Diabetes Drug Metformin May Increase Lifespan, Reduce Heart Disease Risk [STUDY]

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 31, 2013 11:58 AM EDT

pills
Metformin, a diabetes drug, reduced heart disease and extended lifespans in mice in a new study. (Photo: Flickr: thejavorac)

Metformin, a widely-used diabetes pill, slows down cancer, reduces heart disease and extends the lives of mice, new research shows. 

Like Us on Facebook

Scientists believe the metformin has this effect on mice because the pill mimics a low-calorie diet in mice and maintains their body weight, things which are thought to promote healthy aging. In the study, metformin increased the lives of mice by a few weeks, or by about six percent. That may not sound like a lot, but it translates to about 3 to 4 years in human lives.

"It's clear that we are edging toward developing a pharmaceutical intervention that is going to be able to delay or postpone aging," said study conductor Rafael de Cabo of the National Institute of Aging in Baltimore, Md. "For how much and how long I have no idea."

In the study, published in Nature Communications, de Cabo and his team gave two groups of mice in middle age differing doses of metformin. One group of mice wsa given a 0.1 percent dose and the other was given 1 percent.

The mice that received the 0.1 percent metformin dose were the ones who lived about six percent longer, and were also more resistant to diabetes and heart disease. But too much metformin proved to be a bad thing: the mice receiving a 1 percent dose had had lifespans which were 14 percent less than mice given no metformin.

The shortened lifespan in the mice given the larger dose of metformin may have been due to kidney failure. The low-dose mice didn't appear to have any kidney problems.

"This study is highly credible and suggests that metformin may be useful to treat a range of age-related diseases, possibly including cancer in humans," said Charles Mobbs of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, NY, who wasn't involved in the study.

While the metformin study is promising, a study in humans would need to be conducted before metformin starts getting prescribed to those who don't have diabetes. Still, Mobbs said, the study shows further evidence of metformin's benefits.

"Metformin is widely prescribed to diabetic patients, and produces among the lowest mortality rate in these patients compared to other drugs used to treat diabetes," Mobbs said. "Several studies have demonstrated the drug extends lifespan and reduces tumor burden in other animal models."

READ MORE:

Coffee Suicide Rates: 2 To 4 Cups A Day Cuts Suicide Risk In Half, Study Says

Skipping Breakfast: Heart Disease Risk Increases By 27 Percent In Men Who Don't Eat A Morning Meal [STUDY]

Diet Soda Health Risks: Sweeteners May Cause Weight Gain [STUDY]

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)