Type 2 Diabetes – Diabetes Medications and Their Effect on Blood Fat Levels

Researchers at the Shiga University of Medical Science in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, found taking metformin before meals helped to reduce the rise in blood fat levels seen after meals in eleven participants who had been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Their study was reported on in January of 2019 in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation. Metformin is the first drug of choice prescribed for managing Type 2 diabetes.

The average body mass index (BMI) of the participants was about 28 kg/meter squared, or overweight but not obese. When they were given metformin before a meal their blood triglycerides, a type of fat, rose less than it did when the medication was taken after their meal. The participants also reported feeling more satisfied after the meal without complaints of stomach heaviness or heartburn. From these results the investigators concluded taking metformin before meals could help to lower triglycerides, helping to prevent high triglyceride levels after meals without causing stomach distress.

When food is not burned for energy, it is stored in the form of triglycerides which tend to be high in the blood of people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Insulin helps triglycerides enter cells for energy, just as it helps transport sugar. Insulin resistance, the cause of Type 2 diabetes, raises both sugar and triglyceride levels. Other health conditions associated with high triglycerides include…

  • the metabolic syndrome,
  • low-thyroid hormone level (hypothyroidism),
  • genetic diseases (rare),
  • a high carbohydrate diet,
  • obesity,
  • medications,
  • diuretics,
  • estrogen and progestin (female hormones),
  • retinoids (vitamin A),
  • steroids (certain hormones),
  • beta blockers,
  • some immune suppressants, and
  • some AIDS medications.

A normal triglyceride level falls below 150 mg/dL or 1.7 mmol/L…

  • between 150 and 199 mg/dL or 1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L, is considered borderline.
  • between 200 and 499 mg/dL, or 2.3 to 5.6 mmol/L is high, and
  • 500 mg/dL, or 5.7 mmol/L or over, is very high.

Having high blood triglyceride levels raises the risk for heart and blood vessel disease which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Ways of fighting high triglyceride levels include…

  • normalizing your weight to a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/meter squared,
  • switching from solid to liquid fats – cutting out red meats and using olive or other vegetable oil instead of butter,
  • avoiding alcohol,
  • avoiding refined carbohydrate products,
  • exercising at least 30 minutes a day,
  • medications,
  • Lipitor (atorvastatin),
  • Lescol (fluvastatin),
  • Mevacor (lovastatin),
  • Livalo (pitavastatin),
  • Pravachol (pravastatin),
  • Zocor (simvastatin),
  • Crestor (rosuvastatin),
  • Lopid (gemfibrozil), and
  • Antara, Lofibra, Triglide (fenofibrate).
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