in

humans as well.

The study, called Targeting Aging with Metformin (TAME), will evaluate 3,000 people over a

course of six years. Half of the participants will receive metformin, and the other half will

receive a placebo [9,5]. Since aging is largely characterized by the development of disease, the

success of the study will be determined by whether or not the drug delays the onset of typical

age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cognitive decline [5].

The good news is that we don’t have to wait for this new metformin study to get off the ground.

Metformin is already available as a prescription medication. And many thoughtful physicians

who are presented with the evidence will prescribe it based on its recognized benefits against

specific age-related disorders [5].

Studies on metformin’s anti-diabetic effects demonstrate that metformin does not affect all users

in the same fashion. Thus, precision metformin therapy may be needed to fully realize the benefit

of metformin to combat aging-related diseases in humans [9].


Do not share this medication with others. Attend a diabetes education program to learn more about how to manage your diabetes with medications, diet, exercise, and regular medical exams [4].

 Learn the symptoms of high and low blood sugar and how to treat low blood sugar. Check

your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor.

 Lab and/or medical tests (such as kidney function, liver function, blood sugar, hemoglobin

A1c, complete blood counts) should be done before you start taking this medication and

while you are taking it. Keep all medical and lab appointments [8]. Consult your doctor for

more details [4].

 If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember with food. If it is near the time of the next

dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to

catch up [7].

 Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep

all medications away from children and pets [4].

Things to remember

Metformin is a prescription drug and must be taken after an appropriate medical check up. I am a

qualified nurse, not a medical doctor, so always seek medical or professional advice before

consumption of any medication.


1. Available at:

2. Barzilai N, Crandall JP, Kritchevsky SB, et al. Metformin as a Tool to Target Aging. Cell Metab. 

3. Coughlan KA, Valentine RJ, Ruderman NB, et al. AMPK activation: a therapeutic target for type 2

diabetes? Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 

4. Available at:

5. Graham GG, Punt J, Arora M, et al. Clinical pharmacokinetics of metformin. Clinical

Pharmacokinet. 2011;50(2):81-98

6. Hadden DR. Goat’s rue - French lilac - Italian fitch - Spanish sainfoin: gallega officinalis and

metformin: the Edinburgh connection. J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 

7. Perla V, Jayanty SS. Biguanide related compounds in traditional antidiabetic functional foods. Food


8. Formoso G, De Filippis EA, Michetti N, et al. Decreased in vivo oxidative stress and decreased platelet

activation following metformin treatment in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic subjects. Diabetes Metab

9. Garg G, Singh S, Singh AK, et al. Metformin Alleviates Altered Erythrocyte Redox Status During

Aging in Rats. Rejuvenation

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