Benefits of Metformin
There are several possible metformin benefits, such as decreasing hemoglobin A1c levels, lowering total cholesterol, and increasing fertility in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). However, as with any medication, there are possible side effects of metformin, and taking metformin is not without risk. Prior to taking metformin, talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of taking the medication.
Metformin (Glucophage®) is a prescription medication licensed for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In addition to lowering blood sugar, metformin may have additional benefits, including the following:
- Decreasing hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels
- Helping with weight loss
- Lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol")
- Raising HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol")
- Increasing fertility in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Decreasing miscarriages in women with PCOS.
In one study, people who took metformin reduced their fasting blood sugar levels by 53 mg/dL on average, while people who did not take metformin had an increase in their fasting blood sugar levels.
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a test used to measure long-term blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Normal HbA1c levels are usually less than 6 percent in people without diabetes, and people with diabetes usually have higher HbA1c levels. In one study, people who took metformin reduced their HbA1c levels by 1.4 percent, compared to a gain of 0.4 percent in people who did not take metformin.
Studies have shown that the higher the HbA1c, the greater the chance for developing long-term problems related to diabetes. This includes problems such as heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, and diabetic nephropathy. By getting blood sugar levels under control with metformin, it may be possible to decrease the chances for developing these diabetes complications.