Drug News: Metformin - The Wonder Drug - Now Shown To Be Able To Prevent Muscle Atrophy And Muscular Fibrosis In A Randomized Clinical Trial
Study found that metformin helps muscle cells better remodel and repair tissue during periods of recovery after inactivity.
: When you hear about diabetes medications, muscle function might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, groundbreaking research from the University of Utah Health has revealed that the common diabetes drug, Metformin, has unexpected applications on a cellular level. Not only does Metformin regulate blood sugar, but it also has the remarkable ability to prevent muscle atrophy and muscular fibrosis, making it a potential game-changer in the realm of muscle recovery and overall health, especially for the elderly.
The Senescent Cells and Muscle Function Connection
Researchers at the University of Utah Health have identified a fascinating link between Metformin and the so-called "zombie-like cells" known as senescent cells. These cells are associated with inflammation and fibrotic tissue, which contributes to muscle dysfunction and delayed recovery after periods of disuse, especially in aging individuals. Senescent cells tend to accumulate in the body as it ages, hindering the natural recovery processes that are essential for maintaining muscle mass and function.
Senior author, Dr Micah Drummond, Ph.D., a professor of physical therapy and athletic training at the College of Health at the University of Utah told Drug News reporters from Thailand Medical News
, "In the case of aging, we know that there's immune dysfunction.As you get older, it becomes harder for your body to clear senescent cells and they accumulate. That's one reason recovery is much slower for the elderly after periods of disuse."
The Aging Challenge
As adults age, they become more susceptible to falls, hospitalizations, and chronic diseases, largely due to muscle disuse. The team at the University of Utah aimed to find a therapeutic solution that would effectively address both disuse atrophy and muscle recovery, particularly in the elderly.
The Metformin Intervention
Previous pre-clinical studies had already demonstrated Metformin's anti-senescent properties in rodents, making it a promising candidate for human trials. To test its effects on humans, the researchers conducted a controlled trial with twenty healthy male and female older adults. These participants were divided into two groups - one received Metformin, while the other received placebo pills during a two-week run-in period and five days of bed rest.
The findings were nothing short of remarkable. Those who took Metformin during bed rest exhibited significantly less muscle atrophy compared to the placebo group. Furthermore, during the recovery period, their muscles had lower levels of fibrosis or excessive collagen, which can hinder proper muscle function. The positive correlation between Metformin intake and improved muscle recovery is groundbreaking in itself.
Dr Drummond added, "We saw two things in our study,when participants took Metformin during a
bed rest, they had less muscle atrophy. During the recovery period, their muscles also had less fibrosis or excessive collagen. That build-up can make it harder for the muscle to properly function."
The research team delved deeper into the cellular level to understand the mechanisms behind Metformin's effects. They discovered that Metformin-treated individuals had fewer markers of cellular senescence, indicating that the drug was targeting and reducing these zombie-like cells responsible for inflammation and impaired muscle recovery.
A Step Towards Clinical Application
The ultimate goal of this research is to translate these findings into clinical applications that can benefit older individuals recovering from injuries or surgeries, such as knee surgeries. By administering Metformin during the recovery period, muscle function could be restored faster, improving overall outcomes and quality of life for the elderly.
The Next Frontier
The study team are not stopping there. They are now exploring the combination of Metformin with leucine; an amino acid known to promote growth and accelerate recovery. Preclinical animal studies have already shown promising results, adding to the potential of Metformin as an effective muscle recovery tool.
The discovery of Metformin's ability to prevent muscle atrophy and fibrosis opens up a new world of possibilities for improving muscle recovery, especially in aging populations. This wonder drug, already widely used for diabetes treatment, may now become a powerful tool to combat age-related muscle decline and enhance overall health and well-being in older individuals. With further research and clinical trials, Metformin's potential as a muscle recovery agent could revolutionize the field of geriatric care, paving the way for a healthier, more active, and resilient aging population.
The study findings were published in the peer reviewed journal: Aging Cell.
The Wonder Drug
Metformin has recently been in the news as lot of studies have found that metformin helps in preventing Long COVID, helps in COVID-19 infections, prevents osteoarthritis, treats atrial fibrillation issues, prevent ovarian cancer and breast cancer, good for treating fibromyalgia, reverses lung fibrosis, prevent colorectal cancer and helps in anti-aging.
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