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Metformin Weight Loss: Cause Side Effects, and Works

If you use Glucophage (metformin) to treat type 2 diabetes, you may be familiar with its adverse effects, which include upset stomach, diarrhea, muscular pains, and tiredness. These might be a real and metaphorical pain, but if you’ve had trouble losing weight, you could embrace one side effect of metformin with open arms. Researchers have discovered a connection between the medicine metformin and weight reduction despite the fact that Metformin weight loss was not the intended outcome. Previous investigations came to the conclusion that the medicine might be used to treat excessive body weight, but additional study is required on Metformin weight loss. 


If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your physician can suggest metformin as your initial medication. According to a study, it helps regulate blood sugar and enhances the body’s use of its own insulin. Additionally, studies have shown that many people using the medicine lose weight. Several other diabetes medicine, some of which cause weight gain, do not. It is one of the ways metformin aids in the prevention of type 2 diabetes in people who are overweight and at risk and thus Metformin weight loss becomes important to consider.  Metformin is typically not prescribed by doctors for type 1 diabetes. Despite the fact that the United States Food and medicine Administration does not approve of this use, they can occasionally prescribe it to women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (FDA). Similarly to this, the FDA has not approved metformin as a weight-loss aid for those who are on the heavier side but still due to practical results Metformin weight loss is talked about. 


The global public health and financial costs of the obesity pandemic are rising. By 2030, it is predicted that the prevalence of obesity would have grown by 33%. Insulin resistance is frequently linked to obesity, rendering obese people more prone to metabolic syndrome and its accompanying cardiometabolic illnesses. Because managing obesity through lifestyle change is a significant problem for most people, additional therapies including pharmaceutical therapy are routinely used. Given the modest but long-lasting weight loss seen after taking metformin in diabetics, PCOS patients, and healthy obese adults, its administration in conjunction with lifestyle modification may be helpful in the fight against obesity, though more research is required to confirm its effectiveness in non-diabetic obese people.

The first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes, metformin, works to lower blood sugar levels while also having the welcome side effect of reducing body weight through the inhibition of liver glucose synthesis, appetite suppression, increased insulin sensitivity, and control over fat oxidation and storage. Furthermore, current research indicates that changes in the gut flora may be a factor in these outcomes. The gut microbiota, a community of diverse and dynamic bacteria residing in the intestine, is influenced by a variety of external variables, including nutrition and medications.

Does metformin help people lose weight?

Metformin has been shown to help people with type 2 diabetes lose weight, but this isn’t the only way the medication has helped people. In research including individuals with insulin resistance who were overweight or obese, metformin caused weight loss. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, neither medical professionals nor scientists are entirely convinced how metformin causes weight reduction. Some scientists think the medication lessens appetite. Others believe it alters how the body consumes and stores fat.

Along with metformin and other medicine for type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, doctors frequently advise patients to make specific dietary and lifestyle adjustments. If the person follows the advice, many of these food and lifestyle adjustments will probably result in weight reduction. If the individual taking metformin does not adopt additional healthy practices, metformin alone may not be sufficient to result in weight loss. Metformin users who want to reduce weight should also maintain a diet that is rich in nutrients but has a lesser number of calories and engage in regular exercise. Metformin may not cause weight loss in those who do not maintain other healthy routines.

Metformin: what it is and how does it work?

The U.S. Food and medicine Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of metformin, a well-known medication for type 2 diabetes, to treat hyperglycemia, or persistently high blood sugar, in people with the disease. The primary mechanism of action of the first-line medication for type 2 diabetes, metformin, is a reduction in the quantity of glucose produced by the liver. It also improves how well the hormone insulin functions by assisting muscles in using glucose more effectively. A person’s insulin levels are lower than they otherwise would be when insulin functions more effectively and insulin sensitivity increases.

Despite the fact that type 2 diabetes has no known cure, the right medications and healthy lifestyle choices can stabilise blood sugar levels and, in some cases, even put the illness in remission. The ultimate goal of all diabetes therapy is, of course, to achieve this. As the medication helps your body lower overall blood sugar levels and improves your ability to respond to insulin, you’ll not only feel better but you may reduce your risk of developing future complications such as:

  • Increased blood sugar level
  • Heart-related issues 
  • Damage to the kidney
  • Nerve damage 
  • Eye damage

The Action Of Metformin

Your stomach is where metformin starts to operate. According to some experts, it alters the normal bacteria’s equilibrium in your digestive tract. Additionally, it activates certain enzymes that improve the body’s use of fat. Additionally, researchers have been attempting to determine how metformin causes weight reduction. Digestive problems are a frequent adverse effect since it changes gut bacteria. So, one old thought was that persons who had stomach pain either ate less because they lost their appetite or because of diarrhea because they lost water weight. However, the majority of these adverse effects disappear after a few weeks. After that, those who had lost weight while taking metformin kept losing weight.

A more plausible theory is that metformin reduces hunger by altering gut flora. It could increase the body’s production of leptin, a hormone that gives you a feeling of fullness. You eat less since your hunger isn’t overactive. Instead of the combination of fat and lean muscle that results from dieting, the weight you lose while taking the medicine largely comes from your fat deposits. Metformin users also saw decreased waist measures and waist-to-hip ratios, two indicators of body fat.

Can metformin lead you to lose weight?

Metformin is not accepted by the FDA as a weight-loss medicine on its own. People who use metformin for other purposes, however, could experience weight loss as a side effect. It’s unclear exactly how this works. Metformin does not contribute to weight gain, in contrast to other diabetic medicines.

  • Appetite suppression

Metformin may cause you to eat less by decreasing your appetite, according to one idea. The mechanisms by which metformin impacts appetite, nevertheless, remain unclear. Metformin may influence the gut microbiome, cause the release of hormones that reduce hunger and alter brain regions that control appetite. Additionally, some metformin users may develop bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. A person’s desire to eat less is a result of these negative effects.

  • Weight loss for longer terms

One extensive study of diabetics measured weight loss over a 15-year period. Researchers discovered that those using metformin had better success with maintaining weight loss in years 6 to 15 than those who dropped more than 5% of their body weight in the first year. It might not, however, result in weight loss if used without adhering to other healthy behaviors. The largest weight loss occurs in those who take metformin while maintaining a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Furthermore, whatever weight reduction you experience could only stay as long as you continue to take the medicine. That implies there’s a considerable probability you’ll regain your previous weight if you stop taking metformin. And even while taking the medication, you might gradually put any weight you’ve lost back on.

How does Metformin aid in weight loss?

Although there is no established connection between metformin and weight, various ideas offer potential justifications for weight swings. For instance, metformin may influence hunger signals. In one short trial, 12 obese types 2 diabetic women who were not using insulin were randomly assigned to receive either 850 mg or 1,700 mg of metformin or placebo thrice a day for three days. Each participant repeated the study three times, receiving both the different doses and the placebo. On every third day, participants took a meal test and reported how hungry they were before to eating. Researchers discovered that the metformin group’s hunger levels were dramatically reduced, particularly when the 1,700 mg dosage was compared to the lower metformin dose or placebo.

Another research, which appeared in the journal Diabetes Care in May 2020, revealed that individuals who used metformin at a dose of 1,000 mg or higher lost considerably more weight than those who took the medication at a lower or unchanged level. Recent studies published in publications like Current Obesity Reports show that metformin may also cause weight reduction as a consequence of adjustments made to the brain’s reward centres, changes made to the gut microbiota, and reversal of metabolic abnormalities that often occur with ageing.

The adverse effects of the medication may also have an impact on how much food you eat. When using metformin, some people may have gastrointestinal adverse reactions such as nausea and diarrhea.

The research found that the most common side effect reported by those who take metformin tablets in their original formulation is gastrointestinal discomfort. The study was published in the April-June 2017 issue of the Journal of Research in Pharmacy Practice. Vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea are the most frequent side effects, affecting 2 to 63 percent of medication users. When discomfort is intense, you might not feel like eating much and consume fewer calories as a result. According to a previous review, the negative effects of metformin’s extended-release formulations are less well-documented.

Will your doctor recommend metformin for you to lose weight?

A doctor may recommend metformin if you have type 2 diabetes, or prediabetes, and are obese or overweight in order to help you control your diabetes or minimize your risk of acquiring it. In fact, even if you don’t have diabetes or prediabetes, a doctor could recommend metformin for weight loss. This is unauthorized usage. Off-label refers to a medicine’s usage, in this case as a weight reduction aid, for which the FDA has not granted approval. The effectiveness of it for this purpose is, therefore, less well known.

Is metformin something you should use to reduce weight?

The FDA has not approved the use of metformin for weight loss. However, some medical experts would suggest it to people who are obese or overweight as well as those who have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. However, if metformin is prescribed to someone who meets these requirements, that person must adopt other healthy lifestyle habits to aid in weight reduction. A nutrient-dense, low-calorie diet, and frequent exercise are part of these programs. Metformin is not a panacea for weight loss. Metformin users are far more likely to lose weight gradually over a protracted period of time. It’s also crucial to remember that people who lose weight while using metformin can gain it back if they stop taking the medicine.

