metformin anticancer drugBy Alane Archer, ND, CNC

This drug is in a classification of medications which go by the name of “Biguanides.” This group is known for lowering blood sugar through decreasing the amount of glucose the liver puts out. What metformin does is shut down this excess production which also means less insulin is required. The result is that the muscles have less sugar to absorb and transform into fat. Sometimes the side effect of weight loss occurs.

Metformin does come with side effects, one of with being gastrointestinal issues. Some other symptoms which you may or may not have to deal with are bloating, nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea and others. Metformin does come in a time released form at regular pharmacies and a topical form from some compounding pharmacies which may help avoid the GI distresses.

When compared to any other diabetes medication, metformin:
Does not cause weight gain (in some cases, may cause weight loss)
Does not cause hypoglycemia
Can significantly lower one’s glucose levels (33% chance of preventing diabetes)
Does not cause bone loss
Disease protection from dementia, stroke, cancer and cardiovascular issues
Is not inject-able

As beneficial as it is, there are some specific groups where metformin is likely to cause more harm than good. People with kidney or liver disease, moderate to excessive amounts of alcohol, and anyone with heart-related issues. Anyone taking a CT scan or X-Ray which require dyes should at least pause from taking metformin.

An excerpt from PubMed about metformin and its promising trials against cancer. Metformin, an inexpensive, well-tolerated oral agent that is commonly used in the first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes, has become the focus of intense research as a potential anticancer agent. This research reflects a convergence of epidemiologic, clinical, and preclinical evidence, suggesting that metformin may lower cancer risk in diabetics and improve outcomes of many common cancers. Notably, metformin mediates an approximately 30 % reduction in the lifetime risk of cancer in diabetic patients. There is growing recognition that metformin may act (1) directly on cancer cells, primarily by impacting mitochondrial respiration leading to the activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), which controls energy homeostasis in cells, but also through other mechanisms or (2) indirectly on the host metabolism, largely through AMPK-mediated reduction in hepatic gluconeogenesis, leading to reduced circulating insulin levels and decreased insulin/IGF-1 receptor-mediated activation of the PI3K pathway. Support for this comes from the observation that metformin inhibits cancer cell growth in vitro and delays the onset of tobacco carcinogen-induced lung cancer in mice and that metformin and its analog phenformin delay spontaneous tumor development cancer-prone transgenic mice. The potential for both direct antitumor effects and indirect host-mediated effects has sparked enormous interest but has led to added challenges in translating preclinical findings to the clinical setting. Nonetheless, the accumulation of evidence has been sufficient to justify initiation of clinical trials of metformin as an anticancer agent in the clinical setting, including a large-scale adjuvant study in breast cancer, with additional studies planned.

Comprehensive metabolic testing can help indicate if Diabetes or Insulin Resistance is an issue you may need to address. Not every clinic runs blood work that is truly comprehensive, we do! Along with your test results you will be provided with a supportive protocol for enhanced health and wellness. Glucose and A1C levels are simply NOT enough to test each year, there are other important metabolic indicators that should not be left out.

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