If you know anyone who is suffering from type 2 diabetes, chances are that you’ve heard of the drug called metformin. Now, if you also happen to be someone who is desperate to lose weight and keep it off, then it’s also possible that you’ve heard about metformin’s supposed capability to help you lose weight. There are tons of articles out there suggesting that metformin could be the secret pill to all of your weight loss needs, but is there any veracity to those claims?
Well, the short answer is that it’s a definite maybe. There is a certain prospect that taking metformin can help you lose weight and a good reason why your doctor might even suggest that you take it if you’re really trying to lose weight, and here’s why.
The Evidence Behind the Theory
Metformin, which is also known as Glucophage, is an oral medication that is most often prescribed to patients with diabetes. Metformin helps patients control their blood sugar levels and also assists in the absorption of available glucose in the individual’s bloodstream. While metformin is generally a safe medication to take, some patients may experience some side effects such as muscle pain, uneven heart rate, weakness and dizziness. Another commonly advertised side effect of metformin is the possibility of weight loss.
A lot of research has been put into metformin and the many properties it has that can promote weight loss. According to studies, it’s possible that metformin can decrease appetite and thus reduce your daily intake of calories. Some research also suggests that metformin alters the way your body stores and makes use of fat. Metformin has also been shown to boost caloric burn while exercising, which is why doctors recommend a regular exercise regimen while on this medication.
What to Expect from Taking Metformin
Now, it’s very important to know that doctors make no concrete promise in taking metformin for weight loss, but there is certainly a great deal of scientific proof available to show that it’s effective. One important thing to note, however, is that metformin isn’t and shouldn’t be treated as a quick-fix solution to obesity.
A long-term study was conducted, which shows that any weight loss that could be attributed to metformin tends to occur gradually over the course of one to two years. Additionally, the degree of weight loss is also relative to the person who is taking it. In fact, in the study, the average weight loss between two years or more was seven pounds.
Another possibility is that you won’t lose any weight at all. This is because taking metformin still requires adhering to a lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise. Those who adjust their lifestyle for the better have been shown to lose the most amount of weight when coupled with a metformin prescription. As we mentioned earlier, metformin could potentially help boost the fat burn accomplished through exercise, so a regular exercise routine is preferable to lose the maximum amount of weight possible while taking the medication.
Will It Work for Me?
Just as with any other kind of weight loss medication, there’s no one hundred percent guarantee that it metformin will work for everyone. As we mentioned earlier, it will take healthy habits and exercise for metformin to have positive effects on your weight loss journey. Additionally, the weight loss you experience could potentially only last for as long as you are on the medication. Essentially, what this means is that when you stop taking metformin, there’s a high likelihood that you could gain the weight back. With that being said, we recommend that you view metformin like you would any other diet or weight less supplement – a supplement to healthy habits, not your magical solution to weight loss.
One other important thing to consider when it comes to metformin is that there’s no guarantee that your doctor will even prescribe it to you. Metformin is typically only prescribed to patients who are pre-diabetic or already have type 2 diabetes and generally for the purpose of managing diabetes. Another thing that you should take into serious consideration is that using metformin for weight loss is, essentially, an off-label purpose so the FDA has in no way approved this medication for the purpose of weight loss.
What Happens if my Doctor Does Prescribe it to Me?
If you’re one of the people who have been prescribed metformin, then it means that your doctor sees a need for it. The first step that you should make sure to complete if it is prescribed to you is to let your doctor know of all the other kinds of medication that you are taking. It’s especially important to disclose any medication you’re taking that is related to diabetes.
Another good idea is to bring at least a week’s worth of your pre and post meal blood sugar records so that the doctor can have a look and adjust your prescription if needed. Dosages prescribed depend on various factors, so it’s folly to assume that your prescription will be the same as others you know who are on the same medication. It’s common for doctors to prescribe a low dosage of metformin when you’re just starting the medication and then adjust and increase your dosage gradually as time goes by.
When taking metformin, it’s important to take it with a meal whether you’ve been prescribed to take it once or twice a day. At the same time, you should take care to avoid consuming high-calorie or high-fat meals while on this medication. The best diet to maintain, while on metformin, is to consume primarily fresh fruit, vegetables, an appropriate serving of nuts and whole grains.
You should also continue to track your blood sugar after meals. Another fantastic practice to maintain while you are taking metformin is to drink a full glass of water every time you take your dosage. As a happy bonus, taking a glass of water each time will aid in feeling satiated and decrease your cravings for unhealthy food.