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Can Metformin Actually Help You Lose Weight?

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The first course of treatment for type 2 diabetes is metformin. It is one of the most frequently administered medications to treat diabetes and obesity. Beyond its anti-hyperglycemic effects, researchers think metformin is relatively safe to use and provides substantial results. But the medication is only available by prescription, so you must see your doctor and check if it’s right. While metformin may have various side effects, one of the most prevalent ones that everyone is curious to know is whether it induces weight loss. Surprisingly, the answer is yes! 

It might sound like a good idea to consider taking a medication usually prescribed for type 2 diabetes to lose some extra pounds. However, the answer to the metformin weight loss claims is not that simple. Regarding weight loss and metformin, doctors are not supportive of its use solely for this reason, meaning that metformin treatment is for weight loss alone. Whether you have diabetes or not, a combination of diet and exercise remains the healthiest, most consistent route for weight loss. 

What is Metformin, and How Does It Work?

To manage high blood sugar, doctors often prescribe metformin combined with a healthy diet and exercise routine. It is a member of the biguanide drug family. Metformin lowers the amount of glucose the liver releases and improves insulin efficiency, reducing blood sugar levels. It is suitable for someone with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and higher body weight. However, you cannot use it to treat type 1 diabetes. (wherein the body produces little or no insulin and thus has difficulty controlling blood sugar).

Researchers have also discovered a high correlation between taking metformin and weight loss, even though it is not strictly considered a weight-loss medicine. Some studies have demonstrated the advantages of metformin treatment for weight loss in overweight and obese patients. But does it work, and is it a good option for you? The short answer is taking the drug without practising other healthy habits may not lead to weight loss.

The HealthifyMe Note

Weight loss is an interesting side effect while taking metformin. It could provide a means to lose weight while controlling high sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. These outcomes have made metformin a desirable research subject for conditions linked to overweight and obesity. Talk to your doctor if you’re curious whether metformin could be a suitable addition to your weight-loss journey.  

Can Metformin Help Me Lose Weight?

According to research, after using metformin for a year, the average weight loss ranges from 1.8 kg to 3 kg. So some people can lose weight, but this drug is not a quick fix. 

The following reasons could explain the “metformin weight loss” claims.

Improves Blood Glucose Control 

As discussed earlier, metformin aids in regulating blood glucose levels. As a result, the quantity of glucose your liver produces and the amount you absorb from food reduces. Metformin also improves how your body reacts to insulin, a hormone that naturally regulates blood sugar levels. Weight frequently decreases when insulin sensitivity improves. Therefore, it allows the body to control and maintain weight better. 

Reduction of Appetite

Metformin’s ability to reduce appetite is the main factor in weight loss. Reduced hunger is a typical side effect of this medication, brought on by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin and leptin hormone. Leptin tells your body when to stop eating, so increased sensitivity to this hormone makes you feel less hungry. Over time, even a little reduction in daily caloric intake might result in a significant amount of weight loss that is evident. Little, subtle alterations can have a considerable impact; perhaps this is why metformin causes weight loss.

Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes

If you are also making dietary modifications and increasing physical activity simultaneously, you may lose weight while taking metformin. Such lifestyle adjustments might contribute to long-term weight loss. But suppose you are taking metformin but do not adopt other healthy habits. In that case, metformin alone may not be sufficient to lose weight. If you’ve just started a metformin prescription, the following can aid in speeding up your weight loss: 

  • Engaging in regular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
  • Reducing the added sugar and refined carbohydrates in your diet

Metformin is not a stand-alone therapy for weight reduction due to its inconsistent weight loss effects. That said, measuring how well metformin works depends on your consistency. For example, there’s a good chance you will return to your original weight if you stop taking metformin. But people who exercise tend to lose the most weight because metformin increases the calories burned during exercise.

The HealthifyMe Note

Although it is not a certified weight loss drug, metformin may lead to modest weight reductions. While some think this medication decreases hunger, others say it alters how the body regulates blood sugar. In addition to metformin and other drugs for type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, doctors frequently advise patients to make certain dietary and lifestyle adjustments. Regardless of these aspects, those wishing to lose weight while taking metformin should also maintain a nutrient-rich, calorie-controlled diet and exercise regularly.

How to Use

Here is some information regarding metformin usage in case you want to include it in your daily routine. But, most importantly, before making any decisions or modifying your lifestyle, talk to your doctor about using metformin.

Dosage

The oral forms of metformin include liquid, tablet, and extended-release (long-acting) tablets. The liquid is often consumed once or twice daily with meals; dosages range from 5 to 9.5 ml. Two or three times a day, the standard tablet is typically taken with meals. The extended-release tablet is often taken with dinner once a day. For extended-release metformin, doses should not exceed 2,500 mg daily for adults and typically range between 500 mg and 1000 mg.

Take metformin exactly as prescribed, both in terms of dosage and frequency. Please do not take more or less of it than your doctor has advised because the amount required may differ from person to person. We recommend you carefully follow the instructions on your prescription label and ask your doctor or pharmacist to clarify any information you are unsure of. For example, your physician might prescribe you a low dose of metformin and then gradually increase it. Keep a close eye on your weight so your doctor can determine how effectively metformin works.

Adverse Side Effects

Metformin might result in side effects, just like any other medication. Therefore, use it with caution. If a person takes metformin and encounters any adverse symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately. Typical adverse effects include: 

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Stomach Pain
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Dizziness

If you suffer from kidney illness, let your doctor know. Most likely, your doctor will advise against taking metformin. Moreover, if you have dental surgery or any serious medical operation, please tell the doctor that you are taking metformin. Consultation is necessary even if you want to have any x-ray technique involving dye injection. It is true, mainly if you currently or previously consumed substantial amounts of alcohol, have liver illness, or have experienced heart failure. Before the procedure, you might need to stop taking metformin and wait 48 hours before starting it again.

Precautions and Safety Tips

  • If you have an allergy to metformin, any of the substances in metformin liquid, tablets, or any other medication, let your doctor and pharmacist know before taking metformin. For a list of the ingredients, consult your pharmacist or the manufacturer’s patient information.
  • For your doctor and pharmacist to be sure that metformin won’t conflict with your other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal items, it’s crucial to let them know what else you’re taking.
  • Diabetes and obesity are not cured by metformin, although you can manage them. Therefore, without consulting your doctor, do not discontinue taking metformin.
  • Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. Then, if the next dose is due, skip the missed one and continue with your regular dosing plan. Do not take a second one to make up for a missing dose.
  • Make sure to abide by all the dietary and exercise advice given to you by your physician or nutritionist. Eating a balanced diet is necessary for weight loss. 

Conclusion

When you consider all factors, metformin can result in a small amount of weight loss in people who take it regularly. However, the average weight loss per year isn’t very significant. Because of this, metformin is not a weight-loss treatment or magic diet pill but a prescription therapy that aids in improving blood sugar control in those with insulin resistance. However, suppose you have diabetes or are overweight and want to lose weight healthily. In that case, you can work with your doctor to develop a diet plan and exercise routine and start taking metformin.

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