Cheap diabetes drug may extend lifespan, scientists say

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Scientific interest peaks in low-cost drug’s role in extending lifespan.

NEW YORK, April 24: Scientists are exploring the potential of metformin, a low-cost drug commonly used to treat Type 2 diabetes, to not only manage blood sugar levels but also enhance overall health and longevity.

Metformin, known for its blood sugar-lowering effects, is believed to possess additional benefits such as reducing inflammation and protecting against cancer, cognitive decline, and heart disease, according to NPR. With a cost of less than a dollar per day under certain insurance plans, metformin has garnered attention for its affordability and potential health benefits.

The ongoing TAME Trial aims to investigate whether metformin can slow down aging and prevent disease in older healthy adults. Enrolling 3,000 participants between the ages of 65 and 79, the six-year trial seeks to provide valuable insights into the drug’s impact on aging-related outcomes.

Connecticut’s West Hartford Mayor, Shari Cantor, and her attorney husband, Michael Cantor, both in their mid-60s, have been taking metformin and attribute improvements in their lifestyle to the drug. Michael began using metformin a decade ago to manage weight and blood sugar levels, while Shari started during the pandemic upon hearing of its potential to prevent infections.

“I tell all my friends about it. We all want to live a little longer, high-quality life if we can,” Michael shared with NPR.

Steven Austad, a senior scientific adviser at the American Federation for Aging Research, expressed optimism about metformin’s potential to extend lifespan based on existing evidence. While definitive conclusions await the outcomes of clinical trials, observational studies suggest benefits such as reduced cancer risk, lower dementia incidence, and decreased cardiovascular mortality associated with metformin use.

Austad emphasized the importance of conducting clinical trials to validate metformin’s purported aging benefits, advocating for its potential to address multiple health issues simultaneously.

Despite positive testimonials like the Cantors’, some metformin users have reported side effects such as difficulty in muscle building and vitamin B deficiency. However, the overall safety profile of the drug remains favorable.

As research into metformin’s multifaceted effects on health and longevity progresses, it holds promise as a cost-effective and accessible intervention for promoting overall well-being and extending lifespan.

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