Metformin Dangers For Diabetics + Alternatives & Substitutes

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder described by abnormal lipid, hyperglycemia, and protein metabolism along with long-term complication affecting the kidney, retina, and nervous system.

Metformin, also sold as Glucophage, is considered the “first-line” patent medicine for treating diabetes mellitus and has become one of the most popular blood sugar lowering patent medications in use. For instance, in 2014, about 14.4 million individuals in the US were prescribed this drug.

It works by helping the human body use insulin, plus, it improves the liver’s functions by reducing the amount of sugar the body absorbs from foods and lowering the amount of glucose (sugar) your liver makes.

Metformin Dangers and Long-Term Side Effects for Diabetics

The most common complaint with this medicine is that it can cause gastrointestinal issues, including – diarrhea and abdominal discomfort.

Decreases Renal Function

According to a 2014 study conducted at the Yale School of Medicine, this medicine can cause renal impairment, particularly in sufferers with kidney disease due to the fact that the kidneys clear it and it may accumulate when renal function decreases.

Thyroid Disorder

The thyroid gland is a small endocrine gland located in the neck, just in front of the trachea. This medication is strongly associated with hypothyroidism (also known as an underactive thyroid), as per a study issued in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Frequent signs of hypothyroidism are weight gain, tiredness, and feeling depressed.

Malaise

People using this medicines, especially women, may experience general malaise, which is a general feeling of being unwell, either physically or emotionally, or a combination of the two. Malaise may be either chronic or acute and arise with a variety of different conditions.

Hypoglycemia

Since the primary role of this drug is to lower high levels of blood sugar, it also has the potential to lower blood sugar below what is considered the normal levels. This occurs more often if the patient combines this medication with – excessive alcohol intake, other types of diabetes medicines, a diet high in animal products, and strenuous exercise.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a severe neurodegenerative brain disorder which progresses slowly in most patients. About 61,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with neurodegenerative disorder every year and approximately 1 million Americans live with it.

The use of this drug in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus increased their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and dementia, particularly with the use of more than ten months and doses higher than 240 g, according to a study involving a total of 9,300 people.

B12 & Folate Deficiency

Another important long-term side effect of using this drugs is the depletion of two vital nutrients – folate and vitamin B12. In a recent study, people with diabetes taking this medicine took vitamin B12 supplements and still couldn’t overcome the deficiency.

A deficiency of these two vitamins can cause various symptoms, such as – hearing sounds coming from inside the body, loss of appetite, pale skin, nausea, noticeable heartbeats, feeling faint, headaches, constipation, lack of energy, breathlessness, and extreme tiredness.

Lactic Acidosis

This drug can also cause a rare side effect, called – lactic acidosis, as per a 2002 study issued in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Recently, a few European studies have reached similar conclusions.

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Lactic acidosis is a disorder characterized by the buildup of lactate in the human body, that results in low pH in the bloodstream. Signs and symptoms include – cramps, a burning feeling in the muscles, weakness, nausea, and feeling exhausted.

Unintentional Weight Loss

According to some specialists, this drug can help some people lose weight since it may prompt the sufferer to eat less by reducing his appetite. Additionally, it may change the way the body stores and uses fat.

Metformin and Alcohol

Consuming alcoholic beverages while using this medicine can increase the risk of harmful effects. For instance, long-term alcohol use can make cells less sensitive to insulin. This actually means that less sugar is absorbed from the blood and levels in the bloodstream increase considerably.

Metformin Alternatives And Substitutes

Moderate Physical Exercise

Engaging in a moderate-intensity exercise program leads to notably health improvements among sufferers with type 2 diabetes mellitus, including decreases in fat around the heart, in the abdomen and liver, all of which is linked with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A nutrition high in omega-3 fatty acids may decrease insulin resistance in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Also, this diet may lower the risk of stroke, heart attacks, certain types of cancer, and macular degeneration. Flax seeds and chia seeds are the leading sources of omega-3 fats.

Garlic

According to a 2011 research, regular consumption of garlic may lower glycemia levels in individuals suffering from diabetes. In addition, garlic is an excellent source of vitamin C (has a role in maintaining normal blood sugar levels) and vitamin B6 (involved in carbohydrate metabolism).

Vanadium

It is a compound found in small amounts in animals and plants. A few studies concluded that vanadium normalized glucose levels in type 2 diabetes sufferers.

Cinnamon

Eating half a tsp of cinnamon every day may lead to a notable improvement in cholesterol, glycemia, and triglyceride levels in sufferers of this metabolic disorder.

Curcumin

It is found in the spice turmeric and has been shown in studies to improve blood sugar control as well as it prevents the disease.

Vitamin D

It is occasionally called the “sunshine vitamin” since it is made in your skin in response to sunlight. According to research, vitamin D helps improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin (the hormone responsible for regulating glycemia levels), hence, lowering the risk of insulin resistance, that is usually a precursor to this condition.

Chromium

The benefits of taking chromium supplements have been studied for many years. The conclusion was that it is a mineral that helps insulin work better.

Magnesium

Individuals with low magnesium levels are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes mellitus, according to a 2011 meta-analysis of diabetes research. Eating foods high in magnesium provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, and it is risk-free.

However, taking supplements with magnesium is not recommended since they also come with a lot of side effects.

References
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4427053/

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