Metformin VS Cardio Exercise
Metformin’s Mechanism (how it works)
If you are a type 2 diabetic or know one, than you are probably familiar with Metformin (a.k.a. Glucophage). It’s a common oral medication used to treat insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when cells (mostly muscle cells) stop taking in glucose at the request of insulin; usually because the muscles cells are so inactive, they no longer need any more glucose for fuel. Metformin activates an enzyme in the cells called AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase). The same AMPK that is activated during cardiovascular exercise. So essentially, metformin tricks your muscle cells into thinking they are exercising. Since the muscles think they are “exercising,” they think they need more glucose to convert into ATP for fuel.
Disadvantages of Metformin compared to Cardio
The problem with using Metformin over exercise is that the fuel (glucose) is not actually being used (burned). All that glucose pulled into the muscle cells are not being metabolized and just sitting there building up. During cardio exercise, they are being “burned”.
Side effects of Metformin include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, low blood sugar, high lactic acid and some liver / kidney problems. Side effects of exercise include stronger heart and muscles, lower cholesterol, increased sexual function, weight-control, and looking better in jeans.
Consult your physician
Yes it seems Cardio would be better for you than medication to control your type 2 diabetes. Do NOT just go off your medication. Start your cardio program and then consult with your physician to start reducing your Metformin. Your A1C tests will tell your doctor if you can eliminate your Metformin intake. Most doctors probably won’t believe you are capable of controlling your diabetes with diet and exercise because the majority of their patients rely on their medications too much. Let’s show him/her that you are the exception and can change your lifestyle in a healthy way.
I Did It
I got my A1C down to 6.0 and my doctor told me I no longer need my medication. However, I hurt my foot and shoulder and did not do cardio for a while and I’m back on the Metformin. One must keep up the cardio in order to be effective.
Kirpichnikov D; McFarlane SI; Sowers JR (2002). “Metformin: an update”(PDF). Ann Intern Med. 137 (1): 25–33. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-137-1-200207020-00009. PMID 12093242. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2008-09-10.
“Metformin Hydrochloride”. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Archived from the original on 24 December 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017.