Why Is Everyone In Hollywood Talking About Weight Loss Drug Ozempic?
Just search Ozempic on TikTok and there are already 274 million views on the hashtag calling it a ‘miracle weight loss treatment’. You’ll be forgiven for thinking it’s a weight loss drug because it’s not and if you aren’t dealing with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance or are not extremely overweight then you might want to be cautious.
Ozempic is actually a diabetes medication that comes in the form of a once-weekly noninsulin injection that, along with diet and exercise, may help blood sugar regulation in adults with type 2 diabetes. It’s a type of drug known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist and it was first approved in the US for diabetes in 2017, even though it has been around for nearly two decades. This drug is prescribed for people who are diabetic but emerging scientific literature is showing that it can also help with insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) and/or those who are struggling with or dealing with obesity. Ozempic was not created for your average person looking to slim down and lose some weight fast and so it shouldn’t be taken by these people.
How does it work? The active ingredient in Ozempic, Semaglutide, helps with Type 2 diabetes by lowering fasting and postprandial (after eating) blood sugar levels. It lowers blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion (of which you don’t have enough of if you are diabetic which is why the drug was created). With Ozempic, the rate of insulin secretion for patients with Type 2 diabetes starts to match the rates of healthy, non-diabetic people and at the same time, it also lowers glucagon secretion while also causing a minor delay in gastric emptying. This means that Ozempic makes you feel fuller, for longer, and makes you less hungry so you eat less food. Ozempic also inadvertently acts on the areas of the brain involved in regulating food intake and appetite too. It reduces appetite and helps the body’s fat cells shrink over time.
So, what’s the science on Ozempic? In 2019, Frontiers in Endocrinology wrote about how Ozempic affects glycemic control and body weight regulation and this was potentially a therapeutic in the battle against obesity. In 2019, Obesity Reviews also highlighted a study that demonstrated the magnitude of Semaglutide-induced weight loss and noted how it far exceeded the criteria of FDA anti-obesity drugs *and* had no safety concerns. The American Heart Journal also concluded it can have a positive outcome on cardiovascular health of those who are overweight and Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism confirmed that Semaglutide reduced body weight, HbA1c and systolic blood pressure.
Studies show that once-weekly Semaglutide is associated with reduced weight and another clinical trial concluded that “those maintaining Semaglutide treatment after 20-weeks continued to lose weight over those using a placebo”. The Lancet also published the results of a randomized, double-blind, clinically controlled trial and the change in mean body weight at the end of the 68 weeks was -9.6%.
There are potential side effects. Ozempic comes with a boxed warning about the possible risk of thyroid cancer from using the product and it has actually been shown to cause thyroid cancer in animals. Also, in a clinical trial run by Novo Nordisk (the manufacturer of Ozempic) in which patients took a version of Ozempic as a weight loss strategy, those who were switched to a placebo actually gained back most of the weight they had lost after about 20 weeks. So, is it really a ‘miracle’ weight loss drug after all if you stop taking it and the weight comes back because your appetite does? And at around $1500 per month, it’s not cheap.
Just because something is FDA approved does not mean it is safe and just because it’s rumored that celebrities are using it to fit into dresses for the Met gala, doesn’t make it smart. Other side effects listed by the provider include inflammation of the pancreas, changes in vision, low blood sugar, kidney problems (including kidney failure), and gallbladder problems as well as the more common side effects of Ozempic: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach (abdominal) pain, and constipation. As well as the physical side effects, taking a drug you don’t actually need can cause severe issues in the supply chain. There is currently a four month shortage of Ozempic which is impacting the millions of people who need Ozempic to manage their Type 2 diabetes - all for a ‘miracle weight loss drug’ that wasn’t made for weight loss.
There is no quick fix to weight loss and we have to give away the idea there is a magic pill. Ozempic is not a substitute for diet and lifestyle changes and shouldn’t be treated as one. If you are diabetic or insulin resistant and considering this drug, you should also be looking for alternative ways to manage your health concerns than just taking pharmaceuticals. Managing your stress is a big one because stress wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels which can exacerbate these problems further. As well as managing stress, look to intermediate fasting, limiting sugary and starchy foods, building an organic whole food diet focused on high quality protein, as well as always walking after meals to help regulate your blood sugar. Incorporate weight lifting into your wellness regime too to help with insulin sensitivity. Starting to monitor and understand your blood sugar levels and the “glucose spike” is something that we are going to see more and more of next year. Head here for my interview with the ‘Glucose Goddess’, Jessie Inchauspe for some amazing tips and insight.
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST****