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Since the discovery of Metformin (way back in 1922), the medication has become one of the most vital medications in the world. The WHO has included it in its List of Essential Medicines among other drugs used to provide basic healthcare, and it is currently the most widely used oral diabetes medication. But what Jean Sterne, its creator, might not have realized is that Metformin can offer A LOT of amazing health benefits beyond just the treatment of diabetes! Here are just a few of the amazing things Metformin can do to keep you in the prime of health:
Protect the Thyroid GlandIt’s a well-known fact that insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes) can lower the size and function of the thyroid gland. Even pre-diabetics may suffer from reduced thyroid function, including low levels of both T3 and T4 thyroid hormones. A 2014 study in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences examined the effects of Metformin on thyroid function. 89 prediabetics between the ages of 18 and 65 participated in the study, and received either a placebo or Metformin for 3 months. To determine the effects of the drug, the scientists measured TSH levels, as well as measuring thyroid nodules and volume. The primary difference between the two groups was discovered in the thyroid enlargement effects. Not only did the placebo group have a higher rate of enlargement, but 54% of them developed thyroid nodules. Among the Metformin group, small solid nodules decreased by almost 50% (from 0.07 ml to 0.04 ml). While TSH levels did decrease slightly (for those with serum TSH >2.5 μU/ml), the medications proved effective at protecting the thyroid gland and reducing the size of nodules.
Improve Testosterone and SemenMen with metabolic syndrome usually tend to have a higher body fat percentage, which has been linked to lower testosterone levels. Low T often leads to a reduction in sperm production, count, and quality. One study looked at the effects of Metformin on both testosterone levels and sperm count and quality. 45 men between the ages of 26 and 44 participated in the study. All of them underwent metabolic and hormone profiling, along with an evaluation of their BMI, triglyceride levels, and waist circumference. Metformin did NOT affect their body composition, nor did it affect free testosterone levels. However, the treatment did lead to an increase in insulin sensitivity and a decrease in plasma SHBG levels. Total testosterone levels also increased as a result of the Metformin treatment, and the quality and quantity of sperm increased as well.
Increases the Effects of TRTWhile studies have examined the effects of Metformin, no research has analyzed what happened when it was combined with testosterone therapy. Until 2015, when a group of researchers gathered 30 men with both late-onset hypogonadism and impaired glucose tolerance. The men all underwent 12 weeks of Metformin treatment, with only half of them receiving testosterone (in the form of 120 mg of oral testosterone undecanoate per day). The effects of the treatment were significant:
- Total and LDL cholesterol levels decreased
- Uric acid production dropped
- hsCRP, fibrinogen, and homocysteine levels decreased
- Insulin sensitivity improved
- Plasma glucose and triglyceride levels decreased
- Plasma testosterone increased