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What happens to your body when you start taking metformin?

Metformin hcl 500 mg is a widely used medication for type 2 diabetes, and it can have various effects on the body. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

Main Effects:

  • Blood Sugar Control: Metformin works in three primary ways to lower blood sugar levels:
    • Reduced Liver Glucose Production: It signals the liver to produce less glucose, a sugar molecule your body uses for energy.
    • Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Glycomet 500 helps your muscle cells become more receptive to insulin, allowing them to absorb glucose from the bloodstream more effectively.
    • Decreased Sugar Absorption: It reduces the amount of sugar your intestines absorb from food.

Initial Side Effects (Common, Usually Go Away):

  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Up to 25% of people experience digestive problems like diarrhea, nausea, bloating, gas, stomach pain, and loss of appetite. These typically subside within a few weeks, especially if you take metformin with meals and start with a low dose that gradually increases.

Long-Term Effects:

  • Weight Management: Metformin may lead to modest weight loss by promoting insulin sensitivity and potentially reducing appetite.
  • Vitamin B12 Deficiency (Rare): Long-term use can slightly decrease vitamin B12 absorption. Your doctor may monitor your B12 levels and recommend supplements if needed.

Serious Side Effects (Very Rare):

  • Lactic Acidosis: A buildup of lactic acid in the blood, a potentially life-threatening condition. It’s more likely in people with severe kidney problems or certain medications. Symptoms include unusual weakness, tiredness, muscle cramps, and rapid breathing. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience these.

Additional Considerations:

  • Interaction with Other Medications: Metformin can interact with some medications, so it’s crucial to inform your doctor about all medications and supplements you take.
  • Kidney Function: Metformin is primarily eliminated through the kidneys, so your doctor will assess your kidney function before prescribing it.

Positive Effects:

  • Reduced Cardiovascular Risk: Studies suggest metformin may offer some protection against heart disease, a common complication of diabetes.
  • Potential Anti-Aging Effects: Research is ongoing, but metformin shows promise in promoting cellular health and potentially even lifespan.
  • Improved Gut Microbiome: Metformin may positively influence the composition of gut bacteria, potentially leading to better overall health.

Considerations for Different Populations:

  • Pregnant Women: Metformin is generally not recommended during pregnancy due to a lack of sufficient safety data.
  • Children: Metformin can be used in children over 10 years old with type 2 diabetes, but with close monitoring by a pediatrician.
  • People with Kidney Disease: Metformin excretion relies on healthy kidneys. If you have kidney issues, your doctor will carefully assess its safety and may adjust the dosage.

Lifestyle Optimization While Taking Metformin:

  • Diet: Metformin works best alongside a healthy diet low in processed foods and added sugars.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity further enhances insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control, complementing metformin’s effects.
  • Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight can significantly improve diabetes management, and metformin’s potential weight loss effect can be helpful.


Metformin is a powerful tool, but it’s one part of a comprehensive diabetes management strategy. A healthy lifestyle with proper diet, exercise, and potential other medications might be part of your doctor’s recommendations.

It’s important to note that this is not an exhaustive list, and everyone experiences medication differently. Be sure to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor to determine if metformin is right for you and to create a safe and effective treatment plan for your blood sugar management.

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