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Combination of common diabetes drug and exercise may be ineffective, study finds

Category: Diabetes

A growing number of people are now receiving positive HbA1c test results for type 2 diabetes. Many of these individuals will be prescribed a drug known as metformin and advised to get more exercise by their doctors. However, a new investigation shows that this combination of therapies may be ineffective.

While metformin and exercise each lower blood sugar levels independently, researchers from the University of Alberta showed that combining the two has a nullifying effect, occasionally resulting in higher glucose levels.

Metformin is thought to activate an exercise-like pathway in the metabolic system. The researchers speculated that when this pathway is active while a person is exercising, it may trigger another process in the body that is intended to prevent blood sugar levels from dropping too far. This may account for the lack of effect when a person on metformin exercises.

As part of the study, the researchers asked a group of participants to either take metformin or a placebo for a period of 28 days. Individuals were put through an exercise regimen on the last day. Those who received the active metformin pills had higher blood sugar than those on the placebo.

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