Could diabetes drug metformin prolong life?

One of the oldest diabetes drugs on the market, metformin, could also deliver benefits that help prevent serious health complications, according to new research.

A study on mice from researchers at the National Institute of Aging found that metformin can not only slow the rate of cancer progression, reduce heart disease and possibly even limit the effects of Alzheimer's, it could also prolong life.

Fight off aging

Researchers noted that aging-related diseases like cancer and heart disease are connected along a "biological pathway." Metformin, along with resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, and rapamycin, a medication used to help organ transplants from being rejected, seems to affect the same pathway and therefore helps to slow the aging process.

The mice study found that metformin could extend life by a few weeks, which, in human years, is the equivalent of 3-4 years. Based on the findings, researchers said that future anti-aging treatments might focus more on prevention than treating illness after it has already manifested.

USA Today reports:

Brian Kennedy, CEO of The Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, Calif., said he envisions a day when, instead of giving people drugs after they get sick, healthy people will be able to take pills to avoid illness. Such a pill wouldn't prevent all aging, he said, but by delaying the deadliest diseases for even a few years, it could have a dramatic benefit on an individual's quality of life and the nation's economy.

Should you pop a pill?

Don't run out an get a prescription for metformin just yet, the researchers warned. Mice-model studies are good for experimentation, but there is still little known about how the drug might affect humans who do not need it for diabetes control. Side effects of the drug might include kidney problems or diarrhea.

Yet the research points to the possibility of a new drug – one that could be developed to amplify metformin's anti-aging benefits.

"It's clear that we are edging toward developing a pharmaceutical intervention that is going to be able to delay or postpone aging," said study lead Rafael de Cabo, a biogerontologist at the National Institute of Aging. "For how much and how long, I have no idea."

The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Source: USA Today

Get a Free Diabetes Meal Plan

Get a free 7-Day Diabetes Meal Plan from Constance Brown-Riggs who is a Registered Dietitian-Certified Diabetes Educator and who is also a national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Just enter in your email below to download your free Diabetes Meal Plan.

By clicking Submit, you agree to send your info to BattleDiabetes.com who, in addition to 3rd party partners, may contact you with updates, products and information and we agree to use it according to our privacy policy and terms and conditions.

More Articles

More Articles

Scientists have discovered that a single gene forms a common link between type 2 diabetes and...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Natural supplements like cinnamon extract and apple cider vinegar could hold the key to lowering blood sugar levels, according to a recent...

Could a person's risk for type 2 diabetes be written in their genes?

According to a study recently published in ...

Women who frequently shift around their sleeping hours could have worse metabolic health outcomes than their peers who stick with a...

The presence of the hormone leptin may hinder prenatal development, which could explain the origin of type 2 diabetes, according to...

An analysis of fossilized Native American feces shows that our ancestors ate up to sixteen times the fiber that we do today, but our...

Managing diabetes is hugely challenging for people of any age, but a new study suggests that young people may suffer all the more....

Disruptions to the gut’s ecosystem could be a future symptom facing young children who take antibiotics, which makes them more susceptible...

Breastfeeding a newborn holds many benefits for mommy and baby; it reduces the baby's risk for colds and viruses, it helps his bones (and yours)...

Fans of the Dexcom G5 Mobile have something to smile about.

At yesterday's hearing with the U.S. Food and Drug...

If you start your day with a cup of tea and end it with a glass of red wine, your blood sugar may thank you.

At least that...

As medical experts continue to debate whether or not "healthy obesity" can even exist, one new study suggests that risk for heart disease...

For years, type 1 diabetics have been anxiously waiting for that medical marvel that can stop the constant injections: the artificial...

“Low-fat” has been the battle cry of the health-conscious for over ‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌...