Metformin, a commonly prescribed medication for type 2 diabetes, holds promise beyond blood sugar control—it’s linked to weight loss. With over 90 million prescriptions in recent years, its role in managing weight is gaining attention. Although not FDA-approved for weight loss, many doctors prescribe it off-label, leveraging its potential benefits in aiding weight reduction among diabetes patients and those at risk.

While known for improving insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation, metformin’s weight loss effects are noteworthy. Research suggests that alongside its metabolic benefits, it contributes to modest weight reduction, particularly beneficial for overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes. Despite its off-label use for weight management, metformin’s dual benefits offer a compelling avenue for addressing both diabetes and obesity concerns, underscoring its significance in comprehensive healthcare strategies.

Find out how metformin works, what it can treat, and what side effects it has below.

What Is Metformin and How Does It Work?

Blood sugar levels are effectively regulated by Metformin, a medication used to treat Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. It’s approved for diabetes and gestational diabetes, but it’s also used off-label to treat weight loss and polycystic ovary syndrome. It lowers blood sugar levels by increasing AMP-activated protein kinase, which inhibits glucose production. Moreover, it helps to maintain optimal blood sugar levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity.

In addition to diabetes management, metformin can be used for weight loss and hormonal disorders like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. By activating AMPK, it modulates glucose production to control blood sugar. Enhancing insulin sensitivity helps regulate glucose metabolism, keeping blood sugar levels balanced. Hence, its importance in managing Diabetes and associated conditions contributes to overall metabolic health.

Does Metformin Cause Or Help Weight Loss?

does metformin cause-help weight loss

Metformin is not only used for weight loss. It results in modest weight loss in some people who take it.

A study of non-diabetic adults with a BMI of more than 27 who took Metformin had greater weight reduction than the control group.

Researchers found that Metformin is effective in producing weight loss when the person is severely insulin-resistant compared to insulin-sensitive patients. A group that takes Metformin for 6 months received up to 2500 milligrams daily while the other group receiving Metformin gained weight on average.

Review Stats over 30 clinical trials summarise taking it for Metformin, significantly reducing the body mass Index. According to the dosage, researchers found that 2000 milligrams per day was suitable for adolescence and 1000 milligrams or 3000 milligrams daily were effective in Metformin weight loss.

Reasons for losing weight because of Metformin?

It is not technically proven that drugs are only meant for weight loss. Some research has found that Metformin is linked with weight loss.

A longitudinal study published in the Journal of Diabetes Care showed that Metformin has successfully lost a good amount of body weight. But it depends on several reasons are

Better sugar control:

Metformin will improve insulin sensitivity and result in blood sugar control. People who have type 2 diabetes are not able to release insulin appropriately and regulate their blood sugars.

It is primarily due to the factors being unable to over-release insulin into the bloodstream. The body will start metabolism as soon as insulin resistance goes low; weight often results in lower.

Reduced hunger cues:

One documented report states that the side effect of Metformin leads to reduced hunger, lowering the amount of insulin in the blood and spiking the blood sugar level, which can send only the blood sugar but also reduce your hunger.

Metformin eliminates hunger cues. Even in one study, women had type 2 diabetes. Researchers found three study groups (one group had a Placebo pill, and the other two had a varying dosage of Metformin).

The highest amount of Metformin (1700mg, three Per day ) has significantly shown less hunger before and after meals than in the two groups. Even eating fewer calories also results in moderate and noticeable weight loss over time.

Healthier lifestyle habits:

People taking Metformin will lose weight due to their healthy lifestyle if they regularly co-operate with their healthy lifestyle. Starting the drug Metformin without any lifestyle changes will not help you to lose any weight some of the habits that you can do for your weight loss are,

  • Regular exercise routine
  • Avoiding sugary products
  • Increase the protein intake
  • Eating healthy vegetables and fruits.

These are widespread things you should follow. You can make a plan and consult with your doctor.

Other ways to lose weight with Metformin:

The other ways to lose weight are following healthy lifestyle changes with Metformin. It provides the best result for you if your doctor prescribes Metformin for Diabetes. Resulting in controlling the blood sugar level and also the potential weight loss. Some people stop the medication when their blood sugar levels improve through healthy lifestyle changes alone, such as

Avoiding sugar:

Eating plenty of sugar will result in adding calories to a diet. Some beverages like soda, sweets, and coffee are present with additional sources of sugar, resulting in an unhealthy food category. To cut out your sugar, you need to know the natural facts of the food you consume.

Intake of fiber: Fibre comes from plant foods, and the body can digest it easily. It will help you feel full and take time to digest very quickly, including the fiber in your meals and snacks. It is a healthy way to lose weight.

