Loose Women: Dr Hilary discusses how to live longer
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Metformin is a drug used by those suffering with diabetes to help lower their blood sugars. The drug is said to also help delay the ageing process to boost longevity. If it’s good enough for the techies in Silicon Valley it could be good enough for you too.
People with type 2 diabetes have blood sugar levels that rise higher than normal.
Metformin doesn’t cure diabetes. Instead, it helps lower a person’s blood sugar levels to a safe range.
Researchers are currently studying whether the medicine can help in the fight against cancer, neurodegenerative conditions, vision problems like macular degeneration, is prednisone a narcotic and even ageing.
At the same time, metformin is also used in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome with health experts claiming the drug could in fact also help to boost one’s longevity.
Interestingly, it was reported in CNBC that those working in the tech industry in Silicon Valley, USA, are increasingly taking metformin in a bid to stay healthier for longer.
CNBC interviewed a dozen executives and investors working in the tech industry who take the drug as a hedge against ageing.
Researchers have studied the long-term effects of metformin and found that diabetics who took the drug for years wound up experiencing unintended health benefits which included a reduction in cancer risk compared to the general population.
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In the UK, Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) investigated metformin and compared it with other anti-diabetes drugs.
The results demonstrated a decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases.
This has been suggested in other studies and meta-analyses and remains an active area of research.
In addition, numerous epidemiologic studies have shown an association of metformin use with a decreased risk of cancer, as well as decreased cancer mortality.
Dr Nir Barzilai, Director of the Institute for Ageing Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, alongside a group of researchers from the American Federation for Ageing Research (AFAR) are working to validate metformin as the first-ever anti-ageing medication.
Metformin’s main use is as an antidiabetic treatment which has also been shown to increase the production of known longevity-promoting signalling molecules in cells.
The drug has been shown to favourably influence biological outcomes which are associated with the development of age-related conditions including inflammation, oxidation, diminished autophagy and cellular senescence.
Craig Currey, a lead researcher at Cardiff University, also found that metformin already demonstrated positive results in treating cancer and cardiovascular diseases in addition to treating diabetes.
Metformin helps control diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and decreasing production of glucose in the liver.
Metformin also benefits cells in the human body by increasing oxygen molecules released into a cell.
Non-human studies demonstrated metformin’s ability to slow the ageing process in mammals and there is strong hope the same can be demonstrated in humans.
“We would rather prevent ageing, and by that, prevent the onset of multiple diseases,” added Dr Barzilai.
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