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Does it work and should you take it?



  Metformin and Weight Loss Share on Pinterest

Created by the experts of Healthline for Greatist. Read more

You are in a dressing room and working on the selection of jeans you bring. You have the size you believe you are, the size you are likely to be (Reality Check), and the size you hope for Soon, if you can do it easily!

Then you hear about a drug called Metformin, which can help with weight loss. Sure, it might sound strange to think about taking a medicine that is usually prescribed for type 2 diabetes to lose some weight. But does it work and is it a good option for you?

The short answer is maybe.

Let's take a look at how metformin, a blood glucose control drug, has gained this reputation.

Metformin can help some people lose weight, but the reasons are not clear. Some researchers believe that the drug reduces appetite, while others believe that it changes the way in which the body stores and uses fat.

Researchers agree, however, that metformin is not a fast solution. In a long-term study, metformin weight loss gradually occurred over a period of one to two years. And the average weight loss during that time was between 4 and 7 pounds.

Lifestyle also plays a big role. If you do not take the medicine without practicing other healthy habits, it may not result in weight loss.

People who exercise and eat healthily while taking metformin tend to lose the most weight. It is believed that metformin increases the number of calories burned during exercise. So if you are not exercising, you probably will not benefit from this benefit.

Continued use is also important because weight loss may only last as long as you take the medicine. In other words, if you stop taking Metformin, there is a good chance that you will return to your original weight. And even while you are still taking the medicine, you can slowly gain weight that you have lost.

Conclusion

Metformin is no magic diet pill . It has been shown to reduce weight in some people but not in others. Nonetheless, one benefit of metformin is that metformin, while not causing weight loss, also causes no weight gain which is not true for many drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes.

Someone with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes who has a higher body weight may be prescribed metformin to treat his diabetes or lower his or her overall risk. Metformin is not usually prescribed for type 1 diabetes.

What happens if I do not have diabetes?

A doctor may prescribe metformin for weight loss, even if a patient has no diabetes or prediabetes.

This type of use would be considered "off-label," which means that the FDA has not explicitly approved it. For this reason, there is less information about how effective metformin is in weight loss that is not related to diabetes.

However, the treatment of diabetes and weight loss are not the only reasons a doctor could prescribe metformin.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known as polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common disease caused by an imbalance of female reproductive hormones. It affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age.

PCOS has been associated with insulin resistance. This association is especially common in patients with familial diabetes, higher body weight, or low physical activity.

Over time, insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes. For this reason, metformin has been suggested for the treatment of PCOS. Again, this would be an off-label application because metformin has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of PCOS.

The use of metformin may not be the only reason a person loses weight. Weight loss can also be caused by comorbidities.

These include:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Cancer
  • AIDS
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Digestive problems such as IBS or stomach infections

Other medications can also play a role. Chemotherapeutics often lead to weight loss due to loss of appetite, as well as certain medications prescribed for the treatment of ADHD (such as Adderall and Concerta).

If your doctor prescribes metformin, he will decide which dose is best for you. Normally, the dosage starts low and gradually increases over a few weeks to minimize side effects.

The dosage also depends on whether the patient suffers from type 2 diabetes and what type of metformin is prescribed.

Adults initially take 500 mg twice daily or 850 mg once daily. The dosage may be increased in increments of 500 mg per week or 850 mg every two weeks up to 2,000 mg per day and administered in divided doses. The drug is taken orally, usually with a meal.

Always ask your doctor about proper use and dosage of medication.

As with any drug, it is important to consider the risks involved.

Current Drug Labeling The FDA strongly recommends the use of metformin in patients with abnormal renal function.

In these patients, the use of metformin may increase the risk of lactic acidosis, a serious and potentially fatal disease. Lactic acidosis is a result of too much lactic acid in the blood.

It is also important to know when to seek help with certain side effects. If you notice any of the following symptoms while taking Metformin:

  • weakness
  • breathing difficulties
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • accidental muscle pain
  • unusual drowsiness
  • stomach pain
  • [19659026] Nausea or vomiting
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat

Most at risk of lactic acidosis are:

  • Persons who consume or abuse alcohol while taking metformin
  • People with liver problems
  • People with kidney problems
  • 19659033] Another serious side effect is a low-sugar reaction. In this case, your blood sugar drops to dangerous levels. If your blood sugar drops too low, you may experience seizures, fainting, brain damage or even death.

    Too low a blood sugar reaction must be treated immediately to avoid additional dangerous side effects. The treatment usually consists of taking 15 to 20 grams of glucose. This can be done in several ways, including drinking sugary drinks or eating sweets.

    Some symptoms of low blood sugar are:

    • drowsiness
    • irritability
    • headache
    • weakness
    • confusion
    • tremor
    • sweating
    • increased heart rate
    • 19659026 Dizziness [19659033] Other possible side effects include:

      • gas
      • diarrhea
      • nausea
      • heartburn
      • stomach pain

Any weight loss is different and the healthiest and most consistent route remains a combination of diet and exercise.

If you are curious about whether metformin might be a good supplement for you, talk to your doctor. You can answer your questions and help find a weight loss plan that suits you.

Some good questions are:

  • Can you recommend a diet and exercise program?
  • Would I benefit from medications that help me lose weight?
  • What is a sensible goal in losing weight for me?
  • If I lose weight, can I stop some of my medications for diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure?

Diabetes-Friendly Diets

  • Paleo Diet: The Paleo Diet promotes food from whole, unprocessed animal and plant foods such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. It avoids processed foods, sugars, dairy products and cereals.
  • Gluten-Free Nutrition: Celiac disease is more common in people with type 1 diabetes. An estimated 8 percent of people with type 1 diabetes also suffer from celiac disease. The only way to deal with this disease is to avoid all gluten-containing foods.
  • Vegetarian or Vegan Diet: A six-month study of 74 people with type 2 diabetes found that vegetarian diets were nearly twice as effective as a low-calorie diet for reducing body weight.
  • Mediterranean Diet: This diet is based on foods that are traditionally eaten in countries such as Italy and Greece. The kitchen is rich in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, potatoes, whole grains, herbs, spices, seafood and virgin olive oil.
  • DASH Diet: " DASH" stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop High Blood Pressure (aka Hypertension). The DASH Diet encourages you to replace the sodium in your diet with a variety of nutrient-rich foods that help reduce blood pressure.

Because metformin is primarily targeted at controlling blood sugar levels, it should likely be restricted to Type 2 diabetes.

It is unclear whether weight loss while taking metformin is a direct result of the medicine or whether it could be due to lifestyle changes, other health conditions or other medications.

People without type 2 diabetes who desire weight loss would probably benefit more from diet and exercise than metformin.

Conclusion

Whether you are diabetic or not, diet and exercise are the healthiest and most consistent way to lose weight.


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