While we all are excited about the potential of an antiaging pill, I am somewhat skeptical that Metformin is the answer. Metformin is a very old drug used to maintain blood sugar control in patients with diabetes.
I’ve recently introduced Metformin as an adjunct to our weight loss and Hormone replacement programs as recent studies report that patients maintained on Metformin lose around 5-10 pounds over 6 months. I thought it would be helpful for those patients who have worked hard and come close to goal weight but struggle hard with those last 10 lbs. Although it sounds good in theory, in practice its not so easy. In my experience non-diabetic patients who tolerate Metformin well are in the minority. The majority of patients experience adverse side effects such as light headedness, headache, fatigue, irritability, and generally feeling “out of sorts”. These symptoms are distressing and cause patients to stop taking it. Therefore, while its true it can be used in some people to assist with weight loss, improve health and possibly extend longevity in non-diabetic patients, a widespread long term double blind study is fraught with difficulty and unlikely to produce meaningful results due to non-compliance.
I still consider it as an option for some of my patients but use it judiciously as it certainly is not for everyone. Clean eating, hormone optimization, regular exercise, and patience continue to win as the best method to reach goal weight, improve quality of life and extend longevity.