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Questions about Metformin for those in the know :)

Discussion in 'The New Monster Thread' started by nuttmegs17, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member


    I posted this before the forum switched over, then it appeared it was lost and I was unable to log-in to boot. Thankfully, the IT folks seem to have fixed my problem :) (thanks!)

    Quick Background - have hashis' and celiac...am on a combo of amrour and cytomel (T3) and a small dose of hydorcortisone (12.5mg....slowly attempting to wean off). 30 years old, female. Eat epi-paleo for the most part - dark chocolate and the occsaional glass of wine sometimes appears. I walk about an hour 6 days a week, sometimes ride a bike, or do some sprints. I mix it up. sleep is excellent.

    Looking back at my labs over the year, I can see that I used to have a healthy Fasting Blood Gluclose reading. Generally in the 70s. Even as I ate a "healthy" SAD diet (think turkey sandwiches with a salad and perhaps a cookie for lunch, cereal or greek yogurt with granola for breakfast, etc, salmon with veggie pasta for dinner...oy). Then around the time Hashis kicked in and I began treatment, I noticed my FBG going up as I added thyroid meds - namely T3 to the mix and again with HC but as I knew this was a sometimes reported side-affect (affected BG), I blew it off. thinking since it wasnt food/lifestyle related it didnt "count" ? Anytime it was brought up - including recently by Colleen and Gretchen who were helping me evaluate Dzugan labs- I immediately went to "oh thats just bc of my meds" and disregarded it. However, considering that I dont expect to ever be able to get off of T3 (have been trying unsuccessfuly to lower my dose....hopefully it will be a different story for HC), I am getting a bit worried about my consistently high BG readings. I am heading into pre-diabetic territory which is frightening.

    I am now monitoring BG with readings at home - not always accurate I know, and they are always out of optimal territory sometimes into pre-diabetic territory. This is with me eating nothing but shrimp and veggies.

    I have started to research metformin. Seems to be used by diabetics and those with PCOS. I have never been diagnosed with PCOS. I dont have cycts on my overaries, acne, high DHEA and testosterone, etc. The only "sypmtons" that fit are stubborn weightloss and irregular periods (light, and far between - sometimes up to 48 days between menses). However, if you were to simply define PCOS by "hormonal havec" then , yes, I suppose i have it...

    Is metformin something that I should consider? I plan on bringing this up with my doc (will see him end of Feb) so I am hoping to get some feedback. I hear the side affects can be bad at first - GI upsets mostly - but it seems the Extended release version helps that, and generally sides affects go away within a month. The pros seems to outweight the cons from what I am researching although, I would need to ensure I supp with B-12. Is there anything I am missing?

    Can metformin cause any biological damage that I have yet to uncover? I'd like to avoid unintended consequenses...

    Does metformin LOWER T? As mine is already on the lower-normal side, I need to consider that as well. Or does it simply REGULATE hormones so if you are low, you get more normal and if you are high, it brings it down? I know some stories are out there where metformin helped people get pregnant and regulate periods. both things I am interested in as I want to start a family soon (think wihtin the next 3 years)

    I guess I want to ensure I lower BG as it seems there is nothing I can do on the diet/lifestyle side. The consistently high BG in my system cannot be helping my other hormones and my body in general.

    I know cycloset is big here now, but I know my Dr hasnt heard of it and I dont feel like I will be able to get proper feedback on how to dose etc unless I'm working with a Dr that knows it better than I do. Therefore, I dont think its an option for me at this time. I think it looks super promising and I do trust DR K's recommendations, but as it hasnt been around as long as metformin, I am more hesitant to try it for now.

    Any feedback would be welcome. Thanks!
  2. Shijin13

    Shijin13 Guest

    I went w/cycloset first, b/c we were looking to do two things: 1) impact my circadian cycle, by increasing am dopamine & 2) bring my HbA1C down and control my AM Fasting Blood Glucose. Cycloset is a dose specific and starts at .8mg - and you work your way up to the highest does you can tolerate. One of the side effect of it is nausea and upset stomach - the way to combat this is change your BAB to be more fat driven. Seafood and pork have become my go-to foods in the am along w/bullet proof coffee. I was able to increase the cycloset upto 4 pills in the am w/o much problem - 5 = nausea and blah feeling. I'm trying 5 again b/c I need the AM dopamine boost - so I'll take the feeling yucky for increasing dopamine. Cycloset also increases IGF-1 and will help bring TNF levels down as well - both good thing

