Maybe you may have heard metformin can help you lose weight? Is it, however, true? More importantly, are you one of the people who could lose weight by taking this prescription drug?
Great questions. The answers are resounding maybe. Here’s everything you need to know about metformin, including why your doctor would prescribe it for weight loss.
What is metformin?
Metformin is an FDA-approved oral drug for controlling blood sugar levels in persons with type 2 diabetes. Sometimes, it is used off-label (meaning doctors prescribe it for non-FDA-approved uses that seem to work) in persons with prediabetes, which means they have slightly high blood sugar or insulin resistance and are at risk of developing diabetes. Also, it is used off-label to treat other conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome.
And How Does it Work?
Researchers aren’t certain how the drug works in the body in all of its forms. According to a 2017 research, “metformin is a complex drug with multiple sites of action and molecular mechanisms” that are not fully understood.
It causes the liver to produce and release less glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream, as well as the gut, allowing glucose to be used more efficiently. All of this is beneficial to diabetics whose blood sugar levels are too high or are not being used properly (which makes the body want to crank out more).
Can Metformin Cause Weight Loss?
This drug, according to studies, can help some people lose weight. However, the reason why this drug may cause weight loss is unknown. One theory is that it reduces your appetite, causing you to eat less. It could also affect how the body burns and stores fat.
Even though studies show metformin help with weight loss, it is not a quick fix. One study found that metformin weight loss occurs gradually over one to two years. In addition, the amount of weight lost varies.
It’s possible that using the drug without adopting other healthy habits won’t result in weight loss. People who exercise and follow a healthy diet while taking metformin lose the most weight. This is because the drug boost the number of calories burned during exercise. You will most likely miss out on this benefit if you don’t exercise.
Will my Doctor Prescribe Metformin for Weight Loss?
Your doctor may prescribe metformin if you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes and are obese to help lower your risk of diabetes and see if it can help you to lose weight.
This use of metformin is called off-label use. That implies the FDA hasn’t approved the drug as a weight-loss supplement. As a result, there is little data on its efficacy for this purpose.