Sidestepping Metformin’s “pitfalls”

Q: You’ve written that the best drug to use for type 2 diabetes is Metformin. I couldn’t agree more. I was doing well on it for many years, but my kidney doctor took me off of it in January because it was affecting my kidneys. I haven’t been on anything else since and now my blood sugars are rising. Do you have any suggestions that I can bring to the attention of my doctor?

Dr. Micozzi:

If you have high blood sugar it is important to take active steps to control your levels.

Unfortunately, the FDA still issues outdated guidelines about restricting Metformin. You have had the common experience of a physician discontinuing this proven blood sugar medication— probably due to elevations in creatinine levels, which is a sign of kidney function. Since Metformin is the best drug to use for keeping blood sugars low, I suggest asking your doctor to check your kidney function again.  If your creatinine levels are back to normal, it may be safe to start taking Metformin again.

Also it is very important to supplement your diet with a B vitamin complex if you are a diabetic and taking Metformin. (Stay tuned for the December issue of Insider’s Cures to hear more about my perspective on this).

In addition, there are several non- drug approaches to managing blood sugar. First, avoid all processed foods, beverages and sugars. But remember, fruits (containing fructose) are fine. Losing weight also helps a great deal. Take a short walk after meals, especially after dinner.

This will help move sugar from your blood and into your tissues. Recent research shows that South African red bush also helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. And it also helps muscle tissues use blood sugar more effectively after meals. You can get the brand of red bush that I helped develop, called Red Joe, at