Some examples of fiber fruits are raspberry, apple, banana, orange, and strawberry. These are the foods that will help you to digest as well.

Physical activity:

It has a significant role and is very effective. You have to be active; exercise will help your whole body relax and help you lose weight.

Enough sleep:

Not getting proper sleep will increase insulin resistance, increase your blood sugar levels, and weight gain. Doing regular activity will help you to promote healthy sleep patterns.

What causes Metformin weight loss?

Although this drug is considered to have modest weight loss in patients using Metformin, the presence of glucose decreases the amount of sugar released in your body. Therefore, the pancreas won’t produce extra insulin, which reduces fat and storage. These are some of the leading causes of weight loss with Metformin.

How does Metformin help you lose weight?

Metformin is believed to be used in weight loss to decrease appetite. If you eat fewer calories than you usually do without changing your activity levels, weight loss can occur. A study shows that taking Metformin lowers calorie intake among obese patients with type 2 diabetes in some cases. It may cause adverse effects such as bloating gas, diarrhea, belly pain, and reduced appetite. These side effects are also one of the reasons for declining your appetite and inducing weight loss.

Is Metformin Effective for Weight Loss?

Metformin is not only used for weight loss. However, the FDA does not approve the drug for weight loss; some people may experience weight loss. As mentioned before, Some Scientific Research Studies found that Metformin is effective in weight loss, especially in the case of obesity.

Metformin drug will help reduce fat accumulation in the muscle tissue by increasing fat oxidation. This means it will metabolize the fats into energy. The exact purpose of Metformin to boost oxidation is not entirely clear, but this is one of the reasons it is beneficial for weight loss.

On average, how much weight would you lose with Metformin?

After 1 year of using Metformin, the typical weight loss is only up to 4-7 lbs. So many people believe that the drug is a magical pill, but in reality, it is not. People struggling with insulin resistance and willing to change their lifestyle, diet pattern, and regular exercise should consult with their doctor about Metformin in their routine to aid in weight loss.

Always remember that taking the drug alone without proper lifestyle modification will not help you lose weight.

Is it ok to take Metformin if you do not have diabetes?

The answer is yes; if you are not a diabetic patient, you can still take the Drug Metformin for weight loss. Some healthcare providers recommend Metformin for people who are suffering from obesity.

In 2018 a review published in December in the European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology examined people who do not have diabetes but are in the overweight and obese category. The drug could significantly affect the Body mass Index in both the age group of adolescents and adults.

Even all obese case is not only associated with insulin resistance problems. If your healthcare provider recommends Metformin for weight loss, it will not work independently; you must follow a healthy lifestyle.

These are some keys for the drug Metformin to work in weight loss. This regular habit will encourage weight loss even if you don’t have diabetes and take medication for weight loss.

Dosage For Weight Loss: Metformin

Metformin comes under two types regular and extended-release. Metformin should be taken only once daily after breakfast or dinner for the external release version. If you are taking a common type, you should not split your dosage among your meals.

Using Metformin with a proper diet will help control your blood sugar levels, lower the risk of hypoglycemia, and help reduce weight.

  • The tablets come under two strengths: 500 or 850 Mg.
  • 500 milligrams to 2550 milligrams per day.

It is recommended to split the dosage three times per day.

According to the studies, Metformin dosage for weight loss will range from 1000 – 2500 milligrams daily if your health care provider recommends it, according to your body type, health history, and blood test reports. Start with the lower dosage; you can increase it over time with your doctor’s order.

What if you Overdose?

This medication will lead to the risk of overdose, such as taking more tablets than prescribed.

In the case of a 16-year-old girl who took Metformin more, it directly leads to organ failure and death. The drug is cleared from your kidney if you take an excessive amount of Metformin. It is unable to Clear the medication resulting in kidney damage. This will impact and develop lactic acidosis, a side effect of Metformin.

Some of the overdose symptoms are Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heavy gastric pain, reduced appetite, lethargy, cardiac arrest, and increased breathing rate.

What If You Missed A Dose?

When you miss Metformin, take it as soon as you remember because when a diabetic patient misses the dosage of a tablet for a more extended period, it will cause serious side effects in your body. Usually, the side effects will not show immediately, but in a long time, skipping the medication will harm your body and lead to several health complications.

Side Effects of Metformin:

Side effects are widespread when you take a new drug and go away over time. Tell your doctor only if you face severe levels of side effects.

