If the findings of a new research are anything to go by, metformin, the decades-old diabetes drug may be efficacious in some other medical conditions as well.
The research, even though at an early stage, establishes that metformin can thwart cancer and reduce heart related diseases. There are indications that the drug may also be able to curtail the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s.
Metformin purportedly expanded life longevity in mice. The reported increase in the life span of the animal is a few weeks; the human equivalent of close to 4 years.
While the study researchers say that it is too early in the day to start celebrating, the findings are indicative of the fact that the day is not too far when popping a pill would solve many medical problems and would enhance the quality of life.
“It’s clear that we are edging toward developing a pharmaceutical intervention that is going to be able to delay or postpone aging. For how much and how long I have no idea,” said Rafael de Cabo, a biogerontologist at the National Institute of Aging and lead author of the study.
Metformin affects the pathway that numerous medical conditions like cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes as well age related diseases take.
Wait and Watch
While the findings are encouraging, people should not throw caution to the wind and start consuming metformin for other medical conditions. At this point of time restraint is needed and a wait and watch policy has to be adopted till researchers reach conclusive evidence.
“There’s a huge secret to (combating) aging right now. That’s eat right and exercise,” said Brian Kennedy, CEO of The Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California.
Cabo warned that mice are a good model to look at, these animals live in a completely controlled life inside a cage and that in some cases they do not respond in exactly the same ways as humans do.
The findings of the study find mention in Nature Communications.