In practice I don’t think it’s an issue: Metformin has been used to improve body composition at least since Dan Duchaine recommended it back in the 90’s, and has worked fine.
On the science, a couple of things suggest improving muscle protein synthesis, at least where there’s a burn injury:
DC Gore, DN Herndon and RR Wolfe,
The Journal of trauma, Aug 2005
Both insulin and metformin have been shown to attenuate hyperglycemia and reduce net muscle protein catabolism following burn injury. The purpose of this study was to compare the peripheral metabolic effects of insulin and metformin in severe burn patients.Six adult patients with burns greater than 40% of their body surface underwent metabolic evaluation utilizing isotopic dilution of phenylalanine, femoral arterial and venous blood sampling, and sequential biopsies of leg muscle. Following baseline measurements, insulin was infused into the femoral artery at 0.45 mIU/min 100 mL leg volume. Patients were then given metformin (850 mg every 8 hours) for seven days with repeat metabolic evaluation before and during intra-arterial infusion of insulin.Intra-arterial administration of insulin significantly increased insulin concentrations within the femoral vein, creating hyperinsulinemia localized to the extremity. Metformin had no significant effect on either peripheral glucose clearance or the rate of glucose oxidation. Furthermore, the availability of ATP and energy charge within muscle was not overtly affected by either insulin or metformin. Metformin did significantly increase the fractional synthetic rate of muscle protein which increased even further with insulin administration. Both metformin and insulin separately increased the rate of muscle protein synthesis as calculated using three compartment modeling.This study demonstrates a significant anabolic effect on muscle protein with metformin and a modest response with insulin. Findings also suggest that metformin and insulin may work synergistically to further improve muscle protein kinetics.
EC Diaz, DN Herndon, C Porter, LS Sidossis, OE Suman and E Børsheim,
Burns : journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries, Jun 2015
The pathophysiological response to burn injury disturbs the balance between skeletal muscle protein synthesis and breakdown, resulting in severe muscle wasting. Muscle loss after burn injury is related to increased mortality and morbidity. Consequently, mitigation of this catabolic response has become a focus in the management of these patients. The aim of this review is to discuss the literature pertaining to pharmacological interventions aimed at attenuating skeletal muscle catabolism in severely burned patients.Review of the literature related to skeletal muscle protein metabolism following burn injury was conducted. Emphasis was on studies utilizing stable isotope tracer kinetics to assess the impact of pharmacological interventions on muscle protein metabolism in severely burned patients.Data support the efficacy of testosterone, oxandrolone, human recombinant growth hormone, insulin, metformin, and propranolol in improving skeletal muscle protein net balance in patients with severe burns. The mechanisms underlying the improvement of protein net balance differ between types and dosages of drugs, but their main effect is on protein synthesis. Finally, the majority of studies have been conducted during the acute hypermetabolic phase of the injury. Except for oxandrolone, the effects of drugs on muscle protein kinetics following discharge from the hospital are largely unknown.
DC Gore, SE Wolf, A Sanford, DN Herndon and RR Wolfe,
Annals of surgery, Feb 2005
Hyperglycemia and accelerated muscle catabolism have been shown to adversely affect immune response and survival. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of metformin on glucose kinetics and muscle protein metabolism in severely burned patients and assess any potential benefit of metformin in this clinical setting.In a double-blind, randomized manner, 8 adult burn patients received metformin (850 mg every 8 hours x 7 days), while 5 burn patients received placebo. Infusions of 6,6d2 glucose, d5 phenylalanine, sequential muscle biopsies, and femoral arterial, venous blood sampling allowed determination of glucose and muscle protein kinetics. Measurements were obtained immediately prior and at the conclusion of 7 days of treatment (metformin versus placebo). All patients received enteral feeds of comparable amounts during study.Patients receiving metformin had a significant decrease in their plasma glucose concentration, the rate of glucose production, and an increase in glucose clearance. Metformin administration was also associated with a significant increase in the fractional synthetic rate of muscle protein and improvement in net muscle protein balance. Glucose kinetics and muscle protein metabolism were not significantly altered in the patients receiving placebo.Metformin attenuates hyperglycemia and increases muscle protein synthesis in severely burned patients, thereby indicating a metabolic link between hyperglycemia and muscle loss following severe injury. Therefore, therapies that improve glucose tolerance such as metformin may be of clinical value in ameliorating muscle catabolism in critically injured patients.
Now, the burn state could be different.
I don’t know of any scientific evidence showing reduced muscle protein synthesis with metformin.
Personally I wouldn’t worry about it: it works well in practice.