New Research Suggests That Taking The Popular Diabetes Medication Metformin While Pregnant May Affect Your Child’s Brain Development

Bostan Natalia - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Over 150 million people around the globe take Metformin, a widely popular medication, to treat diabetes and prediabetes. Yet, a recent study has raised concerns about its use during pregnancy, suggesting it could affect children’s brain development over time.

Researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke (DIfE) have conducted an in-depth investigation into metformin, an anti-diabetic drug that is frequently prescribed to pregnant women dealing with gestational diabetes.

This condition impacts roughly one in six pregnant women worldwide, presenting considerable health risks for both the expectant mothers and their babies.

Gestational diabetes impacts up to 10% of pregnancies in the United States each year, according to the American Diabetes Association. This condition carries serious repercussions, such as an increased risk of mothers developing Type 2 diabetes in the future and a higher risk of the child experiencing metabolic disorders and obesity.

So, metformin – a pill that decreases blood sugar levels by curbing glucose production in the liver and enhancing cell insulin sensitivity – has offered substantial hope to many individuals.

But, its ability to cross the placenta suggests it might affect the fetus. And although its effectiveness in adults is well-documented, the effects of its transfer through the placenta during pregnancy, especially on the brain development of the child, are still largely unknown.

The researchers set out to determine the potential benefits of metformin for offspring and its long-term physiological effects, particularly in relation to the development of neuronal circuits in the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is vital for maintaining energy balance –  regulating thirst, hunger, and the body’s energy usage.

The team used mice as models to replicate conditions of severe obesity prior to pregnancy and excessive weight gain throughout pregnancy, simulating gestational diabetes scenarios.

They administered insulin, metformin, or a placebo to the pregnant mice during a period equivalent to the third trimester of human pregnancy in terms of brain development. This phase of the study was critical for assessing the impact of metformin on early postnatal development.

Bostan Natalia – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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