Metformin for Weight Loss – How It Works, Benefits, And Side Effects

Metformin is a drug recommended to control blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Let’s find out how it helps to lose weight.

If you are managing type 2 diabetes using metformin (also called Glucophage) you might be well informed with side effects of this drug such as diarrhea, upset stomach, muscle pain, and sleepiness. These can be literal and figurative pain, but you might get one side effect of metformin that is weight loss.

Note: Metformin is not a weight loss drug, but researchers have discovered a link between this drug and weight loss. A long term

a study issued in the journal Diabetes-Care that was attended by the Diabetes-Prevention-Program decided that this drug could work as a treatment for extra body weight, although additional studies are needed.

Metformin’s History & Mechanism

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The use of Metformin gradually begins in the middle decades, when herbalists introduced these distillations from Galega Officinalis, which is a plant known for a choice as French Lilac, Spanish sainfoin, and false indigo to manage frequent urination. The active ingredient in a plant like guanidine was initially isolated in the 1800s and later synthesized as the low toxic metformin. The drug was chosen in the United Kingdom and France in 1975 and 1958, but it would be extra 37 years before the FDA would accept this substitute for practice in the United States.

Notwithstanding the initial resistance to the drug, the FDA has been more open lately to recognizing research that could explore other indications for metformin from claims like TAME.

The FDA has determined to expand flexibility in recent years about metformin, therefore, considering its original position back in the 1980s when it listed never to approve this drug.

Chief Medical Editor from Endocrin Today, said in an interview that it was a surprisingly strong position, not importantly grounded in observational science, but was linked to the instead startling toxicity of a similar drug called phenformin. Phenformin was eliminated from most markets in late 1970 due to the high risk of lactic acidosis in people.

Research shows that metformin lowered hepatic glucose production, lower intestinal absorption of glucose, and increase insulin sensitivity by raising peripheral glucose and utilization. Unlike sulfonylureas, metformin does not

Can Metformin Induce Weight Loss?

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According to a study, metformin can help some people with weight loss. However, it is not clear that why metformin may lead to weight loss.

One theory is that it may help you to consume less by lowering your appetite. It may also change the way how your body uses and deposit fat. Although researchers have shown that metformin may help with reducing losing weight, the drug is not an instant fixed solution. According to one long-term study, weight loss from metformin happen in 1-2 years. The amount of weight lost also differs from person to person. During the study, the average amount of weight loss after 2 or more years was 4-7 pounds.

 Taking the drug without regular healthy habits may not lead to weight loss. A person who follows regular exercise and a healthy diet while taking metformin will get weight loss. It may be because metformin is believed to promote how many calories you burn while exercising.

If you do not work out, you likely to not get the benefit. Additionally, any weight loss you get may only remain as long as you are on medication. That means if you stop consuming metformin, there is a good chance of getting back to your previous weight. And even while you are still consuming this drug, you may gradually gain the weight you have lost.

It is not a miraculous diet supplement some people think. Metformin has been presented to reduce weight in some, but not everyone’s. In some people, it gives advantages like if you do not lose weight, it does not make you gain weight. It is different than the medicines used to regulate type 2 diabetes.

Will My Physician Recommend Metformin for Weight Loss?

If you are suffering from prediabetes and type 2 diabetes and obese or overweight, your physician may suggest metformin to help diabetes or decrease the risk of diabetes and to see if it can help for weight loss. The doctor may tell you to use it even if you are not having prediabetes or diabetes.

Metformin has not been confirmed by FDA for weight loss. As a result, there are little data about how useful its works for this goal.


What is the Metformin Dosage for Weight Loss?

If your doctor recommends metformin, then he or she will tell you the dosage that is right for your health. You will likely begin metformin at a low dosage and slowly raise it after some weeks. It can help to reduce the side effects.

Other Reasons for Weight Loss

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If you are losing weight during metformin consumption, it may or may not be the result of this medication. Weight loss can lead to other factors also. For example, some health conditions may lead to appetite loss. These conditions include:

  • Depression
  • Disease (Copd)
  • Stress
  • Cancer
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
  • Aids
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Other medications may also lead to weight loss. Chemotherapy drugs may do this by lowering appetite. Certain thyroid medications promote your metabolism, which can lead to weight loss. These drugs include liothyronine, levothyroxine, and liotrix. Other drugs that may encourage weight loss including ADHD drugs such as dextroamphetamine/amphetamine and methylphenidate.

