Dr. John Talks About Diet Drugs

This is the second installment of 4-part answers regarding questions on weight control. Watch this short video, read more about using drugs for weight loss

This is the second installment of 4-part answers regarding questions on weight control. This week I will be discussing using drugs for weight control. Watch this short video, read more about using drugs for weight loss below, and take a look at part 1 where I discuss intermittent fasting. Check back for part 3 where I will discuss using surgery for weight loss.

How do drugs cause weight loss? Many of the weight loss drugs are variants of medications to treat illnesses such as convulsions, addiction, or depression, but were found to lower appetite. Some are modifications of drugs used to lower blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes. The intestine releases a hormone in response to glucose molecules in food. This hormone stimulates the pancreas to release insulin and also suppresses the sensation of hunger but is usually degraded within minutes.  Researchers have found a way to prolong the action of this intestinal hormone to achieve continued insulin release and longer suppression of hunger.  

Yet another drug prevents the absorption of fat from the intestine, reducing caloric intake. 

What are the side effects of weight loss drugs? Some can be addictive and cause dangerously high blood pressure if taken for a long period of time. The Type 2 diabetic drugs modified for weight loss were found to cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation in a significant number of people. It is understandable that people with upset stomachs will take less food and lose weight. Prolonged suppression of hunger by weight loss drugs may interfere with the intake of needed nutrients in a timely fashion leading to food cravings, while the continued release of insulin could lead to cancer cell growth.

How long can drug-induced weight loss last? In most cases of drug-induced weight loss, the rate at which one loses weight taper significantly after about one year. And when people stop taking the drug, they start regaining their weight. Companies don’t know how to keep the weight loss going on for longer periods. 

Are there natural weight loss supplements? Many compounds are being marketed as natural weight loss supplements. However, there are no long-term controlled studies for verification.  Some may have prescription drugs that are not listed on the label and some may have side effects such as insomnia, irritability, and headache. There is no standardization of strength or quality control measures. In short, you are taking a chance.

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