Metformin For Weight Loss | Care2 Healthy Living

Metformin is a medicine stated to trigger weight loss, however is it true? Should you be fearful about taking metformin for sort 2 diabetes in case you are underweight, or do you have to use it if you’d like a slimmer waistline? This article takes a seems to be on the present proof and whether or not you possibly can take metformin for weight loss.

What is Metformin?

What is metformin?

Metformin belongs to the category of medicines referred to as “oral hypoglycemics”. This means it’s taken by mouth to assist scale back blood sugar (glucose) ranges. For this cause, metformin is usually used for the administration of type 2 diabetes.

How Does Metformin Work?

The method metformin works isn’t absolutely understood but. However, what is understood is that it reduces the manufacturing of sugar by liver cells (1).

Metformin additionally improves insulin sensitivity and influences the bacterial community within the intestine. It might have anti-inflammatory results that might be useful for metabolic health too (2, 3).

Metformin can also trigger weight loss by decreasing food consumption and blocking gastrointestinal absorption of glucose, no less than in principle (4).

Summary: Commonly prescribed for sort 2 diabetes, metformin is a medicine that influences the metabolism and absorption of sugar.

What is Metformin Used For?

Metformin has been accepted for treating sort 2 diabetes. This medicine can also be typically prescribed for the next:

  • Gestational diabetes (5)
  • Polycystic ovarian illness (PCOS) (6)
  • Reducing the danger of diabetes (7).

Research continues on different makes use of for metformin together with:

  • Anti-aging or anti-cancer results (8)
  • Helping handle sort 1 diabetes (9)
  • Reducing the danger of coronary heart illness (10).

Summary: Metformin has been permitted for the administration of sort 2 diabetes. It is usually prescribed for different circumstances that contain irregular blood sugar, akin to diabetes throughout pregnancy.

weight loss

Can You Take Metformin For Weight Loss?

Metformin helps handle sort 2 diabetes, a health situation related to being obese. Knowing this, scientists started to marvel if the drug may work by contributing to weight loss. Here are a few of their findings:

Weight Loss in Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise and diet are on the first line of defence for sort 2 diabetes. When these aren’t sufficient, drugs resembling metformin could also be prescribed. Metformin has been reported to trigger a mean weight loss of 5 % in individuals with sort 2 diabetes (11).

Likewise, Canada’s Clinical Practice Guidelines discovered that oral hypoglycemics like metformin are related to 6.6 kilos (three kg) common weight loss in individuals with sort 2 diabetes.

Keep in thoughts that is long-term weight loss.

Weight Loss in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Weight loss is usually an essential a part of PCOS remedy. Metformin has been proven to enhance the hormonal profile and scale back weight in ladies with PCOS (12).

A 2016 meta-analysis discovered that using metformin by ladies with PCOS resulted in a zero.65 % discount in Body Mass Index (BMI). This works out to be about 2 kilos (1 kg) for a 5’four” (162 cm) lady (13).

So it helps with PCOS, barely.

Weight Loss in Children and Adolescents

According to a 2013 evaluation, metformin might end in short-term weight loss in overweight youngsters and adolescents (14).

This weight loss could also be the results of metformin’s capability to scale back starvation ranges. The influence of metformin mixed with way of life interventions resulted in “very modest” weight loss in overweight adolescents (15, 16).

In an 18-month research of adolescents with excessive insulin ranges, metformin stabilized BMI greater than placebo (pretend capsule) and resulted in a three % discount in physique fats. No vital weight loss occurred although (17).


Median BMI modifications of members over an 18-month interval. The black line represents these taking metformin, the dotted line is these taking a placebo. This diagram suggests metformin helps to stop weight achieve slightly than inflicting weight loss.

Weight Loss for People Taking Anti-Psychotic Medication

Antipsychotic drugs like olanzapine and quetiapine are sometimes prescribed for critical points like bipolar dysfunction and major depression. Unfortunately, they will trigger weight achieve and blood sugar abnormalities.

The use of metformin together with these drugs has been extensively studied. Metformin, notably when mixed with way of life interventions, can scale back anti-psychotic-induced weight achieve. This is true regardless of the age (18, 19).

Weight Loss for the General Population

In a research of over 150 individuals with weight problems, a number of fascinating findings emerged (20):

  • Metformin resulted in a mean weight loss of 13 kilos (6 kg) over 6 months.
  • There was a variety of outcomes. At the extremes, one affected person misplaced 77 kilos (35 kg), one other one gained 29 kilos (13 kg).
  • Patients who have been each overweight and insulin resistant misplaced roughly 2 kilos greater than sufferers with out insulin resistance.
  • 20 % of the sufferers misplaced no weight on metformin.
  • 6 % of these taking metformin gained weight.
  • 16.2 % of the individuals misplaced a minimum of 10 % of their physique weight.
  • More than 47 % of members misplaced no less than 5 % of their physique weight.


Weight modifications in physique weight (%) after 6 months of metformin remedy. Metformin customers are the darkish shade, management (placebo) group are the white shade. Insulin resistant sufferers (HOMA >2.5) misplaced considerably extra weight vs sufferers with regular regular insulin.

In one other research with morbidly overweight people, 28 weeks of metformin remedy led to a drop in common weight from 258 to 245 kilos (117 kg to 111 kg) (21).

So from these outcomes it definitely appears it might assist in obese individuals, at the very least for six months. And it’s much more useful in these with blood sugar points.

However, analysis hasn’t all the time discovered metformin to be efficient for weight loss.

In a research of 200 obese younger ladies, way of life interventions together with structured food regimen, exercise and behavioural remedy have been discovered to be simpler than metformin for weight loss (22). Similar outcomes have been present in a research of 92 Latina ladies with pre-diabetes. Lifestyle interventions proved simpler than metformin, which contributed to a weight loss of roughly 2 kilos over the yr (23).

Given the conflicting proof from top quality research, it means that if metformin does trigger weight loss, it’s minor.

Summary: Metformin has been linked with weight loss and/or upkeep in sure teams of individuals together with these with sort 2 diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome and people taking antipsychotic medicine. However, metformin doesn’t appear to persistently trigger vital weight loss within the basic inhabitants.

Are there different potential advantages of metformin?

Metformin seems to have a number of advantages outdoors of weight loss. These embrace (24, 25, 26):

  • Reduced complete ldl cholesterol.
  • Reduced “bad” ldl cholesterol (LDL)
  • Improved blood triglycerides
  • Reduced proof of irritation
  • Reduced insulin resistance.

Summary: In addition to enchancment in blood sugar, metformin might produce other advantages. These embrace improved blood lipids and decreased irritation.

What Are the Side Effects/Risks of Taking Metformin?

Some of the most typical metformin unwanted effects embrace abdomen upset, similar to:

  • Excessive fuel and diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of urge for food
  • Abdominal ache.

Its use may also decrease vitamin B12 ranges, so concentrate on that.

Metformin may also end in low blood sugar, however that is uncommon. It’s extra more likely to be an issue if an individual isn’t consuming sufficient, consuming alcohol or taking one other medicine that reduces blood sugar (27, 29).

Metformin may end up in a probably life-threatening improve in blood lactate ranges when kidney perform is impaired. For this cause, metformin is probably not appropriate for some individuals with kidney issues (30).

It may additionally be unsuitable for individuals with sure lung and liver circumstances.

Summary: Metformin is mostly related to gastrointestinal uncomfortable side effects. It also can trigger B12 deficiency. More unusual, however probably critical, negative effects can happen in these with kidney, lung or liver circumstances.

Does Metformin Cause Weight Loss?

If you’ve “pre-diabetes“, sort 2 diabetes, or are taking antipsychotic treatment, metformin might enhance the outcomes of your weight loss efforts noticeably.

Additionally, in case you are very obese and are beginning to have points with blood sugar ranges (insulin resistance) then it might assist ever so barely. Those with ongoing blood sugar ranges points are higher off making an attempt a low-carb diet if given a selection.

However, for those who don’t have any of those circumstances, metformin won’t trigger weight loss. Likewise, in case you are already underweight it’s going to have little to no unfavorable results. This drug isn’t authorised as a weight loss software, and your physician wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) simply prescribe metformin for weight loss.

A model of this publish initially appeared on Diet vs Disease as Can You Take Metformin for Weight Loss? A look at The Numbers 

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