New research shows that Metformin, a popular medication used to treat diabetes, may also help alleviate anxiety symptoms. This is great news for the diabetic community, as people with diabetes are 20% more likely to suffer from anxiety than the general public. The discovery has encouraged researchers to investigate the link between anxiety, depression and insulin resistance, as well as the ways all three can be treated at once.
The Link Between Diabetes and Anxiety
Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety. Although the exact reasons remain unclear, medical professionals point to several reasons why people with diabetes may experience mental health issues.
First, diabetes may affect the quality of life and the relationships of those who have it, which can lead to depression. Second, constant fear over, and monitoring of, blood glucose levels may lead to feelings of anxiety and the development of an anxiety disorder. Lastly, a diet high in fat and sugar can lead to the development of both diabetes and anxiety, which may explain why they are often found together.
Popular Diabetes Drug Reduces Anxiety Symptoms
Researchers discovered that Metformin, a popular diabetes drug, reduced symptoms and behaviors of anxiety in mice. The study, conducted by the University of Toulouse and the University of Bordeaux, along with other French research institutes, provides hope that diabetes and mental health conditions associated with it may one day be treated with one medication.
How Metformin Affects the Brain
But how does Metformin, a diabetes drug, treat anxiety and depression? It comes down to the way the drug interacts with the brain. Metformin increases the supply of tryptophan, an amino acid, in the brain. This amino acid is vital in the production of serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter found within the brain. A greater supply of tryptophan makes it possible for the brain to produce more serotonin. It is believed that increased levels of serotonin wards off anxiety and depression.
Diabetes, depression and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. As researchers learn more about how these conditions are linked, they hope to uncover treatment options and medications, like Metformin, that will address the symptoms of all three conditions simultaneously.
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