Disturbing news (to me) about Metformin

Greetings everyone,

Recently, I was discussing hair loss associated with Metformin use in another forum. Since I could not find anything but anecdotal evidence to support this allegation, I dug deeper. In doing so, I found this most disturbing article at a PCOS site. Metformin for PCOS article. Being the skeptic that I am, and realizing that drug companies are more interested in profits while being less interested in revealing anything derogatory about their products, I read with keen interest. I approached this article with my usual skepticism, but the more I read, the more I realized (based on my own experience with Metformin) that this was pretty well researched. What caught my eye, was the part about vitamin B12 deficiency and homocysteine levels. Anyone who’s dug into this Lipitor controversy deep enough, knows that it’s not the cholesterol that kills you… it’s the elevated homocysteine levels. In this article, they allege that both vitamin B12 malabsorption and elevated homocysteine levels contribute to coronary heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and cognitive impairment. I believe this… I’ve personally experienced at least three out of those four.

Some of you know of my quest to become drug free. I wasn’t always “Mr. Peachy”. This hasn’t been an easy journey. Actually, it has been the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do in all of my 57 years. It started years ago, while battling depression and alcoholism, then diabetes, sleeplessness and fatigue, and the chronic pain of fibromyalgia. Nothing my doctor provided seemed to be helping. So, I began researching alternatives. Lo and behold (long story short) relief was only found when I embarked on a raw, natural foods based diet plan and some supplements in combination with a daily exercise regimen. All of the conditions/symptoms have improved… tremendously.

Anecdotal? You decide.

My conclusion? Be more skeptical about what the doctor prescribes. Be less skeptical about what Mother Nature provides.

This article basically summarizes what I learned (the hard way): Naturalnews.com article.

I’m interested in hearing about experiences from other Metformin users (former and current).

As you know, I stopped all my meds when I lost weight and was doing a higher percentage of raw foods. No cravings, except that I craved fruit. I started Metformin again, digestive issues, extreme carb cravings, and hair loss immediately after restarting. Plus, I’m having some pain in my shoulder which had previously going away. I wonder if the Met could be contributing to that in some convoluted way.

My goal is to get off everything. Like you said, I don’t think I lost enough weight to make a big difference in my insulin resistance so fruit effects me. As an experiment I ate a banana last night. Usually I just eat fruit during times my blood sugars normal run low, in the afternoon. I had eaten a salad at lunch and nothing for dinner. I woke up with my blood sugar almost 300. :frowning: So I still need the friggin stuff lol, well, if I want to eat fruit that is. I have been avoiding fats the past couple days too. Some people on the 80/10/10 diet said that would help, but so far I don’t see a difference. I think I just need to lose more weight first. Hard when the Metformin gives me carb cravings lol. I’ve talked about it a little on my blog. http://www.bjaysblog.blogspot.com

Dear Mr. Peachy.

Thanks for the article on metformin. I am one of the people that fall apart after 3 weeks on the s==t.

Dear Bjay.

You should go on insulin for a while, your blood sugar is way too high and this will kill your pancreas totally. You need to bring your BG closer to the normal range. then you can try whatever.

Hey thanks for the update ,I to like many others that use metformin.I also just got more crapy news today a1c at 9.0 up from 8.2 my doc was not happy and has believe it or not put me on more meds???

Well thanks and be good I have to.


A1c of 9 is bad news. You have to do something fast.

I hope the “more meds” don’t include sulfonylurea drugs, you might as well stop all orals and go right to insulin, in that case (my opinion). I would welcome input from previous sulfonylurea users (Glimepiride; Glipizide; Glyburide; Amaryl; Glucotrol, etc.) as to how they faired on them. The news I’ve been reading isn’t good.

Dear Mr. Peachy.

The sulphonylureas are way worst than metformin. They force your damaged pancreas to produce more insulin and the logic of that is monstrous. They give you no control. My brother was on them and had gangrened feet because of poor control. The only good news I heard was an old lady a very mild diabetic that took a very small dosage per day to bring her BG into the normal range at all times. this case is probably indentical to all people over 80 since the pancreas does quite somewaht as you age.

When I developped full fledged diabetes. I lost 85 lb with diet and exercise. I was not able to get my BG into the normal range. Metformin did not help. Sulphonyl ureas were very harmful as they would make you very hungry because of the mismatch they cause between the insulin needs and the insulin supply. This is also somewhat true of insulin but at least there you have quite a bit of control as to the type, dosage and when to inject or programmable pump even better.

I firmly believe and the evidence is now comming that had I been allow a slight amount of external insulin at the time my pancreas would not have died completely. This would have made my diabetes a difficult but controllable disease instead of my worst nightmare.

Again the insulin at the early stage of diabtes should be considered as a supplement to diet and exercise not a license to go eat a supersized burger, fries and regular pop.

Your have very good reasons to be concerned.

I am usually in the normal range. I’m eating raw foods and have been avoiding fruit. I started metformin in order to eat fruit, but even then I can only eat small amounts.

