Life has been moving forward in full speed with lots of projects in the mix and barely enough time to think. But alas, I’ve finally taken a moment to come back to my little space on the world wide web to bring you some more wise words from my dad, also known as El Padre.
For all of you that don’t know, El Padre is a doctor who originally specialized in Nuclear Medicine. Fear not, this does not mean that he spent his time nuking his patients. His time was mostly spent reading scans and speaking very large medical words into a dictaphone. (Period. Coma. Inside joke.) In the last decade and a half, give or take a few years, El Padre has been walking a new medical path (one that doesn’t call for dictaphones.) He has spent his undivided expert time and attention on learning the mysteries and intricacies of the alternative medicine world, more specifically worlds including bio-identical growth hormones and healthy metabolic functions for optimal wellness and longevity. (Okay, he still uses the the big words.)
Just recently, El Padre has become fully inspired by a huge…yet physically quite small…revolutionary medical advancement. This advancement is called Metformin. As it turns out, this little pill has enormous effects on our bodies. Here’s a thought directly from El Padre on this subject:
“There is a lot of talk about Metformin. The founder of the Life Extension Foundation, Mr. Willliam Faloon, recently released information regarding the types of things he does to fight aging and prevent diseases such as cancer and diabetes. He mentioned a variety of lab tests he religiously undergoes every year, natural supplements he takes regularly, and a calorie restristed diet he follows. At 67 he says he is healthier than at age 30! In addition, he indicated that he takes Metformin every day, convinced that its wonder-like properties are for real…”
The Wonder Pill: Fighting Obesity, Diabetes, Cancer, and Aging
Frank Vieras, M.D.
There has been a recent flurry of activity in the media regarding a generic drug, originally designed as an anti-diabetes treatment, which has emerged as a true wonder drug. Here, I present a summary of the salient points about the profound health-enhancing benefits of the drug known as metformin. Folks, I don’t usually endorse the use of synthetic drugs, generally favoring the use of available natural alternatives. However, occasionally a phenomenon like this appears in the health horizon and it would be irresponsible not to pay attention to it. Last year I endorsed the daily use of baby aspirin for cancer prevention, in addition to its known preventive role in cardiovascular disease. This year, I am backing-up the daily use of metformin.
Metformin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994 for use in the United States as a treatment for type-2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes). Soon after its approval, metformin became the most widely prescribed drug for diabetes. To this date, it is still a strong pillar in the therapeutic armamentarium against the disease.
Curiously, for those of us interested in natural health alternatives, the generic drug known as metformin has a long history as a botanical compound used in folk medicine for hundreds of years. It was originally derived from the French lilac.
Within about fifteen years after FDA approval, large epidemiological studies have convincingly demonstrated that a “wonder” drug had been born. These studies showed that patients taking metformin for diabetes had a substantially decreased incidence of a wide variety of cancer types. This is a remarkable observation since patients with diabetes and/or obesity have been known to have an increased risk of cancer. It appeared that metformin exerted its health-enhancing effect via mechanisms which tie high blood glucose (sugar) levels and a host of disease states. By controlling blood sugar levels, metformin was observed to be a safe and easily available tool in the struggle to:
- Lose weight
- Control diabetes
- Fight cancer
- Increase longevity
This was a medical breakthrough.
Actions and Mechanisms
The actions and mechanisms by which metformin exerts its effects appear to be similar in all the situations mentioned and both in diabetics and non-diabetics alike. These include:
- Appetite suppression at the level of the central nervous system.
- Improvement in glycemic control: aid in the control of fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
- Reduction of insulin resistance: a major step forward in the fight against diabetes. Reducing insulin resistance comprises a center piece in the fight against, and prevention of, diabetes.
- Significant reduction in body weight and BMI (body mass index) in diabetic and non-diabetic adults.
- Significant reduction in body weight and BMI in non-diabetic adolescents.
- Inhibition of “aromatase”: an enzyme which converts fat, testosterone, and other androgens (male hormones) into estrogens, creating a vicious cycle of increasing levels of estrogens and fat deposition.
- Mimicking calorie restriction: one of the best documented ways to improve longevity and attain a healthy body weight. The anti-aging effects of calorie restriction have been extensively documented in laboratory animals, and data regarding these effects in humans have gradually begun to emerge.
- Inhibition of a biochemical complex known as mTOR: accelerates aging and has been linked to cancer development.
- Activation of a biochemical complex known as AMP kinase, which possess properties similar to the fat-burning hormone adinopectin. These properties include: (a) facilitation of the breakdown of fats through a process called lipolysis and (b) enhancement of cancer cell decay and/or death early in their development.
- Inhibition of gluconeogenesis (formation of new glucose from fats and proteins).
Part Two: coming soon