What is Metformin?
Metformin which is marketed as glucophage, is a medication that is normally used for treating type 2 diabetes and PCOS polycystic ovarian syndrome.
It basically does 2 things. First it helps increase sensitivity to insulin, and secondly it suppresses the production of glucose from the liver (The logic goes like this…okay because if your liver is making too much glucose it’s gonna raise your blood sugar so metformin will chill that out and increase the sensitivity of your cells to uptake more sugar into your cells).
So why is metformin actually bad for you?
Well..metformin sounds great, BUT 2 things to consider
The actual root cause of diabetes, insulin resistance, and PCOS is rarely addressed.
The high levels of sugar in the diet are rarely addressed. The frequent eating is rarely addressed
If that was addressed you could eventually improve it without metformin.
Be aware of its side effects
So one of the challenges with metformin is that, it not only has side effects such as diarrhea nausea abdominal pain gas, but it has a boxed warning which is a very severe warning based on the FDA that will spike lactic acid, which can then severely affect your pH and create a lot of more serious problems.
Also metofrmin blocks the absorption of b12 and folic acid so that has a whole series of side effects connected to that
In addition to that you don’t want to take metformin if you have a liver problem or a kidney problem.
But who doesn’t have a liver problem or a kidney problem if they’re pre-diabetic in the first place?
So metformin does come with a series of major side effects and can be dangerous if you rely on it for long term.
Top 5 Metformin Alternatives
Berberine is a compound found in various plants such as the barberry shrub. Berberine supplementation has been shown to support healthy blood sugar. And it has also been observed to support healthy cardiovascular function.
A new review focuses on several studies showing that the plant alkaloid berberine can lower blood glucose as effectively as the drug metformin at similar doses (500 mg, taken 3 times/day), and perhaps even better in some ways.
Berberine appear to increase AMPK activity. The AMPK enzyme is biologically stimulated when there is a deficit of energy, like during fasting or exercise. By stimulating AMPK, the cell works to increase its access to energy, by facilitating glucose and fatty acid uptake from the blood, increasing fat and glycogen breakdown, and inhibiting both glucose and fat storage.
In addition to stimulating AMPK activity, glucose consumption is increased by influencing the electron transport chain.
By doing so, the process becomes less efficient at producing ATP, thereby wasting energy and potentially mimicking a restricted calorie diet.
Most people think of cinnamon as a flavoring for desserts or as a warm, robust scent for candles and potpourri. But this spice may do more than make your house smell good.
Cinnamon has been shown to help lower blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2003 looked at 60 men and women with Type 2 diabetes who were taking diabetes pills.
The participants took either 1, 3, or 6 grams of cassia cinnamon or a placebo, in capsule form, for 40 days. After this time, blood glucose levels dropped between 18% and 29% in all three groups that received cinnamon.
However, only the participants who had taken the smallest amount of cinnamon (1 gram) continued to have improved blood glucose levels 20 days after they stopped taking it, for reasons the researchers didn’t quite understand.
In the study, cinnamon also helped lower triglycerides (a blood lipid) and LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels. The benefits continued after 60 days, 20 days after participants had stopped taking cinnamon.
So, should you start shaking cinnamon on everything or start popping cinnamon capsules?
First, keep in mind that this was a small study with only 60 subjects. Second, it was a short-term study, and the effects of taking cinnamon on a long-term basis aren’t known. Third, there’s no evidence that cinnamon helps people with Type 1 diabetes.
On the other hand, cinnamon is relatively safe. If you do want to add cinnamon to your diet, however, the best way to do it is to sprinkle it on your oatmeal or cook with about one-half teaspoon to one teaspoon daily.Using cinnamon in its whole form in food, instead of in a tablet, is always best.
3. Goat’s Rue
Goat’s Rue or French Lilac (Galega officinalis) is a flowering plant containing guanidine that has been used to treat diabetes since the early 1900’s.
It was guanidine from which metformin (Glucophage) was derived and has become one of the primary treatments of type 2 diabetes mellitus and thus, most likely has a similar mechanism of action to metformin (inhibiting the excessive basal rates of hepatic gluconeogenesis).
However, because Goat’s Rue is a plant, it has fewer side-effects than synthetic drugs such as Metformin, which can cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains and diarrhea.
Dr Ward Dean, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Anti-ageing Medicine, is responsible for much of the original research on Goat’s Rue and diabetes. Following extensive studies, he believes that Goat’s Rue has the same clinical benefits as Metformin.
4. Green Tea.
Green tea doesn’t contain added sugar, is naturally calorie-free when enjoyed plain from the bag, and is a nutritional powerhouse — all of which makes it a great beverage to add to your diabetes diet.
There’s a wealth of research on how green tea may help with weight loss and thus help people with type 2 diabetes get their blood sugar under control. It depends on the variety, but a plain cup of green tea from a steeped bag contains 0 calories, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition data.
That means it’s a great alternative to sugary and caloric sodas and energy drinks.
“When you lose weight, you increase your insulin sensitivity and will have a lower blood sugar level,” says Sandra Arevalo, MPH, RDN, a certified diabetes educator based in Hilton Head, South Carolina, and spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.
- Green tea has long been known for weight loss and thus help people with type-2 diabetes get their blood sugar levels under control. The zero calorie drink is one go-to drink you can look up to.
- The catechins (antioxidants) present in green tea help reduce the effects of insulin resistance by decreasing the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.
- Green tea also has a powerful antioxidant called polyphenol that may have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Polyphenols come from plants and help protect our cells from damage.
- Chronic conditions like diabetes may add stress and anxiety, so a cupful of green tea can help manage the problem. It may have a calming effect on the mind and body as it contains amino-acid L-theanine, which is said to reduce anxiety and stress.
5. Bitter Melon
Bitter melon actually doesn’t look like a melon at all, although it is a distant cousin. This plant grows as a small, round fruit and is native to Asia. Originally cultivated across India, it was shipped to China in the 13th century. Since then, it gained popularity and is now used across Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
Bitter melon contains insulin components in the form of polypeptide-p or p-insulin.The medical experts found the substance to be important in controlling diabetes naturally.
Over time, there have been a series of clinical trials to confirm the benefit.Such a test is the one published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
The experiments revealed that if one takes 2000mg of bitter melon for diabetes juice continuously daily, the patients’ blood sugars reduce steadily.
It assists both patients suffering from diabetes type-1 and type-2.Consequent trials found out that the insulin increases the uptake level of glucose in patients
The hypoglycemic components improve the ability a patient has in utilizing sugar for energy purposes.Also, bitter melon led to a reduced fasting plasma glucose level.
The lectin component is instrumental in reducing blood glucose concentration.Charantia is one of the most critical components found in the fruit.
Charantia contains sitosteryl glucoside and stigmasteryl glucoside.The two elements are useful in the reduction of blood glucose levels in the body of diabetic patients.
In addition, Bitter melon has nutrients that help to lower the glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C) in patients with diabetes type-2.
The journal of clinical epidemiology published a clinical trial that showed its usefulness in patients with uncontrolled diabetes and the newly diagnosed.There was a 0.25 decrease when compared to patients who did not consume the fruit.
Bitter melon can be taken in several forms; it can be eaten as a fruit, made into juice, the seeds can be added to food in a powdered form, or it can be used in the form of a decoction by boiling pieces of the melon in water. Alternatively, bitter melon extract can be bought as a herbal supplement.