A recent study finds that metformin positively affects glucose homeostasis, the balance of insulin and glucagon to maintain blood glucose – during exercise.
Metformin is widely used to treat type 2 diabetes, with researchers at the University of Copenhage, Denmark, evaluating type 2 diabetes patients taking metformin, and those not taking metformin, to determine the role of the drug on blood sugar levels during exercise.
Metformin study
The participants were also compared to a control group during the study, who had lower baseline plasma glucose concentrations than those with type 2 diabetes.
During exercise, these concentrations remained higher, and there was no difference in absolute glucose concentrations between the two diabetes groups.
When compared to the control group, the participants with diabetes had lower glucose concentration during and after exercise. Those on metformin, however, experienced a smaller reduction of blood sugar levels.
Participants in the metformin group experienced the same exercise-induced increases in metabolic clearance rates – the volume of biological fluid cleared of drug metabolites – as controls, but these increases were higher than those not taking metformin.
Blood sugar levels
As a result, the participants taking metformin did not experience the rise in blood sugar levels following exercise compared to those with type 2 diabetes, not on metformin.
“The baseline improvement of [homeostasis model assessment] insulin resistance indicated that metformin induced an increase in hepatic insulin sensitivity,” the researchers wrote.
“In summary, we conclude that metformin and exercise can be taken in combination in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

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