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Alcohol and Metformin

Metformin (Glucophage) treats type 2 diabetes in overweight people and, more recently, reduces polycystic ovary syndrome symptoms. In some cases, Metformin may be used to prevent or delay the development of full-blown diabetes in people with prediabetes.

By decreasing liver glucose production and improving insulin sensitivity, Metformin reduces high blood sugar and health complications resulting from type 2 diabetes. It also enhances the body’s utilization of existing glucose to minimize intestinal absorption of blood glucose.

Alcohol directly enters the bloodstream, where it quickly travels to the liver to be assimilated by the body. When someone drinks alcohol faster than the liver to metabolize alcohol, excess alcohol saturates body tissues, especially the brain.

  • Because the liver is frantically trying to metabolize alcohol, it cannot regulate blood glucose like it usually does.

Processing a bottleneck of alcohol means the liver has no choice but to release less glucose and dysregulate blood sugar levels. Also, many alcoholic drinks contain a lot of sugar that may contribute to health conditions promoting type 2 diabetes, such as obesity and having prediabetes.

  • Some carbonated alcoholic drinks also increase blood glucose more quickly than non-carbonated alcoholic beverages. Mixing carbonated drinks with Metformin could cause medical issues requiring immediate medical treatment.
  • Moderate to heavy alcohol consumption by people taking Metformin may counteract this benefit.

We Do Not Suggest Drinking ANY Alcohol While Taking Metformin

Drinking any alcohol while taking Metformin may cause serious side effects, including:

Low blood glucose levels can make a person drowsy, confused, and dizzy. If not reversed, hypoglycemia may cause convulsions, seizures, unconsciousness, and coma.

Accumulation of lactic acid in the bloodstream may happen when you combine alcohol and Metformin. In addition, rigorous exercise, when energy demands are highest, produces lactic acid.

Glucose is then oxidized to make pyruvate, which the body needs to sustain physical demands. It is what happens when someone drinks alcohol while taking Metformin.

  • Lactic acidosis symptoms appear suddenly and require immediate medical assistance.

They include diarrhea, stomach pain/cramping, rapid breathing, severe muscle pain, weakness, and drowsiness. In addition, lactic acidosis can damage the kidneys, lungs, heart, and major blood vessels.

Previous research seemed to indicate this drug might increase the risk for lactic acidosis in people with type 2 diabetes. However, a growing body of evidence suggests it alone will not induce lactic acidosis. However, this drug is a contributing factor, such as alcohol consumption or pre-existing conditions involving kidney or heart failure. In addition, Metformin appears to offer protective properties regarding cardiovascular health.