A controversial weight-loss medication GLP-1 (the main ingredient of Ozempic) raises huge questions on the long-term effects and who should be taking it. Here, 3 industry experts weigh in on its implications and why an informed approach is key.


GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) medications are on the rise and have controversially garnered attention by those seeking rapid and dramatic weight loss. Developed to manage Type 2 diabetes, it lowers blood sugar levels and reduces potential heart attack risks in adults. As a weight loss remedy, the medication works by mimicking the action of GLP-1, a naturally occurring hormone, to effectively suppress the appetite and delay digestion process. “One of the ways that GLP-1 receptor agonists work to reduce weight is by slowing gastric emptying which may increase the risk of vomiting and aspirating food during anaesthesia. Severe gastric problems can also occur with recent studies that have found an increase in risk for pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction and gastroparesis when taking GLP-1 receptor agonists,” says Dr Ruhil Badiani, Family Physician at Cornerstone Clinic.


With its widespread adoption, it’s important to arm yourself with guided knowledge of its side effects, particularly for women. Dr. Mahadevan, Ayurvedic Physician at Wellth says, “Women who engage in crash diets frequently have amenorrhoea, which is the absence of periods for more than three months as a result of severe weight loss and starvation.”

“One of the most noticeable adverse effects for women who follow ‘fad diets’ (or use weight-loss injectables in this case) without obtaining appropriate guidance from professionals is an aged face. Rapid weight loss can cause the skin on the face to sag and wrinkles to appear as well as have a hollowed out or gaunt appearance,” shares Dr Badiani.


When it comes to weight loss, there are no hard and fast rules. Administering these injectables for weight loss exposes users to risks that come with inherent dangers without any lifestyle changes. “Successful weight management with GLP-1 medications requires supervision by a team of doctors, lifestyle coaches, and dieticians who can help titrate the medication correctly and ensure proper diet and exercise,” says Zeina Abdalla, meta[bolic] & Zone.Health Co-Founder.

“Abruptly stopping the medication without this support can lead to weight regain. Additionally, patients who do not incorporate strength training into their routine may experience muscle mass loss.” Additionally, the rise of this injectable appetite suppressant leads to misuse and supply problems for patients who need it for its intended purpose. Dr Badiani expresses, “Unfortunately, their popularity is causing a shortage in stocks of the medications which can be detrimental to those that require it for treatment of Type 2 diabetes.”


Instead of looking for shortcuts, one should take considered steps to achieving and maintaining your ideal body goals. A holistic approach and non-invasive options are beneficial over time. Dr. Mahadevan, recommends harnessing the power of Ayurveda to manage your weight. “The ancient Ayurvedic traditions state that being over- weight is a result of an innate excess in kapha dosha. Although there may be other factors contributing to the struggles with being overweight, kapha is undoubtedly a significant one,” he says. “By using the knowledge of Ayurveda to manage your weight, you can avoid starving yourself or unnecessarily limiting the range of foods you can eat, as well as failing to focus on quick fixes that won’t work in the long run. You won’t shed a few kilos rapidly only to regain them later. Instead, you will take a clear, sustainable, and time-tested approach to good health that is customised as per your body type.

While you may need to practice discipline at first, it won’t be long before the body’s natural intelligence returns, replacing unhealthy cravings with more balanced urges.” Alternatively, Abdalla suggests, “Integrating technology and apps can also provide valuable support and motivation on the journey to a healthier lifestyle. Using tools like the Oura ring for managing sleep, fitness tracking and stress, and a CGM for monitoring blood sugar levels, can help women gain a better understanding of their bodies by analysing the data.”

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