Modern medicine may have increased the life-span for many people compared with previous generations. In large part this can be explained due to public health food safety and infectious disease treatments with antibiotics. For many people who would have died from heart disease and cancer their death may be delayed with medications but sadly their health and quality of life actually shortened because of the side effects of the medications or just from the fact that the medication is keeping them alive with a handicapped quality of life.
As a functional medicine specialist, my focus is on extending quality of life and restoring function. Nutrition and exercise are then main ways functional medicine extends health-span. Things like intermittent fasting and low carbohydrate diet are easy to Rx health-span extenders. I would like to focus on one medication I use in functional medicine that has been researched to extend health-span and life-span. The name of this medication is “Metformin” (brand name Glucophage).
Metformin has been used for almost 60 years to treat diabetes in Europe and for 25 years in the USA. Recently, metformin has been used to improve fertility in men and women, as a weight lose aid, and to balance hormone issues for poly cystic ovary syndrome among other uses. It was observed that prescribing metformin to non diabetic people seems to improve their overall quality of life and the length of life, no matter what the age. Some researchers report that metformin had neuro-protective abilities for traumatic brain damage and neuro-degenerative diseases. I use metformin as part of cancer treatment protocols. Basically, metformin has potential use in most areas of medicine.
Metformin seems to work thru modulation of inflammation and oxidative stress. This would explain why metformin has these health-span extending effects independent of its glucose lowering effects. If we can reduce chronic damage in cells that results from inflammation, then that could have benefits for aging, for cardiovascular disease, for cancer.
If you like the idea of increasing functional health-span in your life, ask your doctor about a metformin protocol.