Studies Show Metformin & Exercise is Healthier to Combat Aging
A recent 2020 study demonstrates exercising plus Metformin is healthier from an aging perspective than exercising alone
A follow up to 2019 study concluded that exercise was more effective with Metformin than without
The same study concluded Metformin users gained the same strength as non-Metformin users
The 2020 follow-up study also concluded use of Metformin with exercise may result in less muscle mass gains
Exercise & Metformin - Conclusions from 2019 & 2020 Studies
In 2019, an initial study comparing exercise and Metformin use raised a lot of questions about Metfomin’s impact on exercise. In October, Aging, one of the most prestigious scientific journals, published a recent 2020 study that concluded exercising and taking Metformin is healthier than exercising and not taking Metformin from an aging perspective.
The earlier 2019 study compared two groups of people. One group exercised and took Metformin, whereas the other group exercised and did not take Metformin. The study concluded that the group that exercised and took Metformin built less muscle mass than the group without Metformin. The 2020 follow-up study revealed similar conclusions.
In short, the combined studies suggest that, if you take Metformin, you will still build muscle, but not as much as if you didn’t take Metformin. If you are working towards a specific muscle building goal you might consider skipping Metformin during that training as muscle gains may seem smaller or less dramatic.
Impacts of Metformin on Strength & Muscle Mass
The 2019 study noted that strength gain was pretty similar among both groups, concluding: "... increases in strength tended to be lower with metformin, but differences were not statistically significant (Table 2). Relative strength (knee extension kg/bilateral thigh muscle mass kg) gains following PRT were similar in both groups..."
One way to think about the above statement is like this: Each gram of muscle was more efficient with Metformin than without because participants had the same strength but with less muscle mass/bulk.
Metformin Benefits Extend Well-Beyond Skeletal Muscle
In the follow up study published in October 2020, researchers further analyzed muscle transcriptome of the participants and found that participants only taking Metformin had increased expression in genes that modulate aging-relevant pathways, such as cellular senescence and autophagy.
As such, the follow up study concluded that: “Metformin and PRT (progressive resistance training) have beneficial effects on health that extend well-beyond skeletal muscle.” What Longevity Experts Are Saying About Exercise & Metformin
The study collaborator and a well-known Metformin doctor, Nir Barzilai, MD, recently stated this about exercise and Metformin: “I think from the aging perspective, exercise and Metformin is healthier and it’s not going to decrease your ability.”
Famous Longevity expert, David Sinclair, recently tweeted the below in regards to this research:
The Bottom Line
If you are focused on building muscle bulk, you should consider skipping Metformin during that training. For everybody else, the evidence supports that Metformin is beneficial even for the most avid athlete.
Until next time!
Original 2019 Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/acel.13039
New 2020 follow up study: Metformin alters skeletal muscle transcriptome adaptations to resistance training in older adults: https://www.aging-us.com/article/104096/text#fulltext
David Sinclair nor Nir Barzilai are affiliated with AgelessRx.