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Obesity is a growing concern, as emphasized by our “Why Obesity is Spreading Worldwide?” article. Being diagnosed as obese is more than just having excessive fat stored within the body. It is a major risk factor for diseases, including diabetes, heart problems, and certain cancers.
Given these serious effects on an individual’s health, it’s no surprise that there has been an increase in the demand for weight loss interventions, including lifestyle changes, special diets, and fitness programs. However, one way to address obesity that has recently become more popular is the use of medical weight loss medications. Through these medicines, obese individuals can lose a significant amount of weight that may otherwise have been hard to shed through traditional methods. For those who are familiar with Ayurvedic medicine, such an approach may already be familiar. So, what is the difference between medical weight loss medications and time-tested Ayurvedic diet medications? Read on to find out.
Ayurvedic weight loss medication
Ayurvedic medicine is a traditional approach to health and wellness. The system aims to promote physical, mental, and spiritual health through exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
What makes Ayurveda stand out is the use of common herbs, such as cumin, licorice root, turmeric, cardamom, and others, to address certain health concerns. These are often ingested to improve gut health, reduce pain and swelling in the joints, enhance concentration, and other conditions people want to address.
Considering how this approach can benefit the body as a whole, there are also Ayurvedic medicines used to help with weight loss. For example, Guggul is a popular option for treating obesity in Ayurvedic medicine as it can help suppress appetite and induce weight loss. They are available as 500g of gum guggul that can be taken three times a day to help see the effects on the body. It should be noted, though, that while many have seen success with these medications, they are often listed as supplements that cannot guarantee any effects. Additionally, some find that they need to develop a tolerance for these medicines before any benefits manifest.
Medical weight loss medication
Currently, there are a few FDA-approved medical weight loss drugs that help address obesity and are used in doctor-led diet programs. These aim to target the biological limitations that make weight loss challenging, such as genetics or illness. Some popular medications include the semaglutide-based Wegovy, which is administered using a single-dose injection pen.
Given the interest in these medications, some lesser-known medications but similarly effective drugs have been introduced in the market. Using Qsymia for weight loss is gaining traction as it contains phentermine, which was found to help lose around 10% to 11% of total body weight after a year of taking the max dose of 15mg. Additionally, those who took the starting dose of 3.7mg also lost 5% of their total body weight after a year. It is important to note that taking these medications requires making lifestyle changes, such as more exercise and adopting a healthier diet, to fully maximize the effects of the medication.
Choosing the right medication
Since both Ayurvedic and medical weight loss medication have their benefits, you might be wondering which one is better. The truth is, there is no strict definition of what the “right” medication is because it all depends on how your body reacts, your access to these medications, and what your healthcare provider recommends for you.
Ayurvedic is generally more accessible since anyone who has access to the proper herbs can take the necessary doses to help with weight loss. On the other hand, medical weight loss drugs are only prescribed to those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 and up. Some exceptions can also be made for those with a BMI of 27 as long as they also experience conditions like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, the Times of India previously reported that these FDA-approved weight loss drugs are also prone to shortages, making them rather challenging to consistently source.
Finally, you should also consider the side effects. While taking guggul is considered safe when following the recommended dose, some side effects may include skin rashes, mild diarrhea, hiccups, and irregular menstrual cycles. Alternatively, drugs like Wegovy and Qsymia can cause nausea, constipation, and fatigue. As such, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to safely proceed with the most compatible medication for your body.