Recent research on metformin, a type II diabetes drug, showed that the drug can extend life in young non-diabetic animals. However, the response to the drug in adult animals is still unexplored.
Metformin demonstrates life-prolonging effects in young animals
Leibniz Institute on Aging and Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany researchers established that mitochondrial dysfunction can annul metformin benefits in aged C. elegans as well as late passage human cells. Interestingly, the metformin regime that prolonged the lifespan of young animals was toxic to older animals in that it induced deleterious metabolic changes. The results of the research show that aging has a limit for lifespan metformin benefits beyond diabetes.
With people getting older each day so does the increase in diseases related to age such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and dementia. Therefore getting to old age and staying healthy is very vital. Recent studies linked metformin which for decades has been treating type II diabetes patients to reduced cancer development risk and demonstrated the possibility of alleviating cardiovascular disease risk in humans. Animal models such as nematodes, flies, and mice have shown that metformin can prolong life. Therefore does this make it a new miracle drug to extend healthspan and delay age-related diseases?
Studies on metformin’s life-prolonging effect in non-diabetic individuals
The American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR) has initiated the first clinical study to demonstrate the metformin’s possible life-prolonging effect in non-diabetic aging individuals. Unfortunately, the potential long-term side effect of metformin in non-diabetic individuals is yet to be studied. Interestingly the Leibniz Institute on Aging-Flitz Lipmann Institute and Friedrich Schiller University Jena researchers have addressed the concerns by using nematode c. elegans and human primary cells in studying the metabolic response to metformin in young and adult non-diabetic organisms.
Dr. Maria Ermolaeva said that following the discovery the metformin prolonged life in mice and worms there has been an increase in interest over the drugs’ potential as an aging miracle drug. Researchers used nematode c. elegans and mammalian cell cultures to demonstrate metabolism and stress responses.