Is Metformin for Weight Loss – Does it Work? Dosage, Side Effects and Alternatives

Can Metformin be used to help weight management and curb obesity? Some people do and have reduced their body mass index quite considerably. This article looks at the way Metformin can be adapted to help people lose weight, what dosage they should be using. It also asks if it should be used as a diet aid and what the possible side effects could be. We also list an alternative.

Metformin for weight loss

Metformin is a medication for people who have type 2 diabetes. You may be reading this article because you have heard Metformin causes weight loss. If that’s the case, the things you have heard are true.

However, although the medication may help some people to lose a few extra pounds it lacks potency as a weight loss aid. At best, it may help you to see slight improvements in the results you are already getting with diet and exercise. At worst, it may do nothing at all.

Many people who are managing their diabetes with Metformin (according to diabetes prevention program outcomes) will be able to tell you about the unwanted side effects such as headaches, stomach upsets, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and sleepiness.

Although weight loss is going to be a more acceptable side effect for many people, you need to remember that’s what it is – a side effect. Metformin isn’t a weight-loss drug.

Nevertheless, it does have limited value in this regard. In April 2012, The journal of the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Care, published the results of a long-term study that concluded the medication may have value as an anti-obesity treatment. diabetes prevention program outcomes(

What Is Metformin and How Does It Work?

Metformin is a respected first-line medication for treating type 2 diabetes. It’s an oral medication that comes in the form of a pill.

The main thing it does is reduce glucose release in the liver. It also assists insulin and helps the muscles to use it more efficiently.

By doing these things, Metformin improves insulin sensitivity, causing circulating insulin levels to become lower.

Unfortunately, researchers have been unable to find a cure for type 2 diabetes but diabetics who have a healthy lifestyle and use the right medications can enjoy a better quality of life. Metformin is one of several medications that can help them to do this.

Like similar medications, Metformin ultimately helps stabilize blood sugar levels. As it aids the metabolism of glucose from food and improves insulin response, the medication makes diabetics feel better in themselves.

It also offers protection from high blood sugar health complications like heart disease, kidney damage, and glaucoma. 

How Does Metformin Cause Weight Loss?

Although research suggests a cause-and-effect relationship between Metformin and weight loss, the way the medication achieves it is unclear.

However, even though there is still much to learn, researchers have several theories about what may be going on behind the scenes and hunger reduction may be a key player in the process.

Metformin Success Stories

It’s possible Metformin may support weight loss by affecting hunger cues. The results of a small study conducted at the St. Louis University Medical Center support this theory.

Twelve women took part in the study. All of them were non-insulin-dependent diabetics.

The researchers split the women into three groups and gave them an oral treatment three times per day. One group got a placebo. The other two groups got Metformin in 850 mg or 1,700 mg doses.

The study utilized a 3×3 Latin square design so instead of only lasting three days, it went on for nine, with each participant being switched to an option they had not tried after each three-day interval.

Basically, each of the 12 women took a turn on the placebo, Metformin (850 mg), and Metformin (1,700 mg).

The researchers conducted a meal test on days three, six, and nine. Data taken from the women’s hunger ratings show their hunger levels were significantly lower when they were taking Metformin instead of the placebo.

Not surprisingly, the higher dose provided greater hunger reduction than the lower one. (

The Kind of Results to Expect – How Much Weight Can Be Lost?

By controlling hunger, Metformin may help you to maintain an energy shortage in your body. This shortage is necessary for fat burning and weight loss.

However, stomach upsets and diarrhea are quite common side effects while taking Metformin. This could have a bearing on things too.

If you are feeling nauseous or your stomach is hurting, you may feel less inclined to eat. If you are emptying your bowels more than normal, you will be carrying less feces around inside you. This will, of course, make you a little lighter. It would be easy to confuse this lightening of the load with fat loss when it is not.

Even when the medication’s ability to reduce hunger helps with fat loss, the results are unlikely to be very exciting. Data from the study published in Diabetes Care suggest the average Metformin weight loss is only around six pounds per year.

