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

levels, the combination may have triggered a counter regulatory response by the body to prevent glucose levels dipping too much. "During exercise, glucagon concentrations increased in the blood (a hormone secreted by the pancreas that raises glucose levels) but when we combined exercise and metformin the glucagon levels were almost twice as elevated."

He also said that the combination of metformin and exercise is not always worse than metformin alone. The findings of their study was likely impacted by the timing of meals relative to the exercise session participants underwent and that the intensity of exercise may have had an impact as well, including the fact that these levels were measured after a single bout of exercise as opposed to regular daily exercise.

In terms of the other foci of the study Boul says the data for the impacts of metformin on exercise were consistent with previous studies looking at this: participants showed slightly increased lactate levels, and increased use of fats as an energy source during exercise. However, he believes his study was the first to document a significantly increased heart rate when performing aerobic exercise of various intensities with metformin (six beats per minute on average). "However, all participants were able to complete the exercise portion in both metformin and placebo conditions," he says.

"Also surprising is that throughout the day that they exercised, metformin concentrations were higher than on the day that they didn't," says Boul. The reasons for this are not well understood.

Boul says despite these findings, "exercise has hundreds of benefits" and should still be an important part of a healthy approach to glucose control for those with diabetes, including those taking metformin.

"What we've learned is that the relationship between exercise and metformin is complex, and this opens the door for more research to examine how different treatments work together, esp
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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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