Metformin: Side Benefits?

Common Diabetes Drug Associated With Risk Of Low Levels Of ...

Readers will know that when I was diagnosed with diabetes, my doctor got me on to insulin injections. After adopting the paleo diet, I didn’t need insulin anymore, but eventually I needed metformin to help control my blood glucose.

I was on the fence at first with metformin. I’m a stubborn man, and I wanted to fight high blood glucose naturally without the metformin. However, I serendipitously stumbled onto an article which mentioned the cancer rates of diabetics who take metformin v those who don’t. The metformin takers had a much lower rate of developing cancer than the non-takers. That was enough for me. Having seen family members go through chemo and hospice, anything that would reduce my chances of that end was worth doing. Onto the metformin I went.

That was seven years ago, and I didn’t follow up on any of the the side-benefits of metformin. However, this medicine has been popping up more and more on the net, so I thought is was worth doing a bit of research and sharing it with you.

Metformin and Cancer

So yes, there continues to be a raft of studies out there suggesting that metformin has cancer fighting qualities:

Metformin and Diabetes Complications

  • Stroke – A study published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases followed a group of Type-2 diabetics and found that 9.2 percent of those who took metformin had a stroke, compared with 17.5 percent of those who did not take it.
  • Dementia – Metformin may reduce the risk of dementia according to this study published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences, and Medical Sciences.
  • Heart Problems – A study published in Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases concludes that metformin may help protect against coronary events and heart failure.
  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – Metformin may reduce the risk for AMD by 58 percent, according to a study published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.

Other Possible Benefits

  • Fatty Liver – Metformin may help with the host of problems associated with fatty liver according to this study from the Balkan Medical Journal.
  • Osteoarthritis – Metformin seemed to help people lose cartilage at a lower rate than those who did not take metformin according to this study in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.
  • Alzheimer’s DiseaseResearch in the journal Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders found that metformin improved a range of cognitive skills although this was a short pilot study.
  • Anti-inflammatory Research in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology concluded metformin has anti-inflammatory properties. A study from Circulation Research also touted the drug’s ability to combat inflammation.
  • Autophagy – Nature Research concluded that metformin promotes autophagy. The journal Cell Metabolism drew a similar conclusion about autophagy but also noted the drug’s ability to normalise mitochondrial function and fight inflammation.


I obviously need this drug to thrive and survive. However, it is great to know that there is a solid, and growing, body of scholarship out there arguing that metformin is not just for diabetes. I have seen a few paleo/keto bloggers discussing the idea of healthy non-diabetics taking metformin to optimise health. I’ve got no opinion on that. The research, however, suggests that doing so may not be as outlandish as it seems.

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