Discovering how metformin works to reduce weight (study)


A recent British study revealed the molecular mechanisms behind the success of a drug widely used to treat diabetes in an amazing way to reduce weight.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge, and published their results, in the latest issue of the scientific journal (Nature).

The researchers explained that the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug “Metformin” in 1995 as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, after decades of its adoption in Europe.

They added that more than 60 percent of the drug’s ability to control blood sugar comes from its success in reducing body weight, which prompted them to conduct more studies to elicit the main molecular mechanisms underlying how this drug works.

In clinical trials conducted on humans without diabetes, the research team discovered a relationship between “metformin” and a major protein known as (GDF159).

According to the study, the protein performs a wide range of biological activities and is found in a variety of body tissues that regulate and repair the “programmed cell death” mechanism.

It was also found that this protein also plays a strong role in the success of metformin in controlling type 2 diabetes.

The researchers discovered that “metformin” works with a protein (GDF159) to induce the body to lose weight and maintain energy balance.

They also found that this drug significantly increases GDF159 protein levels in all people who take the drug 2.5 times compared to those who do not take this treatment, after a study that monitored protein levels in participants lasted for 18 months.

The team conducted other experiments on mice, and discovered that “metformin” increased the levels of protein (GDF159), and it also inhibited the increase in body weight even after the mice were subjected to a high-fat diet.

“Metformin was first used as a drug that reduces type 2 diabetes, but their weight reduction ratios were modest,” said Dr. Stephen O’Reilly, leader of the research team.

“Only when long-term studies were done on participants without diabetes, it became clear that people who already had a good compliance with metformin lost an average of about 6 percent of their body weight and could maintain that decrease for years,” he added.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1.4 billion people are overweight, more than half a billion people are obese, and at least 2.8 million people die every year from overweight or obesity.

According to the organization, type 2 diabetes appears due to being overweight and less physical activity, and over time, high levels of blood sugar can increase the risk of heart disease, blindness, nerves and kidney failure.

In contrast, type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system destroys cells that control blood sugar levels, most of which are among children.


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