How to use metformin

Question: Over the summer, I purchased a few hundred tablets of metformin from a European mail-order company. I started 2,000 mg/ day (one 500-mg tab with meals 4 times a day) and experienced a severe loss of appetite. After ten days, I ceased using the drug because I began to lose weight (muscle) and strength as a result of the lower calorie intake. Do you have any thoughts on this?

I’ve gotten the same reports from other bodybuilders who comment on this loss of appetite. At least you got the dosage right. Most non-diabetics who use Glucophage (the American version of metformin) have been cautious with do sages and haven’t felt any beneficial effects.

The conundrum is this: bringing the dosage up high enough (between 1,700 and 2,000 mg) generates better glycogen storage and a workout pump, but the loss of appetite makes it difficult to eat enough food. This food apathy is caused by metformin’s slowing of gastric emptying. Such an effect would be nice to have while you’re on a low-calorie diet. But on a maintenance or hyper-calorie diet, metformin would be a problem.

The simple solution is to make sure you eat calorie-dense foods. If there is a ny complaint (and it seems to be a very minor one) with the moderate to high-fa t diets (whether it be Isometric or Zone based), it usually is that the increase of dietary fat means less food to eat. This is the one instance where peanut butter is a guilt-free solution. So it seems logical that metformin and moderate-fat diets would compliment each other. Hunger from eating less carbohydrates is eliminated because of the slow release from the stomach (and from the small intestine, too), and the reduced carbohydrates will be prioritized for glycogen storage. The dietary fat is calorie dense.

If you’re following a high-carb diet and won’t consider switching to denser foods, the traditional approach for stimulating the appetite for athletes is the prescription antihistamine Periactin. Unfortunately, Periactin causes lethargy and irritability.

If none of the above solutions suit you, only use metformin when you’re on a low-calorie diet. If you lower the dosage enough, your appetite will not be affected, but at the reduced dosage, the insulin sensitivity enhancement will be negligible.

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