Possible side effects that might affect you are as follows:

  • stomach pain
  • hot burn
  • bloating
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • weight loss
  • headache
  • heartburn

Related blog: Why Does Metformin Cause You Constipation?

Precautions you should take

It is always necessary for you to take proper care while consuming Metformin. You need to follow some factors if you are taking the drug. Such as:

Kidney problems:
The kidney removes Metformin throughout your body. If your kidney doesn’t work, the drug will raise the risk of lactic acidosis. People suffering from severe kidney problems and older than 80 should not take Metformin.

Heart problem:
Metformin is not recommended for people with recent acute heart failure or heart attack,
Your heart might not send enough blood to your kidney; this will prevent your kidney from removing the Metformin in your body, resulting in a Higher level of lactic acidosis.

Alcohol Use:
While taking Metformin and drinking alcohol will increase the risk of hypoglycemia and raise the risk of lactic acidosis; drinking too much alcohol will result in a higher risk. Ask your doctor if you are consuming alcohol while taking Metformin.

Surgical or radiological procedure:
You need to stop taking Metformin before the surgery. This leads to Metformin slowing down your body and raising the risk of lactic acidosis. Inform your doctor when you take drugs before the procedure.

Weight loss and Metformin: how do they work together?

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) focuses on helping patients shed at least 7% of their body weight through lifestyle changes. This weight loss can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 60%. In addition to lifestyle modifications, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases suggests that Metformin can benefit cardiovascular health by improving cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

However, prolonged use of Metformin may lead to Vitamin B12 deficiency, resulting in symptoms like fainting and breathlessness. To mitigate this risk, doctors monitor patients’ B12 levels regularly and may adjust treatment accordingly, ensuring optimal management of blood sugar levels while minimizing potential side effects.

Will Your Doctor Prescribe Metformin For Weight Loss?

Whether a doctor prescribes Metformin for weight loss or not will depend on many factors and is unique for every individual. If you have prediabetes (a condition that will help you to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes later), your doctor may recommend using Metformin.

List down the factors: Some of the elements included for weight loss use Metformin, such as

  • Being overweight or obese
  • age above 45 or older
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Low level of HDL cholesterol triglycerides
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Not physically active
  • History of depression
  • Heart disease or stroke
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome

Metformin Interactions:

Drug interactions are when a new drug is added to certain medications, herbals, and foods. Some drugs may develop adverse side effects due to unwanted reactions in your body.

Before interacting with the drugs, let your doctor/ health care provider know about the supplements you are taking. Some Possible Drug interactions are:

  • Digoxin
  • Cimetidine
  • oral Contraceptive
  • Ranitidine
  • Morphine
  • Vancomycin
  • Phenytoin
  • Beta-blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diuretics

Final Words From AzDrug

As of now, you have come to know about the drug Metformin. It is very effective in treating type 2 diabetes. It is also used as an off-label in losing weight. It will work by improving insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels.

As every medication doesn’t have good effects, it also has side effects that would negatively harm the body. Common side effects that might affect you with Metformin would be stomach ache and diarrhea.

Some healthy Lifestyle modifications should be needed for the drug to work effectively. For further information, speak with your healthcare practitioner.

Can you lose belly fat with Metformin?

Metformin is not a drug recommended for weight loss. But Metformin controls your sugar level by restricting gluconeogenesis. During this process in the body, fat will be reduced. This helps lose excess fat.

Can Metformin increase your metabolism?

It is more effective at controlling your blood sugar levels and speeding up your metabolism into energy. This results in a reduction in body fat independent of its anorexigenic (loss of appetite) effects.

Can you gain energy with Metformin?

Yes, metformin increases energy because your body uses insulin more efficiently.

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Disclaimer: Please see your healthcare practitioner for any medical queries or concerns. Peer-reviewed research and information from medical societies and government agencies are used to support the articles in Health Guide. They are not, however, a replacement for expert medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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  • Shurrab, Noura T., and El-Shaimaa A. Arafa. “Metformin: A Review of Its Therapeutic Efficacy and Adverse Effects.” Obesity Medicine, vol. 17, Mar. 2020, p. 100186, Accessed 11 Feb. 2024.
  • The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. “Long-Term Safety, Tolerability, and Weight Loss Associated with Metformin in the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study.” Diabetes Care, vol. 35, no. 4, Mar. 2012, pp. 731–37, Accessed 9 Feb. 2024.
  • Yerevanian, Armen, and Alexander A. Soukas. “Metformin: Mechanisms in Human Obesity and Weight Loss.” Current Obesity Reports, vol. 8, no. 2, Mar. 2019, pp. 156–64, Accessed 10 Feb. 2024.

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