Recent research suggests an old standby drug for diabetes, known as Metformin, may have additional uses. Metformin has shown in recent trials to have significant mechanisms for decreasing inflammatory signals known to produce cytokines in our body. The authors of the research hype the possibility this could decrease aging of cells and improve cancer treatment due to the decrease in cellular cytokine production–not by the mechanism of lowering blood sugar as the drug found original popularity.
I often talk with patients about the true nature of “inflammation.” Inflammation is the common pathway for repair and destruction in the body. Inflammation serves as a common mechanistic link between conditions seemingly unrelated like: rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, psoriasis, coronary artery disease, asthma, allergies and cancer.
High levels of inflammatory signals (cytokines) are characteristic in each of these diseases even though they seemingly affect only certain parts of the body (Joints, skin, arteries, etc.) We already know however that these diseases are linked because for instance, patients suffering rheumatoid arthritis or psoriasis are much more likely to suffer heart disease (CAD).
Going back to the recent study on metformin lowering inflammation, the authors merely spur interest by speculating about the future possibilities of anti-aging and cancer therapy. From a pure medical standpoint, I’m intrigued by the study and look forward to updating my readers on this type of research. I too am excited to learn more about exact cellular mechanisms for disease and repair.
As a physician I have used Metformin for years with patients as a first line drug for diabetes–behind diet and lifestyle. I find it safe but not without side effects or serious risks when given in the wrong individual with the wrong set of medical complications. In my experience clinically, people taking Metformin don’t live longer, they still have heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes just like everyone else.
Intriguing study… wonder drug I doubt.
Please don’t go out and ask your doctor to put you on Metformin based on this type of research. Besides that, there are tons of ways to lower inflammation naturally through nutrition and natural supplementation. In the coming weeks I’ll post again on inflammation with specific recommendations I commonly share with my patients.
As I’ve said before, there’s no health in a bottle. Not yet anyway.