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How was Metformin Discovered?

According to the World Health Organization, the number of individuals who have diabetes rose from 108 million to 422 million in the past 50 years. The disease is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and amputation. Although a healthy lifestyle can help maintain a normal blood sugar level, diabetes can be treated with medication. But did you know how it was discovered?

Metformin, an anti-diabetic medication, is derived from French Lilacs. During medical times, these plants were used to treat the symptoms of diabetes even before the disease got its name.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-lasting health condition that alters the way your body processes the food you eat.

The food you eat is broken down into smaller molecules for it to be absorbed by your body. The food you eat is broken down into glucose which is consumed for energy. Glucose is then released into the bloodstream. When there is glucose in your blood, your body signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin helps your body and cells utilize glucose as energy.

When you have diabetes, either your body no longer makes insulin or can’t use the insulin as well as it should. Over time, the lack of insulin and the oversupply of blood sugar can lead to more pressing health issues like kidney disease, heart disease, vascular problems, and vision loss.

As of this time, there is no exact cure for diabetes. But by losing weight, eating healthy, and keeping active, you can help regulate the blood sugar in your body.

Depending on how critical your diabetes is, medication, monitoring, and proper management are needed. (Source: CDC)

How Many Types of Diabetes Are There?

There are three main types of Diabetes; Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune reaction that prevents your body from making insulin. This type is usually diagnosed in children. With this type of diabetes, you would need to take insulin every day. There is no preventive measure for Type 1 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus is seen in 90% to 95% of people with diabetes. This is the type where your body does not use insulin as well as it should. Your body is unable to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. It is often characterized by the Three P’s: Polydipsia, Polyuria, and Polyphagia – excessive thirst, urination, and appetite, respectively.

This type is commonly seen in adults and can easily be prevented with lifestyle changes, especially if you are predisposed to the condition.

While anyone, regardless of body type, can get Type 2 Diabetes, a question remains; are all people with type 2 diabetes also obese?

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in women during pregnancy. When you have this type of diabetes, your baby is at risk for health problems. While this type goes away after giving birth, you and your child have a higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes in the future. (Source: CDC)

The History of Metformin

Today, metformin is the number one anti-hyperglycemic agent used to treat non-insulin-dependent diabetics. But did you know how it was developed?

The discovery of this drug dates back to the pioneers working with the extract of Galega officinalis or French Lilacs. They were able to figure out the plants’ ability to lower the amount of blood sugar.

The active agent, galegine, is what helps lower blood glucose. By 1927, Muller and Reinwein experimented by self-administering 109mg of galegine sulfate within 25-hour intervals. As they saw positive results, they expanded their study to healthy individuals and eventually patients with diabetes. (Source: News Medical)

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