    My PCP isn't a fan of using Metformin b/c of the side effects it can have in some people. but after increasing the cycloset w/out seeing a major change - we added the metformin. We started out w/500mg - but didn't seen much of a change - I did an n=1 experiment and found that taking 1000 mg of metformin at night w/dinner = lower am fbg for me (as long as I sleep well); one of the side effects of metformin in some ppl it can be an appetite suppressant The other good thing about Metformin - is it helps control leakiness at cytochrome 1 in the mitochondria which is one of the biggest things that causes aging, and disease. Metformin is also used as a cancer preventative - again b/c it helps control leakiness at cytochronme 1

    Jack posted a link JAMA study on EMF and FBG levels in the following thread http://jackkruse.com/forum/showthread.php?5642-Explain-to-me-how-EMF-effects-glucose-metabolism and two presentations from AHS 2012; which are really good.

    btw - sent you an email on this as well....
  3. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    Thankyou - your email was a gem :) I have it saved to reference when I speak to my Doc.

    Curious if anyone has experience using Met for the better? The worse?

    Robb Wolf wrote an interesting PRO metformin article
    it surprised me bc normally he is so "anti-meds"
  4. diane

    diane Gold

    Great questions nuttmegs! I have an appointment with my doctor this week, and Metformin came up the last time I was there. I went with printouts and information - and she was on board so I didn't have to pull anything out. :) She uses it, as you said, not only for blood glucose but for regulating cycles. My cycle got wacky in September and has been that way ever since. Plus my BG is fairly high. She wanted to check that I don't have kidney issues, then she is going to prescribe. I also just started bio-identical thyroid a few days ago, so I'm interested to see how this will all play out. Will share my experience as well!
  5. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    Thanks - please report back! Can I ask what was prescribed? Extended release? 500 3xday? Curious. :)
  6. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    wait - just re-read...sounds like she is ABOUT to prescribe. Good luck. I hear it can cause tummy upset but there are certain things you can eat ot offset it. I also hear that it subsides within 2 weeks or so.
  7. I do metformin - I don't have BS issues, but I like it because it doesn't seem to have many downsides - and it's a great appetite/cravings regulator if that is broken in you.

    I was prescribed 500 1X a day, I self dose now alternating 2X a day/3X a day of the 500.

    I haven't noticed any downsides. It's helped me get into the habit of daily IFing, but I have very particular issues due to the bypass.
  8. KiwiLauren

    KiwiLauren Gold

    I was prescribed metformin several months ago. I had the side effects (after about a month) of loose bowels. Then Thor (I think) posted that link to the evidence that shows it can drive down B12 as since there is no way I'm interested in that, I've stopped. But I suppose this aligns with my general suspicion about pharmaceuticals anyway. When I did a literature review on the efficacy of metformin vs berberine (which is the natural compound it's modelled on), all the evidence I found showed that berberine was as effective with BG issues and more effective in other areas (iron being one, if memory serves). The other issue I have with metformin is no one could tell me how one would use it short-term, even my doc who thought it was a good idea to take it - in other words, you only get the good effect when you keep taking it - though clearly someone may present an n-1 here that proves that wrong. I have switched to berberine without any side effects.
  9. Destiny

    Destiny New Member

    Nuttmeng, I started taking metformin at the end of August after the consult with Dr.K. First, I started with 500 once a day. Then, I went to 500 twice a day. I had some running issues for a while so I switched back to 500 a day. Then, I increased it again to twice a day and was fine. I also started taking Cytomel last August.

    First, it did not have a much of impact on my FBG (I just learned that according to my 23andme I have a slightly lower odds of positive metformin response). This has changed though, when I went on a keto diet in October. I was finally in my 70's. I did not observed decreased appetite. I actually felt that it has increased my appetite but not in a huge way.
  10. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    Interesting. I hear being keto while on it is most ideal. I'm glad it finally helped. Whether I am strictly keto or not seems to not impact my BG readings at this point. I'd be willing to give combining keto + metformin a try. Gretchson said she had more success when she finally pushed the med up some as well.

    i think the more I read the more I think, its worth a try. I put an update into Dzugan to see about metformin from their perspective. Curious what their recommendation is. THey didnt reallypoint out the higher than normal FBG (it was 99 at that test).

    Kiwi- the berbarine thing is facinating. while I am generally not big into Pharm meds myself. Metformin strikes me as being somewhat more trustworthy as its been around forever (Was used overseas quite often since the 50s, well before the boom of pushy sales reps). THeres seems to be a lot of data to back up side affects and potential benefits. I havent seen as many studies on berbarine so I'm unsure of potential/unforseen side affects with that. I'm super happy it is working for you! Keep us posted. I will look to that if metformin is out or intolerable for me.

