Is Metformin An Appetite Suppressant?


For over a few decades now, metformin has been the first line of defense against T2D. However, a lot of research has been proving additional health-promoting benefits.

Is metformin an appetite suppressant?

In general, metformin influences appetite regulation both directly and indirectly due to its gastrointestinal effects. Metformin increases secretion of the glucagon-like peptide 1, hormone peptide YY and alternates bile acid absorption, which suppresses the appetite.

Apart from that, the studies show many other benefits ranging from anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic.

Disclaimer: The information provided is intended for education and information purposes only. It does not replace the advice given by doctors, pharmacists,s or any other health care professional.

Does Metformin Suppress Appetite?

As a whole, metformin does suppress appetite. Apart from known glucose-lowering effects, metformin also has multiple benefits for health, including lowering hunger which leads to lower calorie intake and inhibition of unfavorable fat storage in adipose tissues.

Metformin has been known for years as a way to lower glucose levels in the blood. However, recently many studies confirm that apart from anti-hyperglycemic properties it also can:

  • Lower appetite

Metformin affects appetite through the gut-brain axis. The main driver behind appetite suppression is the increased release of two weight-loss-promoting peptides GLP-1 and PYY (source).

Another way metformin act as an appetite suppressant is by effects on hypothalamic appetite-regulating signaling pathways. This means the administration of metformin inhibits ghrelin, the hunger hormone (source).

Metformin decreases glucose production in the liver and improves insulin sensitivity. This means the pancreas has to release less insulin to take up the sugar to redistribute it further into the body (source).

  • Anti-aging agent

In short, aging contributed to many aspect of DNA damage, which can be influenced by many chemicals, genetics or environmental factors.

According to Ziquan Lv from Shenzhen Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China, “The clinical use of metformin in aging has just started (…) metformin improves aging-related diseases, such as diabetes, CVD, and cognitive disorders, leading to an extended lifespan in these patients.” (source)

Does Metformin Reduce Belly Fat?

In general, metformin does reduce belly fat. In the short term, metformin lowers glucose levels in the liver, increases glucose uptake in the muscle, improves insulin sensitivity, and decreases absorption of glucose in the GI tract, which all lead to reduced body fat.

Reducing belly fat is a complex, multi-factor process that often goes beyond calories in versus calories out.

Typically, metformin creates several changes that all combined doesn’t influence the energy expenditure, but the energy intake. This means you eat less food.

Why Does Metformin Make You Lose Weight?

Generally, metformin does make you lose weight because it improves insulin sensitivity, inhibits glucose absorption, and lowers hepatic gluconeogenesis. This in combination with lifestyle modification contributes to a reduction in insulin production and lowering food intake.

Here are the main reason why metrofmin make you lose weight:

  • Reduce glucose levels in the liver

Your liver produces a lot of sugar daily. The process it’s called hepatic gluconeogenesis. Sugar is typically used in the body for many basic functions. Metformin inhibits gluconeogenesis so it lowers the sugar levels.

  • Increases glucose levels in your muscles

Similar to exercise, metformin seems to increase the uptake of glucose by the muscles. This happens by improving insulin responsiveness in the skeletal muscles, which means muscles can take in more glucose than before (source).

  • Improves insulin sensitivity

As an effect of enhanced insulin responsiveness in the muscles, it increases insulin sensitivity. This means the body needs less insulin to transport all the sugar from the blood.

  • Decreases absorption of glucose in the GI tract

One of the places body can absorb glucose from the food is the GI tract. Metformin inhibits the absorption of glucose from the colon, so this lowers the amount of sugar that is entering the bloodstream.

As you can see, all of those processes play a role not only in lowering sugar levels, but also in suppressing your appetite.

Conclusion

In summary, there are many health-promoting benefits of taking metformin. However, just like with any prescription, there are also some side effects. If you have any questions about the information in this article, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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