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Ozempic, produced by Novo Nordisk, is one of the leading GLP-1 receptor agonists.  Originally designed as a diabetes medication, Ozempic (Semaglutide) is now being consumed by everyone from famous celebrities to stay-at-home moms, models, and morbidly obese individuals looking to lose weight.  But at what cost? Let’s delve into the side effects and natural holistic alternatives to the trendy weight loss prescription drug. 

Ozempic mimics the GLP-1 hormone, which increases insulin secretion, decreases glucagon secretion, slows gastric emptying, and promotes satiety, thereby helping to lower blood glucose levels and aid in weight loss. It is administered via subcutaneous injection, typically once a week.

According to recently released data, between 2021 and 2023, Ozempic was prescribed more than 9 million times off-label – meaning for treatment other than diabetes. Many of these prescriptions were for people wanting to lose weight. In recent years, GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic have become a hot topic in the weight loss world. The global market for GLP-1 receptor agonists, including drugs like Ozempic, is growing substantially and rapidly. In 2024, the market is projected to be approximately $23.8 billion, with an anticipated growth rate of 11.4% annually, potentially reaching around $52.6 billion by 2032. Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, and AstraZeneca are among the top players in the GLP-1 receptor agonist market,

“People are talking about them because there is a trend of celebrities and influencers increasingly turning to off-label use of GLP-1 medications like Ozempic for weight loss by people who are not obese or diabetic,” said Dr. Rekha Kumar.

Although many of the stories being reported are positive, saying Ozempic is a “miracle” weight loss drug, what is often not mentioned are the nasty side effects.

Recently, American fitness expert Dr. Jillian Michaels told Bill Maher that while 50 percent of people don’t have side effects, the other half do. “At least 50 percent are going to have gastrointestinal issues, such as vomiting, constipation, and diarrhea, and then it gets more nefarious, but I’m backing into it from the sunlight here, right?”

There are also expensive costs and recurring weight gain after the person stops taking the medication.  “It does stop working at some point. For that reason, right? The body is like, we’ve been doing this exogenously, so I’m gonna make some endogenous adjustments.Right.And you will find homeostasis…So now you have a plateau, and it stops working. Right. Okay, well, you can’t get off of it ever, and all of the meta-analyses show that you will gain all of the weight back, two-thirds, within the first year alone.  There is a devastating weight regain rebound.
It’s yo-yo dieting on crack,” adds Michaels. 

Finally, there are horrid side effects like stomach paralysis, intestinal blockage, and pancreatitis. So, while Ozempic can be a valuable tool for some, especially those struggling with lifestyle changes, it’s essential to consider individual needs and explore natural solutions. The challenge is finding a healthy weight loss solution that works for you. 

Prescription appetite suppressants, like Ozempic, target the body’s natural hunger and fullness cues by influencing two key players: hormones and neurotransmitters. 

Ozempic || A Hormonal Balancing Act

Leptin, a hormone fat cells produce, signals the body to feel full. Ghrelin, on the other hand, tells your brain it’s time to eat. Appetite suppressants work in two ways: mimicking leptin’s effects or suppressing ghrelin production. This essentially tricks your brain into thinking you’re full, reducing your desire to eat.

Brain Chemistry Boost

Some prescription suppressants go beyond hormones and interact with neurotransmitters in the brain, especially serotonin. These chemical messengers influence mood, sleep, and appetite. By increasing serotonin levels, some medications can decrease cravings and make you feel less interested in food.

Weighing the Options

Ozempic isn’t a guaranteed weight loss solution for everyone. Some people see significant results, while others experience minimal effects or unpleasant side effects. 

According to clinical trials, those with a BMI of over 27 have reduced their body weight by up to 15 percent over 68 weeks while using Ozempic. Yet, it isn’t uncommon for an individual to regain back the weight they lost – or more – after stopping this prescription medication. 

