This diabetes drug can boost muscle health

Credit: Unsplash+

For over 50 years, Metformin has been a go-to drug for managing diabetes. However, researchers from the University of Utah Health have discovered that it has another unexpected benefit: helping older adults maintain healthy muscles.

Metformin is widely known for its ability to control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.

But recent studies reveal that it can also play a crucial role in keeping muscles strong. This is especially important for older adults, as strong muscles help them recover faster from injuries or illnesses.

You might wonder how a diabetes drug can aid muscle health. The secret lies in how Metformin works at the cellular level. Researchers have found that it targets specific cells known as “zombie-like cells” or senescent cells.

These cells are troublemakers, causing inflammation that can lead to the hardening and weakening of muscles. By controlling these problematic cells, Metformin helps reduce muscle weakness.

Dr. Micah Drummond, who led the research, is excited about the potential real-world applications of this discovery.

For instance, older adults often face long recovery times after knee surgeries. Metformin could help their muscles recover more quickly, potentially speeding up the overall healing process.

As we age, our risk of falling, getting sick, or developing chronic illnesses increases, and weaker muscles can exacerbate these risks. The research team aimed to find a way to improve muscle health and recovery in older adults.

While senescent cells play a positive role in the recovery process for younger people, older bodies struggle to manage these cells, leading to slower recovery. Metformin helps in better controlling these cells.

To test Metformin’s effectiveness in humans, the team conducted a study involving 20 healthy older adults. Each participant underwent a muscle biopsy and MRI scan before the study began.

The participants were then divided into two groups: one received Metformin, and the other received a placebo (a pill with no medicine).

Participants spent five days on bed rest, a situation known to cause muscle weakening. After the bed rest period, another muscle biopsy and MRI scan were performed.

Following this, participants resumed normal activities for seven days, after which a final muscle biopsy was taken.

Dr. Drummond reported two key findings from the study. First, participants who took Metformin experienced less muscle weakening during bed rest.

Second, these participants also had less muscle hardening during the recovery period. The muscle biopsies revealed fewer signs of senescent cells in those who took Metformin.

Jonathan Petrocelli, the lead author of the study, highlighted that this is the first research to directly link Metformin to improved muscle recovery in older adults.

The team’s goal is to help patients maintain muscle strength as they age, as muscle weakening can lead to various health issues and even death.

The research team is now exploring whether combining Metformin with an amino acid called leucine could further enhance recovery. Early results from animal studies are promising.

Dr. Drummond emphasizes that Metformin is cheap, effective, and safe, making it an exciting option for accelerating recovery in older individuals.

This discovery opens up new possibilities for using Metformin beyond diabetes management. By helping older adults maintain muscle health, it could improve their overall quality of life and reduce the risks associated with aging.

Metformin, a drug long used for diabetes, shows great promise in helping older adults keep their muscles strong and recover faster from injuries.

This unexpected benefit could have significant implications for improving the health and well-being of older individuals.

If you care about pain, please read studies about vitamin K deficiency linked to hip fractures in old people, and these vitamins could help reduce bone fracture risk.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people, and eating yogurt linked to lower frailty in older people.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.