Lately, we're hearing more and more about a new medication called Ozempic in the media. Influencers and celebrities are touting its weight loss benefits, and it's even been called a "miracle" by some. So, what is Ozempic? Is it really a new weight loss medication, or is it just another fad? And, is it safe? Let's look at what we know about Ozempic.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic was developed to treat diabetes. Ozempic is a once-weekly injectable medication that can help control blood sugar levels by helping the pancreas produce insulin and by helping the body use insulin more effectively. This can lead to better blood sugar control and may help reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes, such as heart disease and stroke.
Semaglutide: The Root of Ozempic
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 analog (GLP-1) for the treatment of diabetes and obesity. It is a man-made drug that is similar to a hormone that occurs naturally in the gut. It works by increasing the release of insulin from the pancreas after meals. This lowers the amount of sugar in the blood.
Semaglutide is used together with diet and exercise to treat type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide is not for treating type 1 diabetes, as it would not be effective.
Semaglutide is also used for long-term weight management in adults who are obese or overweight, and have a weight-related medical problem. Semaglutide should not be used for weight loss in people who are not obese or overweight, and could lower their weight through other means such as exercise or diet.
How Does Ozempic Work in the Body?
Ozempic works by mimicking the action of GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate insulin production. Ozempic helps the pancreas produce insulin in response to meals and also helps the body use insulin more effectively. This can lead to better blood sugar control, which can help reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes.
It's important to note that Ozempic is not a cure for diabetes and it is not a replacement for insulin. Ozempic is a treatment that can help control blood sugar levels, but it is not a cure. The decision to start Ozempic or any other diabetes treatment should be made by you and your healthcare team, taking into account your individual needs and medical condition.
Diabetes is a serious condition that can cause a range of complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and blindness. If you have diabetes, it is important to work with your healthcare team to manage your condition and minimize your risk of complications and not start any new treatment without first talking to your healthcare team.
Can Ozempic Help You Lose Weight?
Ozempic can help you lose weight, but it's not a weight-loss medication. Ozempic can help you lose weight by improving your blood sugar control. When your blood sugar is under control, your body may be better able to burn stored fat for energy, which can lead to weight loss.
Ozempic is not a weight-loss medication, and it is not meant to be used for weight loss. If you are overweight or obese, your healthcare team may recommend lifestyle changes and weight-loss treatments to help you lose weight.
How Does Ozempic Help Control Weight?
Blood sugar levels are regulated by the hormone insulin. When blood sugar levels are high, insulin is released from the pancreas to move the sugar from the blood into the cells, where it is used for energy. Ozempic is a medication that helps to lower blood sugar by increasing the amount of insulin that is released after eating.
Your weight and your sugar intake are two major factors that affect your insulin levels. If you are overweight, your body may not be able to produce enough insulin to control your blood sugar levels. Ozempic can help you lose weight by making it easier for your body to produce insulin and by helping you to feel fuller after eating, but it is not a magic bullet. You will still need to eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise to lose weight, as well as to keep your blood sugar levels under control.
So while Ozempic can help with weight loss by improving insulin sensitivity, it’s not a weight loss drug per se, nor should it be used as one. The weight loss may just be a benefit of using the drug to control blood sugar if you have diabetes.
Ozempic Drug Interactions and Side Effects
Ozempic has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials. In these studies, some side effects were reported. Most common side effects are:
- Abdominal pain
- Injection site reactions
Less common side effects include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Upper respiratory tract infections
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms or those listed in the IMPORTANT WARNING section, call your doctor immediately:
- Blurred vision
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Unusual fatigue
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes
Ozempic has interactions with other medications. Ozempic may increase the risk for hypoglycemia when taken with other diabetes medications such as insulin or sulfonylureas. Ozempic may also increase the risk of dehydration when taken with thiazide diuretics. The full list of potential drug interactions should be discussed with your healthcare provider.
Better Ways To Promote Weight Loss
While celebrities may be promoting Ozempic as a way to lose weight, it is not the only way to shed pounds. If you are looking for a more sustainable and healthier way to lose weight, consider the following:
1. Cut back on processed foods.
Processed foods are often high in calories, sugar, and unhealthy fats, which can contribute to weight gain. Instead, focus on eating more whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Plant-based diets have been shown to be effective for weight loss and can also help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
2. Get active.
It's obvious, but it's also true: regular physical activity can help you lose weight and keep it off. To make the most of your workout, aim for 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise most days of the week. And, if you can, try to avoid long periods of sitting or lying down; research has shown that too much sedentary behavior can lead to weight gain.
3. Make sleep a priority.
Getting enough sleep is important for both physical and mental health. In fact, studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain. To make sure you're getting enough shut-eye, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
4. Practice mindful eating.
Mindful eating is a form of mindfulness that can help you be more aware of your eating habits. It can help you eat less and make healthier choices. To practice mindful eating, try to eat without distractions, such as TV or your phone. Instead, focus on your food and how it makes you feel. Chew slowly and savor each bite. Meditate on the taste, texture, and smell of your food. And, when you're full, stop eating.
5. Try weight loss therapy.
Food, and our relationship with it, is entirely psychological. For many, food is used as a form of self-care, providing comfort in times of stress. As a result, unhealthy eating habits can be difficult to break. If you're struggling to lose weight on your own, consider seeking help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in weight loss. They can help you identify the thoughts and emotions that are triggering your unhealthy eating, and develop a plan to change them.
6. Get support from friends and family.
Losing weight can be tough, but it's easier when you have the support of friends and family. Ask your loved ones to help you stay on track with your weight loss goals. They can do things like cooking healthy meals with you, going on walks or runs with you, or simply offering words of encouragement. When you have people in your corner, you're more likely to succeed.
7. Seek medical help.
If you're struggling to lose weight, it's important to talk to your doctor. They can help you rule out any underlying health conditions that may be causing your weight gain. They can also offer guidance on how to lose weight in a safe and healthy way.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.