Dangers and negative consequences

Some adverse effects of metformin pills have the potential to be harmful. Regarding metformin, the FDA has issued its strongest possible warning. Metformin may, albeit seldom, lead to lactic acidosis. A dangerous accumulation of lactic acid in the blood is known as lactic acidosis. If a person on metformin exhibits any of the following signs, they should seek immediate medical attention in an emergency room:

  • Dizziness 
  • Weakness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained or unusual muscular pain
  • Unusual drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness or vomiting
  • A sluggish or unpredictable heartbeat

Those most susceptible to lactic acidosis include:

  • those with liver issues 
  • those who misuse or abuse alcohol while taking metformin
  • those who have renal issues

An adverse low blood sugar response is another severe negative effect. A person’s blood sugar decreases to dangerous levels as a result of this. A person is at risk for the following if their blood sugar levels go too low:

  • convulsions
  • convulsions 
  • brain injury
  • death

It is essential to begin treatment for a low blood sugar response very once to prevent some of the more severe adverse effects. The recommended dosage of glucose for treatment is 15 to 20 grams. There are various methods to achieve this, including consuming sweet beverages and hard candies.

Low blood sugar symptoms might include:

  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • headache
  • weakness
  • uncertainty trembling
  • feeling peckish
  • higher heart rate
  • sweating
  • dizziness

How much should you take to lose weight?

A diabetic medicine is metformin. There aren’t any established dosage guidelines for it as a weight-loss assistance. If a physician decides to prescribe metformin for you off-label, they will select a dosage that is appropriate for you and your medical situation. Most likely, you’ll begin taking metformin at a low dose and gradually raise it over the course of a few weeks. This can lessen any negative consequences. Metformin has been used off-label to treat weight loss brought on by antipsychotic medication. Metformin for quick release comes in doses of between 750 mg and 2,000 mg. Doses for extended release might be anything from 500 mg and 2,000 mg.

Can you lose weight permanently while taking Metformin?

Metformin may cause some weight reduction, but the amount you lose can be much less than you anticipate. According to earlier studies, the average weight reduction after a year of using the medication is only six pounds. Therefore, despite the fact that metformin is frequently prescribed to individuals with high insulin levels who are having trouble losing weight, it is not a magic pill.

In other words, if you overeat and have a sedentary lifestyle, don’t anticipate a significant weight change. To experience any meaningful weight reduction, you must adhere to a realistic weight loss strategy that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. Metformin will not cause weight reduction if a person is not engaging in healthy behaviors. If you are prone to high insulin levels, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet low in processed sugars and carbs to get the most out of your prescription.

Although the number on the scale may go down while you’re using this medicine, this weight reduction might only last a short period. When you stop taking the medication and your appetite returns to normal, you might put on weight again, which is why leading a healthy lifestyle is so important. Despite this, a study indicated that giving metformin to participants in the diabetes prevention program who lost at least 5% of their body weight after a year increased their likelihood of maintaining their weight loss over the long term compared to giving them a placebo or a lifestyle intervention.

Can non-diabetic people take Metformin?

What happens if type 2 diabetes is not present? Can you use metformin to lose weight? The quick answer to this wonderful question is yes. Metformin has been used off-label, or outside of its permitted usage by the FDA, for weight control in persons without type 2 diabetes, according to Sood. According to some data, these people may benefit from metformin: Metformin significantly reduced body mass index (BMI) in adults and adolescents, according to a 2018 study investigating the medicine’s effectiveness for weight loss in persons who were overweight and obese without diabetes.

But keep in mind that this medication can only be obtained with a prescription and that those without type 2 diabetes are not eligible to use it. Most likely, your doctor will start by advising one of these time-tested weight-loss methods:

  • Get help for your mental well-being.
  • Avoid sugary beverages.
  • Fill your stomach with water before meals to help you eat less.
  • Every day of the week, engage in 30 minutes of exercise.
  • Prepare entire foods including grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Limit the number of processed meals you eat.
  • Eat a low-carb, low-fat, high-protein diet.
  • Control your portion sizes.

If you have obesity and are having difficulty losing weight, even if you don’t have type 2 diabetes, your doctor could approve you for this medication. But once more, proper food and regular exercise are still more important for long-term weight loss than metformin. If you are unable to take metformin due to type 2 diabetes, these behaviors might still help you lose weight.