Digestive system problems may also lead to weight loss. These problems include:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Infections of the intestines or stomach
  • Surgeries of the intestines or stomach

What If Weight Loss Is the Cause of Worry?

Remember that metformin is linked to a safe drug with side effects that commonly go away with time.

Any weight loss you may take is slow and less and should not lead to alarm. But if you are worried about the amount of weight you have decreased while consuming metformin, talk with your doctor.

She or He can boost determine what is causing weight loss and if anything requires to be done about it.

Whether or not you consume metformin, you should take a doctor’s help for rapid weight loss without appetite or energy. You should also talk to your doctor if you have lost more than 10-pounds in the last 6-12 months and do not know why. Usually, you should feel free to investigate your health and concerns.

Talk to Your Doctor

The way to lose weight varies from different people. Still, the weight loss method that most suggested by the doctor is a combination of a healthy diet and workout. For more information, read about diabetes safe diet and workout tips for diabetics.


Metformin Dosage for Weight Loss

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Metformin is possible in the following forms:

  • 500-mg pills
  • 850-mg pills
  • 500-mg modified-release pills
  • 750-mg modified-release pills
  • 1-g modified-release pills
  • 500-mg oral medicine (sugar-free)
  • 1 g oral powder-(sugar-free)
  • 5 ml / 500 mg oral solution (sugar-free)
  • For adults, Metformin pills can be consumed 2-3 times a day.
  • For children and teenagers, 1 Metformin dose every day is suggested.

This medicine is not approved for children below 10 years of age.

The greatest everyday dose is 1000 to 3000 mg metformin (the doses should be classified into 2-3 smaller portions every day. Your physician will begin with low dosages and after one 1 or 2 weeks or depending on your health response to the prior dose, the dose can be raised. Do not stop consuming it until your physician tells you to stop it.

What to Do If You Forget to take A Dose?

You should be cautious when you using Metformin for weight loss. No worries if you miss the dose. However, if you get it just before the next dose time, then do not take it. If you do not miss it then take it as soon as possible. Make sure to eat something with medicine.


What to Do If You Get Overdose?

Metformin overdose can be risky. Do not try to take more pills for weight loss. Overdosing yourself will not cause weight loss, but you may feel chills, breathing, nausea, stomach pain, headaches, and lactic acidosis. Make sure to visit your nearest hospital for help.

How Much Weight Loss Can Be Expected from Metformin?

There have been various studies about Metformin-triggered weight loss in type-2 diabetic people and obese people. Many of these researches lasted from 4-7 months. The results gathered that the instant weight-loss felt because of Metformin ranged from 1-4 kg.

Experts say that real weight loss starts only after consuming medication for 4-6 weeks in total.

Is Metformin Safe for Weight Loss?

It is safe to take Metformin for reducing weight, but you should talk with the doctor first. If your doctor agrees to get Metform for weight loss, you do not need to worry about it. Remember to avoid overdose for quick weight loss.

Make sure to follow the instructions of your doctor to avoid health risks.


Who is not advised to take Metformin for Weight loss?

Avoid metformin if you have the following conditions:

  • Kidney disease
  • Heart attack
  • Liver function problem
  • 80-year age
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • You are suffering from a medical problem
  • Recently taken chlorpropamide
  • Age below 10 years
  • Pregnancy or lactating mother

If you are not suffering from the above points, then you have good health and consume Metformin for weight loss. But, taking just Metformin is not enough, you need to watch out what you should eat and what food should be avoided for healthy weight loss.

Foods to Eat


Fruits and Veggies –

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Kale, bok choy, spinach, collard greens, Chinese cabbage, carrot, lettuce, beetroot, spring onions, onion, squash, radish, bitter gourd, apple, orange, lemon, bottle gourd, lime, prune, peach, pear, cucumber, grapefruit, green chili, gooseberries, star fruit, jalapeno, passion fruit, muskmelon, and watermelon.



non alcoholic beverages
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Coconut water, fresh fruit, vegetable juice, detox drinks, oolong tea, green tea, black coffee, match tea, water, and herbal tea.


Herbs and Spices –

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Cumin seeds, allspice, cardamom, coriander seeds, clove, mace, cinnamon, nigella seeds, saffron, asafoetida, cayenne pepper powder, turmeric, black pepper, cilantro, oregano, curry leaves, basil, sage, dill, bay leaf, fennel seeds, etc.


Foods to Avoid 

Fruits and Veggies –

10 Health Benefits of Jackfruit
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Potato, mango, pumpkin, grapes, and jackfruit.

Protein –

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Beef, pork, salami, smoked salmon, sausages, and canned tuna.

Fats and Oils –

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Animal fat, butter, margarine, vegetable oil, and canola oil,

Nuts and Seeds –

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Cashew nuts.


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– Full-fat milk, flavored yogurt, full-fat yogurt, mozzarella cheese, ice cream, and full-fat cream.

Beverages –

no alcohol
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Alcohol, aerated, artificially sweetened, and colored flavored beverages, packaged fruit, and vegetable juices. You also have to make some changes in your lifestyle to make metformin work.

Lifestyle Changes for Weight Loss

  • Eat organic and fresh produce.
  • Eat-in every 2-3 hours
  • Try consuming at least 1-protein food with each meal
  • Eat fiber-rich foods for weight loss
  • Do not avoid breakfast
  • Eat not more than two whole eggs in a day to get important nutrients
  • Skip processed, starchy, salty, and sugary foods.
  • Get 3-5 hours for a workout every week to mobilize fat and develop lean muscle mass.
  • Eat home make food
  • Play some sports for 3 hours a week for an active and flexible body.
  • Drink only 3-4 liters of water each day.
  • Enjoy a cheat meal every week
  • Manage stress by doing some hobby.
  • Follow weight loss goals by setting a deadline
  • Develop social support by talking to people who are serious about their goals and losing weight.
  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep daily night.
  • Avoid electronic gadgets before sleep
  • Avoid eating midnight


Improved male fertility

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Metformin helps to increase sperm motility and functions of the reproductive system in men with diabetes. Additionally, in labs, producing sperm with metformin raises their ability to fertilize eggs after freezing while sperm donation.


Improved female fertility

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In females with polycystic ovary syndrome, including metformin to improve chances of clomiphene in women with unexplained infertility to get pregnant in contrast to using clomiphene alone.


Longer lifespan

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Metformin is considered to improve immunity and prolong lifespan in mice. There is no information about it to increase lifespan in human but metformin lower blood sugar and the insulin levels by enhancing insulin sensitivity.


Prevent Colon Cancer

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Metformin also helps to prevent the risk of cancer indicated by several studies. Metformin helps the overall survival rates of diabetic people with colorectal cancer.


Prostate cancer treatment

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According to a recent study about mice, prostate cancer discovered that including metformin in old chemotherapy lower cancer progression. It could mean that metformin may include some benefit to deprivation therapies of androgen-like Lupron during prostate cancer treatment in humans.


Ovarian cancer treatment

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Metformin also shows good effects for treating tumors of ovarian cancer. Its benefit to prevent this condition.

According to pre-clinical studies of ovarian cancer, metformin lowers the proliferation of cancer cell lines in a dose given to you. This study shows a strong anti-cancer effect after hypothesized that the utilization of metformin may be linked with the improved result of ovarian cancer (Source).


Enhanced gut bacteria

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According to recent research, metformin impacts the gut microbiome, which are the good bacteria that present in the gut. Various people believe metformin helps for weight loss by changing the gut bacteria composition.


Dementia prevention

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People with diabetes who consume metformin have been shown to get a low risk of dementia than those who take other medicine for diabetes like glyburide or glipizide.

Metformin Side Effects


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It is a feeling of no energy or tiredness. You will feel sleepy or drowsy. When you get fatigued, you do not have motivation and energy. Taking Metformin may cause you side effects of fatigue. Stop taking it and contact a physician in a severe case.



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It is another side effect of Metformin. This side effect occurs with fatigue in which you will feel discomfort, weakness, illness, unwell feeling. This side effect may occur suddenly or increase gradually for long period.


Nausea, Stomach ache, Diarrhea

Stomach Pain Diarrhea
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These are typical side effects of metformin, which make many people stop taking it.


Difficulty in breathing

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Some people may experience breathing difficulty after taking Metformin. Make sure to take advice before taking it if you already have any chest pain problems.



