When you first start taking the diabetes medication, metformin, digestive discomfort are among the most common symptoms. Thankfully, for most people, these symptoms usually ease within a few weeks. The body adjusts to the medication, and with the appropriate dietary changes, life becomes much less uncomfortable.
But, have you ever wondered what causes those early tummy problems?
It seems that metformin actively changes the microbiome in your gut. Yep, this medication encourages the growth of good bacteria.
Lowering Glucose Through the Digestive Tract
The main action of this medication is to help lower the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. How does it do this? Metformin primarily does this by preventing the liver from producing glucose and also by improving insulin sensitivity of muscle cells.
It also appears to make life easier for the bacteria in your gut. This medication affects certain biological pathways in common bacteria found in the digestive tract. Coincidentally, these effects improve the pathogen’s ability to produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids.
So, while the bacteria are having a party in your tummy and causing all sorts of symptoms, it also allows the bacteria to make more good fatty acids. Researchers think that they may even be part of what makes metformin such a great medication for diabetes. These acids are known for also helping to lower glucose in the bloodstream.
Some Of the Symptoms Of Metformin
If you haven’t started this oral medication yet, some of the symptoms you can look forward to include:
- loose stools
- frequent urge to go to the bathroom
For most people, these are temporary discomforts and may be a sign that metformin is doing its job. If you have issues that last longer than this or have a hard time adjusting to the medication, speak with your doctor. There may be some changes you can make in dosage.
Metformin: Harmful or Helpful to Your Gut Bacteria? URL Link. Accessed July 7, 2017.
Metformin Alters the Gut Microbiome Of Individuals With Treatment-Naive Type 2 Diabetes, Contributing To the Therapeutic Effects Of the Drug. URL Link. Accessed July 7, 2017.
Glucophage (Metformin) and Diabetes. URL Link. Accessed July 7, 2017.