The truth about Ozempic

It started as a Hollywood craze and now Ozempic is one of the most discussed topics when talking about weight management, mainly because of its relative accessibility via many internet providers.


What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a semaglutide drug used clinically to manage type 2 diabetes. This drug mimics a naturally occurring hormone (gop1) released by the gut that increases insulin secretion and helps regulate appetite. Gop1 is released in the body after eating to make you feel full and signal the brain to stop eating. 
It is used in diabetic patients to help reduce weight (one of the first interventions to manage this condition) as well as lower cholesterol, blood pressure, CRP (an inflammatory marker) and blood sugar levels.

Why it is used for weight management?

Long gone are the days when weight management was only a question of Kcal in/out, eating less and exercising more. There are different kinds of obesity and causes that can lead to a significant weight increase – hormones dysregulation, thyroid problems, trauma, etc…

At times, willpower and reducing kcal are not enough to reach a healthy weight. When going on a very low kcal diet, our body goes into starvation mode: we get hungrier, our metabolic rate goes down, and muscles become more efficient in using kcal as they want to preserve body fat in a state of famine. That’s why we can be successful on a 30-day intense programme but then bounce back – our hormones have changed and willpower is not enough anymore!

In this case, a medical doctor might recommend Ozempic to suppress hunger if reducing weight is crucial to improve overall health. 

This is not a shortcut as patients have to keep on watching what they are eating as this medication works only for as long as it is taken – education around food and diet is essential to make Ozempic weight-loss effects long-lasting. Studies have shown that one year after stopping the drug, an individual on average, regains two-thirds of the weight lost during this therapy; as Ozempic appetite suppressive effect goes away, patients tend to return to their eating habits and the excessive weight creeps back.

Update July 2023: The NHS is currently facing supply issues with a range of semaglutide drugs (including Ozempic) used for managing blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The latest guidance from Diabetes UK is to avoid prescribing these drugs outside of their approved use, until the shortages end (predicted until at least mid-2024).

What are the side effects?

Ozempic can have several gastrointestinal side-effects: nausea, diarrhoea, constipation, heartburn, vomiting and increased risk of pancreatitis, gallstone and gallbladder disease.

To moderate and manage side effects, Ozempic intake has to be monitored by a GP, starting with a low dose to be increased monthly after an in-person assessment. Being a drug used to manage diabetes, there is also a risk of hypoglycaemic episodes if the diet is not monitored.

Is it OK to get Ozempic via the Internet?

As it is a hormone-mimicking drug, it can only be prescribed by a medical doctor after an in-person consultation that attests to the absolute need for such a medication. It shouldn't be used as a shortcut to losing some pounds before holidays or an event.

Getting Ozempic through the Internet won’t guarantee continuous medical monitoring and the dietary modification support essential for this drug to work effectively.

What are the alternatives?

If your medical doctor doesn’t believe Ozempic is an option for you, get in touch with a registered nutritionist or nutritional therapist who will advise you on a diet to help you reach your goals. A personalised diet considers different imbalances and how to support your body through this journey, and your therapist will help you when willpower starts fading.

Avoid getting a diabetic drug via websites without a proper and constant medical assessment – it will most surely impact your health, and when the treatment is over, you might be back to square one!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, W1S 1HP
Written by Lucia Stansbie, Registered Nutritional Therapist, Dip CNM, mBANT, mCNHC
London, W1S 1HP

Lucia Stansbie, BANT registered Nutritional Therapist founder of Food Power Nutrition

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