Medication is one tool to help control blood sugars, but food and lifestyle modifications should be explored first because they can considerably decrease blood sugars. Some individuals may not tolerate metformin, so it’s vital to discuss choices with your healthcare professional.

What dietary and lifestyle adjustments have to be taken into account? Dietary changes can be made by watching your carbohydrate consumption, eating adequate protein and fat at meals, selecting high-fiber foods, and consuming fewer drinks with added sugar. A licensed dietitian should be consulted for individualized nutrition advice, she adds. For effective blood sugar management, it’s also crucial to include some form of exercise on most days, such as walking, lifting weights, or yoga.


Metformin aids in blood sugar regulation. It is a primary form of therapy. For persons 10 years of age and older with type 2 diabetes, a reliable source. Patients on antipsychotic medicine may also be prescribed metformin by their doctors. These medicines can reduce insulin sensitivity and make patients put on weight. Metformin aids in reducing these negative effects. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome who take metformin may also benefit from improved fertility (PCOS). But this is an unauthorized usage. The Food and medicine Administration (FDA) has not authorized metformin as a PCOS therapy, according to a reliable source.

Research on Metformin weight loss

Research 1

  • Aim: Few clinical trials have been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of metformin for the treatment of obesity, and the findings have been conflicting. Furthermore, until now there hasn’t been any testing of the efficacy in an actual outpatient environment. In this study, we looked at how well metformin worked to help obese and overweight people lose weight in relation to how much insulin resistance they had.
  • Design and patients: For six months, we administered metformin up to a daily dose of 2,500 mg to 154 patients who had a body mass index of less than 27 kg/m(2) in an outpatient environment. 45 untreated patients were also included as controls. Over a six-month period, patients were watched for weight changes.
  • Results: The average weight loss in the metformin-treated group was 5.8–7.0 kg (5.6–6.5%). Untreated controls frequently gained 0.8–3.5 kg (0.8–3.7%). People with severe insulin resistance lost much more weight than insulin-sensitive patients did. The proportion of weight loss was unaffected by age, sexual preference, or BMI.
  • Conclusion: In a naturalistic outpatient setting, the medication metformin aids weight loss in overweight and obese people who are both insulin-sensitive and insulin resistant.

Research 2

  • Review: Despite its well-known ability to decrease blood sugar, metformin has recently attracted clinical attention for its potential as a weight-loss medication. Here, we go through some of the possible ways that metformin reduces hunger and prevents unfavorable fat deposition in peripheral tissues.
  • New information: Many people had difficulty maintaining clinically significant weight reduction following lifestyle and bariatric surgical therapies. Metformin causes lasting weight reduction, with reduced food consumption serving as its main mechanism of action, according to long-term follow-up data from the Diabetes Prevention Program. Metformin may affect a number of factors that affect hunger, but it has been shown to alter leptin and insulin sensitivity as well as other aspects of hypothalamic physiology.
  • Result: In people who are overweight or obese and at risk for diabetes, metformin causes a little amount of weight reduction. A better knowledge of the mechanism by which metformin causes weight reduction would probably result in the most effective co-prescription of pharmacotherapy and lifestyle change for the treatment of obesity unrelated to diabetes.

Medication interactions with metformin

Metformin has a wide range of potential medication interactions. Inform your doctor, pharmacist, and any dietary supplements you take about the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. The following can interact with metformin:

  • Cimetidine
  • Digoxin
  • using oral contraceptives
  • Corticosteroids
  • Quinidine
  • Ranitidine
  • Dofetilide
  • Morphine
  • Vancomycin
  • Beta-blockers for phenytoin
  • Procainamide
  • Triamterene
  • Blockers of calcium channels
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Garlic \Diuretics
  • Estrogens
  • a green tea
  • Phenothiazines
  • Chromium
  • Sympathomimetics


All things considered, metformin can result in slight weight loss in some persons with and without diabetes. But researchers are still trying to figure out why the medication has this result. There are probably several elements at work, including appetite loss brought on by the medication’s negative effects.

In the end, metformin is not a panacea. Making dietary and lifestyle adjustments is the most crucial thing you can do to lose weight, whether it’s for type 2 diabetes management or another reason. Consider metformin as those steps’ sidekick.

Also bear in mind that metformin is presently only approved by the FDA for a limited number of patients with type 2 diabetes, not for people without the disease. Metformin has adverse effects that you should discuss and manage with your healthcare team if you’re using it to lower your blood sugar in the event of diabetes.

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