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Off label use for metformin including longevity: Frequently Asked Questions

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Metformin - Longevity FAQ
The Type II Diabetes drug Metformin is being touted as a possible longevity enhancing drug

After extensively researching the longevity chapter in our book Super You: How Technology is Revolutionizing What it Means to Be Human, (written with my wife Kay Walker and longtime collaborator Sean Carruthers) I came upon a low cost type II diabetes drug which I discovered enhances longevity. What follows is a guide to off label use for Metformin for life extension or longevity enhancement.

Metformin is a pharmaceutical drug used to treat type II diabetes, however in a series of studies it has been shown to improve longevity. And while the FDA has not yet approved its use as a therapeutic drug for longevity, it could actually happen.

In the meantime, I decided to find a pro-active doctor that would prescribe it for me for off-label use. I also reach out to Dr Nir Barzilai, who has been one of the lead researchers on exploring metformin’s  longevity enhancing properties.

Doctors have been increasingly willing to prescribe Metformin as a longevity supplement because the evidence that it works to extend human life is started to look extremely promising.

Who do you know who is taking Metformin as a longevity supplement?

Me, Andy Walker, the author of this FAQ, and the co-author of the book Super You

What are Metformin’s side effects?

There are not many, however, the common ones are: Dizziness and diarrhea. However you could experience nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, weakness, or a metallic taste in the mouth.

I heard the diarrhea can be an issue?

Yes for some people it really is all about staying close to the toilet. If you read my Metformin Longevity Cheatsheet you’ll see how I overcame that one particularly nasty obstacle, but not everyone finds a solution. I did though.

Did you suffer any side effects from Metformin?

Yes. As above. Details see my Metformin Longevity Cheatsheet.

I am considering using off label use of Metformin as an anti-aging supplement . Can you provide any advice?

Not medical advice, but I share my experience in my Metformin Longevity Cheatsheet.

What else can you tell me about Metformin?

Metformin belongs to a class of drugs that are known as biguanides. It helps control blood sugar by reducing glucose (sugar) absorbed from food, as well as glucose levels produced by the liver. Metformin also boosts the body’s natural response to insulin.

How does Metformin work?

Human cells get energy from mitochondria, which are the cellular “powerhouses” that trigger small electric currents. This process creates highly reactive oxygen molecules and they can be harmful, damaging proteins and DNA. They also interfere with cell functioning. However, in small amounts, these molecules can be beneficial and have a positive long-term effect on the cell. Metformin increases the number of these harmful oxygen molecules ever so slightly. Researchers say this makes the cells stronger. It also extends a cell’s healthy lifespan.

If Metformin creates oxidation in the cells then does that mean that antioxidants are bad for you?

Yes, possibly. At least as anti-aging effects go when combined with Metformin. Antioxidants may counteract Metformin’s anti-aging effects. The handful of harmful molecules needed to be present in cells for the drug to work are reduced.

Where can I buy the drug? I am planning off label use of Metformin.

Metformin is not for sale without a prescription at your local pharmacy. However, I have seen it for sale on the web without a prescription, however I have not personally purchased any this way. If you do, it’s at your own risk.

How much does Metformin cost?

It runs about US$0.18 per 500 mg pill. Some pharmacies offer it for free in the U.S. with a prescription. (If you know the cost in Canada, Australia or the UK, (let me know)

What else is Metformin used for?

While drug companies cannot market it for these uses, it appears to reduce risk of cancer, diabetes, vascular occlusion, and obesity. Some women use Metformin off-label for polycystic ovary syndrome.

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