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There are some reports that metformin can cause the side effect of sleep problems like insomnia. In contrast, metformin is proven to help to prevent sleep apnea.


Musculoskeletal pains

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Musculoskeletal pain means pain that occurs in bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tendons. You can get this pain in any part of the body, such as the back. You can also have pain in the whole body like fibromyalgia.

Taking Metformin may also have the side effect of Musculoskeletal pains.


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A seizure is an uncontrolled and sudden electrical disturbance in the brain. It can lead to behavior, feelings, movements, and consciousness changes. Having 2 or more seizures in 24 hours is considered epilepsy. Metformin also has side effects of the seizure.


Blurred vision

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Low blood sugar may happen if Fortamet is advised with other medication for diabetes. Symptoms like low blood sugar like shaking, sudden sweating, fast heartbeat, blurred vision, hunger, tingling hand and feet, and dizziness.

Urinary Problems

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Some studies of mice about metformin examined renal sodium transporter with metformin chronic and acute treatment. The result shows that metformin increases the urinary sodium excretion by lowering phosphorylation of NCC, recommended its role for improving hypertension.

How to Manage Metformin Side Effects

some side effects get decreased on their own over time. There are some ideas you can avoid these problems:

Try to begin with a low dose

It makes it easy for your body to adjust to the medicine.


Take Metformin with Food

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It is good to take the medicine with meals to make it easier to handle the medicine.


Ask About the Extended Discharge Form of Metformin

You will take it one time a day rather than two times. Because it does not release the drug in on burst, side effects are less. According to one study, just 10% of people who took more release developed diarrhea, in contrast with 53% of those who consumed standard formula. Just 7% of people had nausea, compared with 26%, and lesser than 1% of those on extended-release metformin had to stop consuming it because of side effects.


Metformin Drug Interactions

Metformin can lead to problems with other drugs you consume, including diuretics, corticosteroids, birth control pills, thyroid drugs, and other estrogen drugs, and calcium channel blockers. Also, if you consume metformin along with medicines for acid reflux, you could be more prone to get vitamin B12 deficiency.

Make sure to go over everything you get advised with the doctor.

Before you get an imaging test that uses contrast dye, such as an MRI, or CT scan, you will need to stop consuming metformin.

The drug and dye combination can cause a reaction that causes lactic acidosis. Let your physician team know that you consume metformin before you do an imaging test. If you get these after-effects, you should quickly discuss them with a physician. There are many reasons these side effects might happen such as medication, lifestyle, and other diseases or the medication that does not suit your health. Therefore, talk to your doctor without any delay.

Metformin is an effective drug that can benefit from weight loss, which will help to lower diabetes or PCOs risk.

Asking your physician might help to get all answers to your questions for weight loss. Here are some questions:

  • Can, you suggest a diet and workout plan for weight loss?
  • Do I need medicine for weight loss?
  • What is a feasible goal for weight loss?
  • Should I take a dietitian to help with the diet?
  • After weight loss, do I need to stop medications for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes?

Can Individuals Without Diabetes Consume Metformin?

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What if you do not suffer from type-2 diabetes? Can you still consume metformin for weight loss? It is an excellent question, and the good answer is yes. Metformin has been used for weight management.

Your doctor may suggest strategies for weight management such as:

  • Skip sugary drinks
  • Avoid drinking more water before meals which can fill your stomach.
  • Workout for 30-minutes most days of the week.
  • Prepare a meal with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Reduce processed food consumption.
  • Consume a high protein, low-fat diet, and low carb.
  • Try portion control

If you do not have type2 diabetes, your physician may recommend this drug for obese and people try to reduce weight. But again, metformin is not a substitute for regular workout and healthy eating, which are important for weight management. These habits also improve weight loss if you have type 2 diabetes but cannot consume metformin.

For those individuals with diabetes who cannot consume metformin, because of chronic kidney disease or other problems, diet and modification of lifestyle will still be of most importance whether they are advised to alternate medication or not.

Controlling carbohydrate consumption, boost physical activity and manage stress for improving stress is the cornerstone for improving glycemic control.

Remember to stand up every hour or walk around the room or block. Some physical activity with the day includes resulting in calorie burning.


Final Words

All things considered, metformin can lead to a modest decrease in weight, most likely because of side effects, like a reduced appetite and upset stomach. But although effective for weight reduction, the drug does not replace old dieting methods.

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