You’re reading this because you’re interested to learn the truth about Metformin and Alcohol consumption, as a side effect for Metformin.
In most cases, diabetics are recommended to avoid consuming alcohol. Beer, wine and mixed drinks tend to be very high in sugar, obviously less than ideal for someone managing elevated blood sugar levels. Additionally, liver function is closely tied to insulin and blood sugar levels. Because the alcohol part of any adult beverage must be processed in the liver, an ever greater potential problem is further unbalance the sensitive body chemistry that is already at risk.
If you consume alcohol while treating diabetes with Metformin, your risks and the occurrence of potential problems increase. Some doctors do a great job of letting their patients know this is a problem. Other times it does not get emphasized enough.
You could trigger two different problems specifically related to the abnormal body chemistry of diabetes. If unnoticed either condition is potentially harmful. If you have plans to drink alcohol, be sure to look for the signs of these interactions.
Adding alcohol increases your risk for having a hypoglycemic reaction. You might expect to only experience blood sugar spikes will taking Metformin and having a drink. This is not necessarily the case. You may not know that on a regular basis your body only uses 10% of each Metformin dose. In some cases, it may be possible to activate more of the drug. As a result, your blood sugar levels could actually end up too low. While this is rarely fatal, the more often you spike or down the harder it is to control your blood sugar levels long term.
Metformin and Alcohol
The other potential problem can be serious, sometimes even fatal. Consuming alcohol also puts more stress on your kidneys. For diabetics on Metformin you need extra care in this situation. A serious, usually fatal, condition can occur when taking Metformin. If the ability of your kidneys to do their job is reduced, Lactic acid may build up in your system. If you don’t notice and get it resolved, Lactic Acidosis will be fatal. During treatment for Lactic Acidosis patients typically must stop taking Metformin completely. In fact, your doctor should be testing you on a regular basis to avoid this problem.
The consumption of alcohol has been linked to triggering the problem of Lactic Acidosis. This usually occurs because a person’s kidney function is already somewhat reduced. The reduction may be small, but the pattern has already been started. Weak kidney function often goes unnoticed, even in the non-diabetic population. The risk for this problem goes up just taking Metformin. Add in drinking alcoholic beverages and the possibility of tipping unnoticed body chemistry into a problematic state increases.
You also run an increased risk of liver damage. The combination of Metformin and a couple of beers puts even much more burden on the function of your liver. Keeping all of your organs healthy and balanced reduces the problems with diabetes, so it’s important to be aware of these challenges.
Most people taking Metformin end up drinking very little on rare occasions. However, for those times when you know you want to consume alcohol, plan ahead and avoid these complications.
Metformin and Alcohol are not friends, that’s for sure.