    I was using cinnamin to supplement but it hasnt seemed to help impact FBG in an effective way. Will still continue to use however.
  11. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    forgot to mention that i supp with B-12 and will def keep an eye on that if I proceed with Metformin. Something to keep in mind for anyone to consider it esp if they tend to have B-12 issues
  12. KiwiLauren

    KiwiLauren Gold

    What I want to know, Nuttmegs, is why it would drive down B12. That's concerning. Is it person-specific (a particular context that would do this?) or drug-related?
  13. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    Its a great questions - WHY does it cause b-12 malabsoprtion? I havent been able to figure it out.
  14. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    Intersting, I updated my Dzugan profile to inquire about Metformin. They responded that 99 FBG is nothing to worry about that they very rarely ever see anything below 90. That seems really high?! I thought optimal blood gluclose leves were less than than 90?

    Also thought it was an interetsing response that beause they dont typically see anything below 90 it means thats ok when I would expect the majority of their patients to be a bit broken and therefore not a good indicator of ideal health. I dont want just ok or trending upward. IN fact when I test at home it frequently shows over 100 as my fasting blood glucose.

    This is on a diet of fish and veggies.

    the only time it seems to lower closer to optimal is when I go 7 hours between lunch and dinner and come back from a hike.
  15. Shijin13

    Shijin13 Guest

    In my consult w/Dzugan yesterday - he railed against my pcp for the metformin and cycloset. the funny thing he said it decreased prolactin levels - yet my n=1 my prolactin levels have come up since being on it...and I'm seeing improvement using the metformin.

    I've come to the conclusion Dzugan may be good at working the hormones, he's not upto date on current labs and new use of older drugs...
    for thyroid he likes ONLY: TSH, Total T4 and Total T3. He told me there's no value in free T3, Free T4, or rT3. my pcp just laughed at that...I'm not sure she's going to be willing to run those thyroid labs...
  16. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    Interesting! Its good to know what to go to Dzugan for and what NOT to go to Dzugan for. I noticed they were a bit weird about my thyroid stuff too which is why I am keeping my current Doc for that. I will approach my current Doc about about Metformin as well. Just waiting for an earlier opening. I dont want to have to wait until the end of Feb.

    I put in another update about FBG and what "optimal" should be. but based on your experience I am not hopeful. I said I'd like to give it a shot considering I eat primarily fish and veggies and walk every day so there really isnt much on the lifestyle I can change to get my FBG. If it doesnt work, then it doesnt work and I'll stop it. If i have adverse reactions, I'll stop it.

    Although, who knows, Gretchen - maybe you've laid the ground work and now it wont take so much convincing? I can totally see him looking into it further after a convo with you.

    Anna - great reference. I LOVE those articles. Gretchen pointed out that dont give a full picture, but they are a great resource. I have used his part 3 versoin in that series to help me track my BG. I actually purchased the same glucose monitor he recommends bc the test stips are so cheap.
  17. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    Thats a great obersvation and one I'm sure peoeple dont think about. I def noticed a coorrelation with more thyroid meds and blood sugar. Unfortunately, I dont seem to be able to due without them - necessary evil to remain functional. My body no longer produces them on their own. When I added cytomel, I simultaneously felt better (awake, and could perform my job, get out of bed, etc) and increased fasting glucose levels (boo). When I added HC it affected it as well...fingers crossed I can slowly taper off my 12.5 HC mg dose (which is small to being wth).

    Hoping Metformin would help offset this. I do worry about more unintended consequences. However, I think I am more afraid of going with my Blood sugar unchecked...

    Yep, it turns out ANYTHING can increase blood sugar. Some people can tolerate carbs, others cant, some people see a spike after eating a steak, some dont. Those glucose monitors are intersting. I'm curous to see how other foods affect me.
  18. Shijin13

    Shijin13 Guest

    excellent point... my pcp and I are testing every 4-6 wks... and adjusting from there...
  19. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    that is the dream! I would love for my thyroid to heal and become less dependant on meds. i have heard - as recently as on this board! - of people suddenly not producing antibodies which then means they dont really have hashi's anymore. I'D LOVE to go into remission.

    Someday...until then I basically just get thyroid labs every 6 weeks or so and adjust accordingly.
  20. nuttmegs17

    nuttmegs17 New Member

    Keep in mind that your body might be downregulating thyroid hormone while you are on them. SO if you lower doses for instance, you want to give it a couple of weeks (maybe expecting to feel bad in the meantime) to give your body the chance to upregulate again.

    Have to give all those hormones a chance to talk and adjust to each other I've found.

    Unfortunatly, mine didnt respond so i had to add the pills back in....was so hoping to get to lower my dose. Oh well.

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