Study: Common Diabetic Drug Found To Slow Down Aging, Increase Lifespan

shutterstock_147129197A common diabetic drug called metformin has been helping people deal with type 2 diabetes. It helps control blood sugar levels by reducing the amount of glucose that the body can absorb from food. Not only that, metformin also helps reduce the levels of glucose that the liver produces and also improves the natural response of the body to insulin. But recent research shows that its benefits may extend to halting the aging process.

Researchers from the University of Leuven in Belgium (KU Leuven) conducted a number of experiments using metformin on the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, which is ideal for studying about the aging process because of its three-week lifespan. The researchers found out that metformin increased the release of toxic molecules in the cells of the worm. The process, surprisingly, boosted the worm’s long-term strength and longevity.

According to Wouter De Haes, who led the KU Leuven study, “As they age, the worms get smaller, wrinkle up and become less mobile. But worms treated with metformin show very limited size loss and no wrinkling. They not only age slower, but they also stay healthier longer.”

The researchers further explained that metformin causes a slight increase in the number of oxygen molecules in the body. These molecules can be harmful to the body as it can affect with normal cell functioning as well as damage proteins as well as DNA. The body produces the harmful oxygen molecules through the process that happen in the mitochondria, the powerhouses of each cell.

While oxygen molecules may have a harmful effect, it can also be beneficial to the body in small amounts. The slight increase of oxygen molecules that using metformin caused made the cells stronger and extended their healthy lifespan, the researchers reported. But the researchers also noted a surprising discovery. As the reactive oxygen molecules are blamed for the aging process, antioxidants prevent the said molecules from doing their damage. But in the same way, antioxidants may also affect the anti-aging effects of metformin. The researchers indicate that further studies are needed to fully understand how metformin may affect humans in terms of its anti-aging properties. But the recent findings may provide the foundation for upcoming research regarding the aging process and finding ways to stop or delay it.

Source: Medical News Today


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