Folks, let’s talk about Ozempic.
Today we will be discussing the notorious TikTok-endorsed weight loss drug, Ozempic. We dive into the research about these medications and discuss potential risks and benefits.
It’s been called the secret miracle weight loss drug of the Hollywood elite. It’s been rumored to be linked to the Kardashians’ recent body transformations and celebrities like Elon Musk.
WHAT IS OZEMPIC?
So let’s start with some cold hard facts. First of all, as many of you may know, Ozempic is not even a medication for weight loss, it’s currently only approved for diabetes. But the active ingredient in ozempic, semaglutide, is also found in a drug that IS approved for obesity called Wegovy. And when Wegovy demand outdid supply earlier on in the year, doctors started to prescribe Ozempic off-label for weight loss because the active ingredient was the same.
HOW THESE WEIGHT LOSS DRUGS WORKS
Wegovy and Ozempic are all GLP-1 agonists aka glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists. The word agonist means it acts similarly to our bodies natural hormone GLP-1. This hormone has a multitude of benefits, but in short, it helps slow down food absorption in the stomach so you feel fuller longer, it regulates insulin and blood sugars, and most importantly, it helps tell your brain that you are full.
Ultimately, these drugs significantly suppress hunger, and this tends to make achieving a calorie deficit a lot easier. In fact, its been shown to reduce calorie intake by 35% without changing people’s perceived hunger levels in the day. In other words, you can eat less, and not feel hungry.
This unique mechanism is arguably the essential key to long term weight loss success. This drug is essentially suppressing the body’s natural compensatory mechanisms that kick into high gear whenever we’re in a calorie deficit. Normally, when on a diet, our body fights to maintain body weight homeostasis by increasing hunger hormones, and decreasing satiety hormones in a desperate effort to make us eat more.
Without a medication like Ozempic, the body is programmed to ramp up your appetite with every extra pound of body weight you lose. Some research even suggests that these hunger adaptations persist for years after the diet ends.
Aside from physical hunger, Ozempic and Wegovy also reduce cravings and help people feel more in control of their food intake. Again, this is revolutionary in the weight loss world because typically people who have lost weight experience more cravings and less satisfaction after eating, which in turn can derail long term efforts.
Bottom line – these weight loss drugs are not magic, they still require a calorie deficit to work. But because of the impact on physical satiety and psychological satisfaction, they make obtaining that deficit much much easier. So those are the facts.
SIDE EFFECTS OF OZEMPIC
These medications are not without side effects. The most common side effect is nausea, followed by the other usual GI suspects. Thankfully, most report the nausea declines pretty steadily over time. But for a lot of folks, it’s completely debilitating with a lot of users describing being suddenly repulsed by even seeing their favourite foods. Some even reported being turned off or filled up too quickly by water, which can potentially put one at risk for dehydration as well. There are more potential side effects like thyroid cancer seen in animal research, plus pancreatitis or gallstones.
But not unlike a birth control pill, antidepressant, or even an antibiotic, medicine is all about risk and benefit. It’s all about weighing the potential discomforts or risks with the potential benefits, both immediate and long-term. Different people are also going to react differently, and for some those risks or discomforts won’t outweigh the benefits of the drug. This is why it’s important to work with your doctor to determine if an intervention like this is right for you.
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