By Kennedy Shelley
Is aging a disease? If it is can it be controlled or even cured?
The surprising answer is a tentative “yes.”
And the cure could be an already existing medication that is very inexpensive.
Doctors have been intrigued by the many positive effects of metformin on diabetics and longevity. They started to notice that this drug creates some unexpected changes at the cellular level that are extremely beneficial.
In the magazine Cell Reports, comes reports that show just how much benefit metformin gives to your health at the cellular level.
We need to maintain balance at the basic level. We need to clean out the older cells and replace them with healthier younger cells. This is the process of aging at the root level.
The process that is most healthy is called mTOR. This is the process where the body cannibalizes its own weak cells. It is a recycling process that is extremely important. Old damaged cells become vulnerable to mutations, which can result in cancers.
Think of it as cellular rusting and you start to get a sense of just how dangerous it is when our body is not as good at the process as it was when we are young.
Metformin seems to help improve the metabolism of glucose. That’s why it is the first choice drug for those who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Scientists were initially attracted to metformin and how it helped glucose metabolism in the liver. But this newest research shows that it’s not just the liver, but metformin affects cells throughout the body.
The data keeps showing that metformin has the result of promoting healthy aging. In other words, this doesn’t just help you live longer, but live longer healthier.
Dr. Reuben Shaw is the head researcher at the Salk Institute in the cancer research section and professor of molecular and cellular biology. He was blown away by this research.
“This research provide us with new avenues to explore in order to understand how metformin works as a diabetes drug, along with its health-span-extending effects. These are pathways that neither we, nor anyone else, would have imagined.”
Metformin has been used as a drug for diabetes for over 60 years. It has some negative side effects particularly with problems with the gut. It causes distress, flatulence, and other stuff. But this seems to be a sign of improvement in the gut microbiome.
In other words, it seems to change the cells in our guts which helps us process food better. Mice studies show that this improved gut health is actually transferable to other mice that have not taken metformin.
We can’t say yet that metformin is the “fountain of youth” but this inexpensive diabetes drug shows tremendous promise.
What is frustrating is that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been stalling a long-term study on metformin and aging because they don’t classify aging as a disease.
But more and more promising research is coming out about metformin and its effects on promoting health, not just controlling glucose levels in the blood.
The biggest caution for those who take the drug is to make sure they are getting enough vitamin B12. Chronic low levels of this vitamin can result in a host of problems that can be avoided with awareness and supplementation.