A Pharmacological/Physiological Comparison of Metformin and Exercise

Thomas L. Lenz, Matthew R. Seyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Type 2 diabetes is a significant health concern in the United States and its prevalence is expected to triple by 2050. Both metformin and exercise have shown to be effective in the management of blood glucose control. The pharmacological mechanism of action of metformin is largely based on the activation of AMPK to induce glucose transport. Likewise, the physiological actions of exercise appear to be a potent activator of AMPK, resulting in glucose uptake by the muscle. Research shows that metformin may control blood glucose slightly better than exercise in persons with type 2 diabetes. However, it appears that lifestyle interventions outperform metformin when trying to prevent the onset of diabetes. Both metformin and exercise have a positive and significant role in the management of type 2 diabetes and appear to work similarly to help manage blood glucose control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)118-120
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Lifestyle Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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