The conventional medication, Metformin (also known as glucophage), is used in a variety of ways. The biguanide class of antidiabetic medications – which also includes the withdrawn agents phenformin and buformin – originates from the French lilac or goat's rue (Galega officinalis), a plant used in folk medicine for several centuries.
It has been used for non-insulin dependent diabetes for more than 50 years. It has also been used to treat PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) for a long time. In the last 5 years, Metformin has been found to have anti cancer properties.
New data suggests that Metformin can cause B12 deficiency. Metformin significantly increases the concentration of methylmalonic acid which is a cause of the neuropathy. This increase in methymalonic acid worsens the functional B12 staus of a patient.
This is a significant finding which must be addressed in all patients taking Metformin. There are other ways to decrease high serum glucose levels in a diabetic such as dietary and exercise lifestyle changes. The use of botanical herbs such as bitter melon, fenugreek, rosemary, and cinnamon can also decrease plasma glucose.