While everyone knows Diet and exercise are the most effective and natural way to manage ones weight it would be ridiculous to ignore the significant effects many different types of drugs can have upon aiding or even accelerating the weight loss! With that said, it’s important to note that a viable approach to managing weight should always have it roots firmly grounded in diet and exercise!
The use of drugs enhance this process however is nothing new as scientists have been researching for many years to find that one “wonder pill”. However much of the drugs on the market today either effect the metabolic system or look to influence hormones and the nervous system. Utilising these approaches then can effect either food intake or energy expenditure.
The most common drugs today for managing a persons weight can be broadly split into several different mechanistic types as it looks to influence the person through one of several different pathways;
A – Drugs which are designed to suppress apetite and therfore controll calorie consumption and limit the amount a person eats
B – Drugs that influence the negative feedback loops within the brain neural pathways adding to the feeling of being “full”
C – Drugs that slow the breakdown of food within the gut
D – Drugs which interfere with the absorption of nutrients
E – Thermogenic drugs which look to raise the ever so slightly raise the bodies temperate
F – Drugs which increase the amount of Fat Free Mass (FFM) and therfore the amount of calories burned through the additional muscle tissue
Anuretic Drugs work by suppressing an individuals appetite and the desire to eat which therefore inevitably leads to a reduction in calorie consumption! The pathway to weight loss is simple in the sense that a reduction in calories will cause somewhat of a calorie deficit which over a prolonged period of time will lead to inevitable weight loss. All of these types of drugs resemble the sympathomimetic amines which are released in the body in response to direct stimulation of the nervous system. The nervous system is made up of two different parts; the parasympatheic and the sympathetic each come with their own set of responsibilities within the body. When resting the parasympathetic is the primary system at work often overriding and dominating the sympathetic (SNS) nervious system. The SNS, however, is activated during exercise and states of high-stress whether that be physical or emotional! With this system taking over during these highly stressful times you can therefore imagine the host of mechanistic leavers the body starts to use as our genetic predisposition has hardwired inbuilt responses to allow us to deal with times of stress as for our ancient ancestors this often meant long periods of starvation or you’re about to enter battle with a sabre tooth tiger! The SNS therfore can elevate metablism, fat breakdown and decrease the desire to consume food! It kind of triggers the fight or flight mode that we all have programmed deep within our genetics whether you like it or not! Sympothometic drugs are distant relatives of anphetamines or “speed” for want of a better word! Now by no means are we adovacting you go drop a bomb of whizz and hit the gym but it is important for you to understand the similarities in the structure of Sympothometic drugs as although these types of drugs can be extrremly effective at reducing a person weight they also come some with some pretty hefty warning as they can often invoke the feeling of “euphoria” and therfore become highly addictive through the over stimulation of the brain and central nervous system!
Fenfluramine works by altering the use of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This neurotransmitter is widely known and it dramatically increases in the brain when high carbohydrate meals are consumed. In lean individuals, serotining regulation seems to cause the feeling of being full whereas in people who suffer from obesity their brains serotonin levels are not able to sufficiently regulate their appetite which leads to constant feelings of hunger and cravings for food.
Phentermine can increase a person’s basal metabolic rate through stimulating the nervous system in a similar way to that of caffeine just with a much more potent effect. As it also falls under the sympathomimetic it also triggers the release of noradrenaline which as stated earlier triggers the “fight or flight” response which then triggers the body to break more fat down as use it as fuel as it is trying to predict what the body may have to endure in a pre-historical sense. Due to such strong stimulatory effects, many often report intolerance to consume the drug as it can lead to irritability, restfulness and even anxiety!
There are many other types of drugs which have shown to signifcantly influence a persons weight! if you would like us to post more please comment below!
Exercise Physiology Bsc Graduate, Masters Degree in leadership & Management Graduate and currently a final Year PhD Student. Passionate about Politics, Social Mobility & somewhat of a fitness fanatic!! If my head isn’t in a book it’s usually under a bar.