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Metformin and exercise combination less effective for glucose control
Date:8/19/2011

It's common enough for researchers to look at the impacts of prescribed drugs on the body. And if you're a diabetes researcher who believes that exercise has great benefits for those with type 2 diabetes, you're hoping your research will show that. But when Normand Boul looked at the dual impacts of exercise and metformin two of the most commonly-prescribed modalities for glucose control on that very outcome, the hoped-for double whammy wasn't the result.

"The study had three objectives: we wanted to look at the effect of metformin on exercise in people with type 2 diabetes, examine the effect of exercise on metformin concentrations in the body, and finally to look at the effects of metformin and exercise on glucose control, which is essential for people with diabetes," says Boul, whose study a randomized, double-blind, crossover study - involved a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from five faculties at the U of A.

Ten men and women between 30 and 65 with type 2diabetes, but not taking glucose-lowering medication or insulin for their condition were recruited into the study. Participants were randomly assigned to take metformin or a placebo for the first 28 days of the study, then crossed over so those taking the placebo received metformin and vice versa for a second 28 day period. On days 27 and 28, participants spent six hours in the exercise physiology lab and performed different tests, including approximately 40 minutes of exercise on day 28.

"Metformin reduces glucose in the blood and many believe it does so by activating exercise-like pathways," explains Boul. "As expected, in our study metformin lowered the blood glucose concentrations measured during a two-hour period after lunch. But we found that on the non-exercise day metformin led to better glucose control after lunch than on the day our participants took metformin and exercised."

Boul thinks that because both metformin and exercise act to lower glucose
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Contact: Jane Hurly
jane.hurly@ualberta.ca
780-492-6821
University of Alberta - Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation
Source:Eurekalert

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