Recently some other diabetic raw foodies had told me the fruit shouldn’t effect me. So I experimented with a banana before bed lol. No good. I probably need to lose more weight before I can eat more fruit. Nice goal - lose weight so I can eat fruit! :slight_smile:

Try apple instead of banana a lot less sugar and starch in apples. Nothing wrong with weight loss. the more the better.

Hi Bjay,

Avocados are almost the same as bananas in terms of essential nutrients. Yes, they’re high in calories, but they require practically no insulin to utilize those calories. Almonds are a good one also. The key to lowering insulin resistance is twofold. Number one, of course, is exercise/weightloss, but many folks seem to miss out on certain essential nutrients in their quest to lower carb intake. The Standard American Diet (SAD, for short) is woefully lacking in many things, like potassium. Did you know that you require between 2,000 and 4,000 mg of potassium per day? I didn’t until fall of 2007. I know you’ve been on a pretty healthy diet, but you might benefit from learning what foods are high in potassium, calcium, vitamin D, B12, and the like while being low in insulin requiring calories. Getting off Metformin was the single best thing I’ve done for myself. Fruits were an integral part of that. If your spikes aren’t going over two hundred, then a banana might be doing more good than bad. If you are going over, then try mixing in some avocado and almonds instead of bananas. Just be sure to burn all excess calories. In other words, anything over, say, 1500 (total) Calories a day, should be offset by moderate exercise. Apples are fine, but they don’t pack nearly as many nutrients per calorie as bananas and avocados. Get familiar with the various fruits nuts, and vegetables by visiting nutritiondata.com and be sure to use their nutrient search tool. It’s pretty handy for sorting out what’s high in what, while low in this or that, and in what food group.

Rather than go for the quick weight loss, try baby steps. Eating healthy and losing weight incrementally and naturally is quite a bit more effective toward lowering insulin resistance than a super low carb diet and quick weight loss.

You might want to look into some supplements as I have. There are quite a few listed in that naturalnews.com article (above). I can’t pin my success down to any one thing that has helped me more than another in my quest (except exercise/weightloss), so while I’m not saying the supplements are a panacea, I can say that something’s working awfully well. Might just be all of the above.


Try berries, they’re much lower in carbs. That’s the one fruit I eat now, well, the 2 or 3 kinds of fruit, as I eat one handful a day of berries in my morning yogurt: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or whatever looks good at the store.

Thanks so much for this article. I’ve read it and re-read it about 10 times. I am currently on Metforim, 500mg, 2x a day. It took me about 3 months to adjust to this medication. I’ve been losing weight and still have a long way to go, but this article has given me lots of incentive so that I can possibly get off the Metforim and control this with diet and exercise.

Hi Teresa,

It’s a worthy goal you have there. I was on the same dosage and watching my numbers slowly worsen. It wasn’t until I jumped on the raw, natural foods based diet that I saw significant improvement. Remember, insulin resistance is only partially weight related, it’s equally a diet related issue. The fewer refined carb calories, and the more natural carb calories, with all of their vital nutrients, the better. Of course, daily exercise is a pretty darned important ingredient as well. Good luck in your endeavors. I’m pretty confident that you can do it. I’m a pretty good procrastinator, but once I put my priorities in their proper order, getting off the Metformin was not that big of a problem.


Dear Teresa.

That is great that you are loosing weight. Keep up the metformin and whatever else you are doing. Make sure that you can get your blood sugars normal . If not a bit of maintance insulin would be great if not your pancreas can die and then you will need a lot of insulin which with insulin resistance will be a disaster.

I am presently using the least possible amount of insulin still a super lot at 60 IU per day and eating very little to loose weight and keep the BG below 160. Otherwise if I eat normally and inject more and more insulin I will end up at 500 lb or dead whichever comes first.

Insulin is great for diabetics that dont quite produce enough but a very great danger if your are resistant that your weight will balloon.

When I first got diabetes I lost 85 lb and was down to my high school weight. I was in high school in the days of the dinosaurs and obesity in teenagers did not exist then in america. Like Mr. Peachy metformin did not do any good, and may have poisoned the liver so it was not a viable short term option. The only thing I could do is a starvation diet to get the BG under some control. I never succeeded in getting the BG perfectly normal because my pancreas was damaged. A little insulin after the massive weight loss would have done marvels to keep my pancreas alive. But it is clear that it is not the way to go before the weight loss as it will cause you to balloon. And this is not just me but a few others on this site.

Thanks for the info. Let me see if I understand, I should continue what I’m doing to get my blood sugars normal. After I lose the weight, if I can’t keep my sugars normal with diet, exercise and metforim, then I should look to the insulin to keep my pancreas alive. Is this correct? Thanks again

Thanks for the information. I can be a pretty good procrastinator too but have convinced myself that I must do this while I still have options. My late father was a type2 and didn’t get serious until he had no options, just a lot of complications.

Dear Teresa.

Absolutely correct.

Same with my mother. Unfortunately, the options then weren’t as plentiful as they are now… now that we have the Internet.

Now, if only we could convey this to my older brother who’s on 10 meds including insulin.

I’m on amryl and metformin now and no issues taht i’m aware of and my A1c has been 6.5-6.7 for the last couple years. guess I’m the lucky one