Metformin and Cancer III

Gretchen Becker Health Guide
  • I have two pieces of good news today.


    First, I'm not going to blog about Paula Deen, whoever she is. I wasn't particularly surprised to learn she has diabetes . . . mostly because I'd never heard of her.


    But here's the better news. More evidence that the drug metformin prevents cancer.


    Well, I know I shouldn't use the word "prevent." It's the constant barrage of news in the popular press saying this food or that supplement can "prevent" diabetes that causes many of us with diabetes to get constant criticism from our friends. Comments like "If you'd drunk more coffee you wouldn't have gotten diabetes" or "If you hadn't drunk so much coffee you wouldn't have gotten diabetes" (studies on this topic are conflicting.

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    So what I really mean is that metform reduces your risk of cancer.


    This is not actually news. And I've blogged about it before in 2009 and 2010.


    What's new this time is how metformin helps.


    It seems it lowers levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which used to be called free radicals. ROS are, as the name suggests, reactive and can damage proteins and DNA in the cell. The body uses natural antioxidants to keep ROS under control.


    But it seems that metformin isn't just another antioxidant. Instead, metformin seems to prevent the ROS from being formed in the first place.


    The researchers aren't going so far as to suggest that everyone should take metformin (which is available as a low-cost generic now) in order to reduce cancer risk.


    But it's certainly good news for those of us already taking the drug, and this includes some type 1s as well as type 2s.



Published On: January 19, 2012