Metformin is one of the most well-known and commonly used prescription drugs to treat type 2 diabetes.
When used along with diet and exercise, metformin can help manage your blood sugar and decrease your risk for other health complications associated with diabetes. In addition to its role in treating diabetes, metformin has been shown to have several other benefits for people who don’t have a diagnosis of this condition.
For example, some studies have found that taking metformin may reduce your risk of developing cancer or heart disease. This article takes a closer look at the evidence on whether or not metformin causes hair loss — and what you can do about it if it does.
What is metformin?
Metformin is an oral drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It helps the body use insulin more effectively and improve blood sugar control. Metformin is generally safe and well-tolerated, with few side effects that are specific to this drug. Its main issues are gastrointestinal effects like nausea, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea, as well as lactic acid buildup.
Metformin is often taken with other diabetes medications, like insulin, to help lower blood glucose. It may also be prescribed alone if other medications aren’t appropriate, like in the case of a person with pancreatic issues. Metformin is also used to treat polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), certain types of cancers, and other metabolic conditions.
How does metformin work to control blood sugar?
When you eat a meal containing carbohydrates, your body breaks down these nutrients into simple sugars for energy. Normally, your pancreas releases insulin to help shuttle the sugar from your bloodstream into your cells, where it’s needed for energy.
But if you have diabetes, you may not be able to produce enough insulin, or you may be resistant to its effects. As a result, your blood sugar levels may rise and remain too high for too long.
Metformin works to control blood sugar by reducing insulin resistance in your cells. It does this by increasing the amount of oxygen and energy available in your cells, which allows them to produce more energy without needing as much insulin.
Metformin also increases your liver’s ability to remove excess glucose from your blood. This means that your blood sugar remains at a healthy level between meals and when you’re sleeping.
Bottom line: Does metformin cause hair loss?
It is common for people newly prescribed with metformin to experience hair thinning. This is due to the fact that metformin can cause oxidative stress in the body. This is especially true if you have a sensitive body type and are already dealing with high levels of oxidative stress.
Metformin-induced hair loss usually stops after a few months once your body has adjusted to its presence. In the meantime, there are steps you can take to minimize any hair loss and boost your hair regrowth.
Some of the most effective remedies for hair loss include taking biotin and vitamin B supplements, drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and avoiding high levels of stress.
2 ways to combat metformin-induced hair loss
As mentioned above, one of the best ways to prevent hair loss caused by metformin is by taking biotin supplements. Biotin is a B vitamin that is essential for healthy hair and nails.
Vitamin B is also helpful for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, which is why it’s included in many diabetes medications.
Metformin-induced hair loss can also be reduced by drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and managing your stress levels. If you can’t kick the stress-induced hair loss on your own, you might consider seeing a therapist for help.
3 natural ways to regrow hair and help prevent further loss
There are a number of different natural remedies that can be used to regrow hair and prevent further loss if you are experiencing metformin-induced hair loss. One of the best ways to boost hair regrowth is by taking biotin supplements. Biotin is a B vitamin that is essential for healthy hair and nails.
Vitamin B is also helpful for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, which is why it’s included in many diabetes medications. Ginseng root is another popular remedy for hair regrowth. This natural herb has been shown to stimulate hair follicles and boost hair growth. Another option is to try a mixture of coconut oil and castor oil and apply it to your scalp.
You can also apply this mixture to your scalp before you go to sleep. Be sure to keep your scalp clean and moisturized by using a quality shampoo. You can also apply a hair growth spray to your scalp.
While metformin is a great treatment for diabetes, it can cause hair loss in some users. Hair loss caused by metformin is usually mild and may even stop after a few months. If you’re taking metformin and experiencing hair loss, consider taking a biotin supplement and following the tips above.
If you experience hair loss while taking metformin, know that it is likely temporary and will likely go away after adjusting to the drug. If you experience persistent hair loss, you should talk to your doctor to rule out other possible causes.