Six pounds per year! A good diet pill can help people to lose more than that in a month. But that’s not surprising. It’s what they are designed to do.

Regardless of you whether you are using Metformin or a regular diet pill, good results will require you to commit to healthy eating. If you don’t retrain your brain to make the correct food choices and become used to smaller portions at mealtimes, when you stop the treatment, your weight may quickly return.

Do You Have to Be Diabetic to Use Metformin?

Depending on your circumstances, it may be possible to get your doctor to prescribe Metformin for weight loss. Although weight loss is a side effect, not a primary function, many doctors accept the drug has “off-label” value as a slimming aid.

However, because Metformin does not have FDA approval for treating obesity, it’s probable your doctor will suggest more traditional weight-loss strategies instead.

These strategies may include:

  • Drinking water before your meals (makes the stomach feel full)
  • Avoiding sugary drinks
  • Avoiding processed foods (high in fat and/or sugar)
  • Eating more protein and less carbs and fat
  • Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day

Alternatively, if you have a BMI of 30+, your doctor may prescribe an FDA-approved weight-loss drug, such as Phentermine, instead.

How Good Is Metformin?

Some medications that treat type 2 diabetes can cause weight gain. Needless to say, this is undesirable and may go a long way to explaining why Metformin is the first-line treatment option for type 2 diabetes. (

If you are a diabetic using Metformin to control your condition, and also trying to lose weight, it could be a useful ace to have up your sleeve. However, if you don’t exercise strict calorie control, the medication won’t be able to help you to make any weight loss progress.

Even if you are taking Metformin and becoming an expert at calorie counting, don’t expect rapid results. For faster weight loss, you may need to take a diet pill as well but would need to check with your doctor first.

If you are overweight but otherwise in good health, Metformin has even less to offer as a weight loss aid. There are plenty of strong arguments for using a standard diet pill instead.

For one thing, researchers are unsure how Metformin causes reductions in body weight. However, it seems likely it may suppress appetite.

The best diet pills contain natural ingredients that have proven capabilities. For instance, research shows green tea increases fat burning by boosting metabolism.

The capsaicin provided by red pepper extracts can do this too, while also suppressing hunger. These fiery pepper compounds further support weight loss by activating brown adipose tissue. (

When you buy a good diet pill, you are purchasing a supplement that’s designed to help with weight loss. They get the job done and do so faster than Metformin can.

Using Metformin to help lose weight is a little like trying to paint a wall with a nail varnish brush. You may get there in the end, but there are more efficient ways to do it.

What Can I Use Instead of Metformin?

There are plenty of diet pills you could use as an alternative to Metformin. If you are extremely overweight, you could ask your doctor to prescribe a suitable medication such as Phentermine (Apidex, Ionamin or Duromine) or Orlistat. Unfortunately, using either option can entail unpleasant side effects.

There are also other anti obesity medications such as Saxenda weight loss injections.

If you want to lose weight but don’t want a diet pill that causes side effects, PhenQ is an excellent option. It was created especially for people looking for a safe weight loss pill that is similar to Phentermine and it works like a charm.

In addition to having no known side effects, PhenQ is faster-acting than Metformin and often delivers weight losses of around nine pounds or more per month.

PhenQ is both an appetite suppressant and a fat burner. It also boosts energy levels, increases mental focus, and elevates your mood. There is no mystery about how it works.

Since its launch in 2015, PhenQ has already helped more than 190,000 men and women to lose weight. That’s impressive. However, there is no need to take a leap of faith or gamble with hard-earned money. The manufacturer offers a very respectable 60-day money-back guarantee.

About Tony Jay

Tony Jay (CEO of AGJ Media, CPD certified in Diet and Nutrition) Tony is a fitness enthusiast, writer, and entrepreneur. He’s been active in the health and wellness industry since 2007 and firmly believes correct nutrition is the key to good health. A workaholic by nature, Tony uses power yoga to keep his mind sharp, maintain physical subtlety, and keep fit. LinkedIn