Fortunately, you don’t always need weight loss medication to address weight-related problems. Making healthy changes to your diet, exercise routine, and overall food approach can lead to lasting weight loss and better overall health. Here are some reasons why natural methods are often considered a healthier option:

Fewer Side Effects

Ozempic is a medication, and like any drug, it can have potential side effects. 

These side effects range from minor annoyances like constipation, nausea, burping, fatigue, and flatulence to more severe issues like abdominal pain, gallbladder disease, tachycardia, thyroid cancer, and kidney problems. 

If you instead opt for natural strategies for weight loss, as we outline below, you will typically encounter milder or no side effects.

Ozempic VS Tirzepatide

This peptide is a Dual GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist. Tirzepatide activates both GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 receptors. GIP enhances insulin secretion and has other metabolic effects, while GLP-1 has the abovementioned effects. This dual agonism can lead to more effective blood sugar control and weight loss. While both medications can aid in weight loss, tirzepatide has shown more significant weight loss effects in clinical trials than Ozempic.  Some studies have shown that tirzepatide provides greater reductions in HbA1c (a measure of long-term blood glucose control) and body weight compared to GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic. Combining GIP and GLP-1 activity in tirzepatide may lead to a different side effect profile and possibly better tolerability for some patients.

Food Is Thy Medicine

Making healthy dietary changes can significantly impact an individual’s weight loss journey. Changing one’s diet doesn’t need to be drastic. Often, small steps like focusing more on consuming whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins while limiting processed foods, sugary drinks, and healthy fats can help with weight loss. 

In addition, a healthy diet can improve heart health, boost the immune system, and even enhance mood, benefits that medications like Ozempic often cannot provide. 

Sustainable Habits

Making healthy changes like portion control, regular exercise (aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week), and mindful eating (making conscious choices about what and how much you eat) are habits you can stick with for life, leading to lasting weight loss and overall well-being.

Addressing the Root Cause – Why Therapy Helps

Unhealthy relationships with food and underlying emotional triggers can be significant roadblocks to weight loss, leading to the adoption of prescription medication for weight loss. 

Fortunately, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be a powerful tool to address these issues. Through therapy, a person who is trying to lose weight and who also deals with psychological issues surrounding food can explore negative thought patterns and develop healthier coping mechanisms. 

Herbal Remedies and Natural Appetite Control

Herbal weight loss supplements are sometimes marketed as natural ways to control appetite. While these products often claim to block fat or carbs, curb hunger, or boost metabolism, there’s limited scientific evidence to back these claims, but this doesn’t mean they don’t work. 

Yet, as with most things, caution is advised when taking herbal remedies for natural appetite control. Unfortunately, many herbal remedies can have downsides and cause unwanted side effects. That’s why it’s important to approach them cautiously and consult a healthcare provider before use, especially if you have any underlying health conditions. 

If you still want to try herbal remedies, some natural options with potential appetite-suppressing properties that are known to be safe for consumption include:

  • Berberine: This plant compound is popular for its potential blood sugar and weight management benefits
  • Glucomannan: This dietary fiber derived from the konjac root may promote feelings of fullness and reduce appetite. However, it can cause digestive side effects in some people.
  • Green tea: Green tea contains caffeine and a natural compound called EGCG, which may boost metabolism and aid in weight loss.

Picking Your Ideal Weight Loss Journey

Ozempic and natural remedies offer distinctively different weight loss approaches. Which option is ideal for you will depend on your preferences, weight loss objectives, and personal medical history.

Ozempic might be a wise option if you have certain medical conditions. For instance, its dual effects on blood sugar and weight management may benefit those with type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, natural approaches might be more appropriate for people without these illnesses, as they enhance general health and well-being.

While some diet pills have no scientific support, many natural methods promote a long-term, well-rounded path to wellness. In the long run, these approaches provide a healthier and more durable substitute since they concentrate on enhancing general well-being and treating the root causes of weight gain. 

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