OCT 22, 2019 10:08 PM PDT

Metformin Offers No Muscle Mass Gain for Older Adults

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A clinical trial initiated by Researchers at the University of Kentucky began a clinical study to address the long-held hypothesis that metformin, the diabetes drug, can help physical active seniors to gain muscle mass. The findings of the double-blind trial indicated that older adults who took metformin while had smaller gains of muscle mass than the placebo group. Results were published in the journal Aging Cell.

Learn more about metformin:

"Because metformin has anti-inflammatory properties, we thought it would be a logical candidate to study," said Charlotte Peterson, Ph.D., professor in the UK College of Health Sciences and director of the Center for Muscle Biology.

Although studies show that progressive resistance exercises can help older adults build muscle mass, this is highly dependent the presence of chronic inflammation.

"In older adults (age 65 and up) who have lost significant muscle mass and function over prior decades, we thought metformin might combat muscle inflammation and thereby boost the muscle regrowth response to resistance training," said Marcas Bamman, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology and director of the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine. "Instead, metformin impaired blunted the adaptations such that the placebo group experienced greater increases in muscle mass and muscle quality than the metformin group."

About half of the clinical study participants took 1700 mg of metformin every day, while the other half took a placebo. In two groups, they completed 14 weeks of resistance training and underwent thigh CT scans, DXA measurement, and a muscle biopsy.

"DXA and CT scans showed that the placebo group had greater gains in overall lean muscle mass and thigh muscle mass," said Peterson. "CT scans and analysis of the biopsy also allowed us to determine that the quality of the muscle improved in the control group over the metformin group."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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