Today I want to share with you a published study that came out in 2010 about how Metformin®, a Type 2 diabetes drug, causes B12 deficiency.
Isn’t that interesting? Kind of a Catch-22 wouldn't you say?
Why do people start taking Metformin? Well, they take it because they get diagnosed with high blood sugar or Type 2 diabetes.
And a complication from having Type 2 diabetes is increased risk for cardiovascular disease. But here’s the thing:
The medication that you’re taking for the diabetes could be making you worse.
See, when you deplete the body of B12, now you’re at risk for – guess what? – cardiovascular disease. B12 is not only important for reducing homocysteine. It’s what we call a methyl donor. It’s also important in preventing neuropathy, which is another complication that we often see with people that have Type 2 diabetes.
If you’re taking Metformin, or you’re thinking about taking Metformin, ask your doctor if they know about this study.
Now, they may tell you, “Yeah, but that study says it takes years to become deficient,” and that may be true. It may take years to become deficient, but it doesn’t take years to start depleting your B12 levels and impacting your health.
You have to ask yourself is it worth all that?
Is it worth that risk to take Metformin or could you look for some other avenues?
Could you look for another way, a functional model if you will, of approaching this Type 2 diabetes?
The model I like to use is:
Treat the person, not the disease
Type 2 diabetes is one of those types of conditions that has different causes.
For example, 25 percent of Type 2 diabetic patients actually have a more serious condition that is devastating their body and will totally destroy their quality of life probably long before any complication from diabetes (see this post)
So the problem with that kind of diagnosis is that it’s a garbage can. It’s in the same lump as fibromyalgia. What a doctor should do, in my opinion, is find out what’s the cause of your Type 2 diabetic symptoms?
- fatigue after meals
- low libido and erectile dysfunction
- peripheral neuropathy--numbness and tingling
- sleep problems, insomnia
- high blood pressure problems
- low energy.
These symptoms could be caused by a whole list of factors...from different kinds of food sensitivities to bacterial infections to adrenal gland problems. And I really think that for a doctor to do a good job and leave no stone unturned, he or she should be looking for those factors.
Most doctors that you are seeing are never going to look for those things because they’re simply schooled from a different model...
- patient has symptoms.
- They have a blood sugar or a hemoglobin A1C of a certain amount.
- They now get medication like Metformin®
It used to be that doctors would promotre diet and exercise, but lately I haven’t found many doctors that are doing that. They’re pretty much straight going to, "Take Metformin.”
I’m telling you a complication. Most of these medications that you’re receiving for diabetes, they have complications. I don’t understand why more people aren’t seeking out – and I hate to say “alternative” – but aren’t seeking out a good alternative. I guess we should just call it that, right? Seeking a different way. The problem with that word “alternative” is sometimes we’re not so alternative, depending on who you see.
For example, you could see a well-meaning naturopath or acupuncturist or a chiropractor or someone like that and they mean well. But all that they do is really what the medical doctor did. You come in and say, “I have Type 2 diabetes,” and they say, “Oh, okay. Take these four supplements,” without really digging down and asking why did this happen?
How did you get this way? Is it lifestyle choices? Is it you’re eating the wrong foods? Are there some other physiological things happening?
Those are the questions that should be asked and it's the best model to use with someone diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes symptoms.
So doctors often prescribe Metformin. Metformin depletes B12 over time and actually increases your risk for cardiovascular diseas...the same way that diabetes does.
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Dr. David Clark
Diplomate College of Clinical Nutrition
Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist
Vestibular Rehab Specialist