Are fat-loss shots a ticking timebomb? Doctors warn Ozempic & Wegovy are shrinking patients’ muscles
Ozempic and Wegovy are shrinking patients' muscles “at an alarming rate” and could increase their risk of health problems later in life, a leading doctor has warned.
Dr. Peter Attia, a doctor in Austin, Texas, warns that the drug is not a “magic bullet” for weight loss — despite it taking Hollywood by storm.
They prompt patients to lose muscle equal to fat, he says, which he thinks makes them metabolically “fatter” because they have a higher percentage of fat to muscle.
It follows other doctors who voiced similar concerns to DailyMail.com last month, warning that rapid muscle loss puts patients at risk of rapid weight gain after stopping the drug.
Ozone triggers muscle loss and can actually make patients fat, according to a leading doctor, because it causes patients to have a higher percentage of body fat to muscle
The celebrity doctor pictured above sounded the alarm through his podcast The Drive and his Instagram account (pictured above)
Pictured above is Khalin Grant, 41, from Florida, who lost 75 pounds in seven months while taking weekly Wegovy injections. She said she now wears a smaller size than when she was in college. Wegovy and Ozempic are similar in that they both use the same drug, semaglutide, but in different doses. Slightly higher dose of Wegovy
Treated patients are also losing lean muscle mass, which can worsen their long-term health, Dr. Attia said on his podcast The Drive.
He added in an early video on Instagram: “Almost without exception, every patient we have on this drug loses muscle mass. I'm shocked at how quickly they lose muscle.
He continued: “If you weigh 280 pounds, it's not uncommon for you to lose some muscle and some fat by the time you get to 180 pounds.
“But let's be clear, if you lose 10 pounds of muscle and 10 pounds of fat and go from 200 pounds to 180 pounds, is that going to be okay?
’ Well, only if you start with more than 50% body fat. Otherwise, your muscle will be lost disproportionately to fat.
He added: “In fact, the thinner you get, the fatter you get.”
A higher fat-to-muscle ratio puts a person at increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, frailty, and many other health complications.
That's because fat — the visceral fat that coats your organs — produces more dangerous proteins that can inflame body tissues and organs and start narrowing blood vessels.
Ozempic and Wegovy — $1,000 a month for weekly injections — trick people into thinking they're full by mimicking hunger hormones in their bodies.
This curbs calorie intake without making people feel hungry, which promotes weight loss. But doctors say patients often lose more muscle than fat while taking the drug because they don't get enough protein.
Dr. Attia explained that his clinic now has patients undergo muscle and body fat scans.
Those using Wegovy will also need to eat a high-protein diet and do regular resistance exercise.
These help maintain muscle cells and ensure that patients using Wegovy will gain the majority of their weight loss from their body fat.
He added: “If we've exhausted all dietary options and we're going to consider Ozempic, you have to [Body muscle to body fat] To scan first, you have to have very clear guidelines on what's going on.
“We work closely with patients taking these drugs to make sure their protein intake doesn't change.
“So if you're 200 pounds and your goal weight is 180 pounds, you're still going to be eating 200 grams of protein a day, and you're going to be exercising as much as before, and if you do, then, yes, You can actually lose a disproportionate amount of fat.
In the long term, muscle loss carries a greater risk of weakness and reduced mobility, which can increase the risk of falls and fractures.
Now this also means that the body burns fewer calories per day, since muscle has a higher metabolic cost than fat.
This means that if Wegovy users return to their original diet, they are likely to regain weight and gain more weight than they started.
That could happen to TikToker and plus-size model Remi Bader, who revealed she's “tripled” in weight after taking Ozempic.
Dr. Attia also expressed concern about the number of non-obese people signing up for the drug.
He said in the video: “Maybe what bothers me more is the people who reach out to me who are frankly not overweight, but say ‘I really want to lose 10 pounds so I can look good on my vacation. Prettier, I should be taking this, right?”.
Four weight-loss drugs including Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro were filled with more than 5 million prescriptions last year, triple the number from the previous year, health care company Komodo reported.
The drugs are only approved for people with type 2 diabetes, but data show that a quarter of prescriptions in 2022 will be off-label for people without the condition.
These are most common in Texas, followed by Florida, California, New York and Georgia.
But as popularity soared, more doctors emerged from the woodwork, warning of potential side effects.
The picture above is patient Ana McKenna before and after using Wegovy.She said she lost one to two pounds a week while taking the drug
New York City endocrinologist Dr. Florence Comite previously warned DailyMail.com that people taking the drug will “absolutely” lose muscle mass.
“You don't eat enough, you don't get enough protein, you feel sick, so you eat comfort foods like mashed potatoes or rice, but there's so little protein,” she told the site last month.
“What we see in the center, is usually more muscle loss than fat loss [in patients].
“At least 50 percent of patients experience muscle loss.”
In patients in their 40s and 50s, she explained, there was a balance between a loss of about 60 percent in muscle and a loss of about 40 percent in fat, whether they were obese or overweight.
She warns that this is due to patients consuming too little protein while on the drug, leading to more muscle loss.
Many patients also need more resistance training, such as lifting weights or using weight training machines that protect muscles, she said.
Older patients also had lower levels of the hormone testosterone, which is associated with maintaining muscle in the body.
Dr. Attia runs the Early Care Clinic in Austin, Texas. He has many celebrity clients, including Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman and award-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Novo Nordisk, which owns Wegovy and Ozempic, said: “In the clinical trials of Wegovy (semaglutide), we did not look specifically at the effect of the drug on muscle mass.
“However, in a substudy of 140 patients with a BMI of 40 or less…analysis showed that treatment with Wegovy was associated with a reduction in both fat and lean body mass.
“Although lean body mass (including muscle mass) decreased in absolute terms, lean body mass increased as a percentage of total body mass.”
Scientists warn of potentially deadly side effects of celebrity favorite weight-loss drugs Wegovy and Ozempic
Medical experts warn that Wegovy and similar weight-loss shots could cause potentially fatal side effects that were overlooked in trials.
The blockbuster drug works by mimicking the actions of GLP-1, a hormone that slows down the movement of food through the gut — making people feel full for longer.
But researchers in China believe the drugs could cause people's small intestines to enlarge, making them highly susceptible to potentially fatal blockages in the digestive system.
In experiments on mice, intestinal enlargement occurred when the GLP-1 drug was taken for about 20 months. The clinical trial of Wegovy, which has a price tag of more than $1,000 per month, lasted only 16 months, the team noted, meaning this significant long-term side effect may have been overlooked.
The researchers also reviewed previous studies in humans showing that users of these types of drugs were four times more likely to develop bowel obstructions.
‘because [this class of drugs] May result in a sustained increase in intestinal length and villi height, and the small intestine may become less elastic…leading to long-term upper bowel obstruction,” the scientists wrote.
Intestinal obstruction occurs when a blockage prevents food and fluid from passing through the intestine. This can be due to damage to the digestive system, cancer, or inflammation or stretching of the gut.