This blog tracks updates to the Blood Sugar 101 Web site.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Metformin Fights Heart Disease by Improving Endothelial Function

Page changed: Metformin

Added section discussing the latest studies documenting Metformin's ability to prevent heart disease by improving endothelial function.

This idea has been floating around for years, though there wasn't definitive proof of it. A relatively small study published in March 2009 supports the idea.

Long-term Effects of Metformin on Metabolism and Microvascular and Macrovascular Disease in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Kooy et all. Archives of Internal Medicine, 169 (6), 616-625 DOI: 19307526

A presentation at the 2009 European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) described research which may point to why metformin is so effective.

You can read about it here:

Diabetes in Control: Metformin Improves Endothelial Function in Type 2 Diabetes

This study examined a series of factors associated with endothelial function--i.e. the function of the linings of the blood vessels. It demonstrated significant improvements in the 196 patients who took metformin over a period of up to 4.3 years.

Compared to those on placebo plus insulin those on metformin experienced highly significant drops in plasma levels of von Willebrand factor (vWf), soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) antigen, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), C-reactive protein (CRP), and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1).

The drop in C-Reactive Protein--a measure strongly linked to the risk of inflammation-related heart attack was 17%.

Since all the other oral drugs prescribed for diabetes have either been linked to increased heart attacks (sulfonylureas) or produce heart failure (Avandia and Actos) this data should reinforce the idea that metformin is the safest of the oral diabetic drugs and the one most likely to improve health outcomes long term.

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