Metformin is a well known drug to treat type 2 diabetes. But new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discovers the drug candidate may also sluggish the aging process and enhance life expectancy.
Metformin belongs to a class of drugs well-known as biguanides. For individuals with type 2 diabetes, it assists manage blood sugar by decreasing the quantity of glucose consumed from food and the levels of glucose produced by the liver. It also boosts the human body’s natural response to insulin.
But research have recommended that the health advantages of metformin may arrive at additional than type 2 diabetes. A 2012 research also identified that the medication may show assurance in dealing with patients with pancreatic cancer.
Now, a study team lead by Wouter De Haes discovers that metformin may be helpful for slowing the aging process.
Evaluating metformin in roundworms
To attain their discoveries, the team performed a sequence of studies in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans – a design they say is ideal for examining the aging process as it only has a 3-week lifespan.
The team identified that metformin enhanced the number of toxic molecules introduced in the worms’ cells, which they were amazed to find enhanced their long-term strength and durability.
“As they age, the worms get smaller sized, wrinkle up and turn out to be less mobile. But worms dealt with metformin display very minimal size loss and no wrinkling. They not only age sluggish, but they also stay healthier for a longer period,” states Haes.
But how does metformin work? The team describes that our human body’s cells get their strength from mitochondria well known as “powerhouses”,in each cell that induce small electric currents. This procedure can produce highly reactive oxygen molecules.
These highly reactive oxygen molecules can be dangerous to the body. They can harm proteins and DNA and intervene with normal cell performance. But the team states that the molecules can also be advantageous in small amounts.
“As long as the quantity of dangerous oxygen molecules introduced in the cell continues to be small, it has a beneficial long-term impact on the cell. Cells use the highly reactive oxygen molecules to their benefit prior to they can do any harm,” describes Haes.
“Metformin leads to a minor boost in the number of dangerous oxygen molecules. We identified that this makes cells powerful and expands their healthy lifespan.”
Antioxidants ‘may halt metformin from operating’
The researchers say earlier research has showed that unsafe oxygen particles are to blame for the aging process. In addition, it is considered that anti-oxidants may assist protect against these molecules from causing harm.
However, the scientists note that anti-oxidants may counteract metformin’s anti-aging outcomes, as they identified that the dangerous molecules need to be existing in cells for the drug to work.
Even though these results in roundworms are ensuring as an effective anti-aging approach, Haes notices that further study is required