Does metformin alter your microbiome

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

This lifelong, serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes either, can’t work properly or can’t make enough is becoming out of hand. More people than ever are at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

What causes Type 2 diabetes?

Insulin is essential to our survival as it fuels our bodies by allowing the glucose in our blood to enter our cells. Insulin helps keep your blood sugar level from getting too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycaemia). When you have Type 2 diabetes, insulin is still being released in order to break down carbohydrates you consumed. But because insulin can’t work properly, blood glucose levels keep rising and you develop a state of hyperglycemia.

After a while, this tires the pancreas out and less and less insulin gets released. This results in increased blood glucose levels in your blood, and therefore your cells are not getting enough fuel for functioning properly.

How do I know I have Type 2 diabetes?

If not enough glucose is entering your body you will start feeling very tired. You may also have the urge to wee a lot, feel very thirsty and your cuts and grazes may heal much slower. Getting infections like thrush is also very common. Many people may be symptomless or not pay attention to their symptoms. By failing to ask for help at an early stage of the disease, can result in more serious complication of diabetes. These include damage to your heart, eyes, feet and your kidneys.

How can I treat Type 2 diabetes?

Generally, metformin is the first medication prescribed. The way it works is, it improves the sensitivity of your body tissues to insulin so that your body can use insulin more effectively. Considering there are several available medications for this illness, metformin is one of the oldest drugs on the market and probably one of the most effective ones. That being said like any other drug metformin comes with a cost of numerous side effects.

These vary from person to person. The side effects mostly occur in more than 1 in 100 people. Some of the most common side effects are:

  • Feeling sick
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Stomach ache
  • Loss of appetite
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Being cold and a slow heartbeat
  • Liver problems
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Skin rash, redness or itching

Can metformin cause microbiome dysbiosis?

In recent years, there has been an explosion in scientific research about understanding the human microbiome. And considering there are an estimated 100 trillion microbes living in our gut, scientists are finding strong connections between our microbiota and our overall wellbeing.

The microbiome is very dynamic and changes with early development, diet, use of antibiotics and especially in response to disease. A recent study by Amon and Sanderson (2018) have investigated the short-term effect of metformin on the composition of healthy human gut microbiota.

Even though this was only an exploratory study without a placebo control, they found a significant reduction in the diversity of gut microbiota straight after 24 hours of consuming metformin. A one-week long treatment was associated with even further decrease in crucially important microbes, including families Peptostreptococcaceae and Clostridiaceae.

Consequently, this increases the opportunity for pathogens to take over and develops the known side effects associated with the dysbiosis of the gut. Considering, this progressive disease can be managed with the right diet and exercise, it is crucial to diagnose the disease at an early stage and avoid complications and the requirement of metformin to manage the disease.

In other words, early diagnosis and avoidance of taking metformin can avoid the consequence of lowering the crucially important microbiome diversity in your gut.

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