Metformin May Slow Aging

Many of our customers take metformin to aid with their blood sugar concerns. It was first discovered in the 1950s and has been used in the U.S. since the ’90s to help people. Millions of people have taken it. A new study thinks it might aid aging as well as blood sugar health.

Trials from the American Federation for Aging Research want to examine whether metformin can fight age-related cancers, heart disease and cognitive decline. The drug’s anti-inflammatory nature reduces how much glucose circulates in the blood. It may also slow the effects of aging.

The six-year trials are recruiting 3,000 participants between the ages of 65 and 79 to see if metformin slows the “development or progression of age-related chronic diseases — such as heart disease, cancer and dementia.” Metformin can delay aging in animals and can extend the lifespan of mice. A study in Britain found that people with blood sugar concerns who took metformin had a lower risk of dementia and cognitive decline. However, that was observational rather than an experiment. Researchers are looking for proof of cause and effect.

It’s amazing that scientists can learn new things about a drug that is over 70 years old. However, they are studying it to learn how it may reduce oxidative stress that damages cells and causes aging.

The researchers have been pushing for this study since 2015. However, getting funding for the work had been difficult. Steven Austad, a senior scientific advisor at the American Federation for Aging Research, explained, “The main obstacle with funding this study is that metformin is a generic drug, so no pharmaceutical company is standing to make money.”

While it’s only officially used to aid blood sugar, doctors can prescribe it for other uses if they discuss it with their patients. Like other medications it can have side effects. It causes GI problems for some people. Others can develop a b12 deficiency. And people over 65 can have difficulty building muscle while taking metformin. However, the benefits can outweigh the drawbacks and not everyone experiences those side effects.

Getting these trials started may take some time. And they will take six years. However, people taking metformin already may take comfort that the drug may boost healthy aging.

Influencers are continually pushing anti-aging regimens. They are unproven, some are unsafe and they are almost universally expensive. The concept of “anti-aging” is often linked to how a person looks rather than how they feel or their health. Aging should be celebrated. Getting older is great. But medical advances that allow people to age without age-related illnesses are necessary to help them live healthier lives and enjoy their years!

Banner image: Sweet Life via Unsplash

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