Metformin is a popular diabetic drug that’s been in use for 60+ years. Researchers have long been baffled on the mechanism of action—all they know it works by lowering blood sugar levels, but the ‘how’ remained a mystery until now.
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Using the new bio-imaging apparatus PET-MRI, scientists discovered that patients on metformin had their sugar excreted in their stool. The findings were published Diabetes Care--a medical journal published by the American Diabetes Association.
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The study discusses how FDG-PET (fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography) is an imaging test that examines how much FDG (a substance similar to sugar) is collected in the body after being administered through vessels. Researchers were then able to investigate the "wall of the intestine" and the "inside of the intestine (stool and other contents)" using a special technique.
Results indicate that metformin promotes the release of the sugar from the intestine into the stool. These findings may also explain how metformin use affects intestinal flora through microbial changes.