Hair Loss and Ozempic: Is There a Link?
May 30. 2023
Ozempic weight loss has helped millions of people achieve their weight goals. This novel medication does wonders to boost weight loss efforts and assist people with obesity or those who are overweight to attain a healthy weight. But like any weight loss drug, Ozempic comes with a list of common side effects. While hair loss is not on that list, some patients have claimed to experience this uncomfortable side effect. Could there be a connection between Ozempic and hair loss? And why do some people start losing hair when they lose weight?
When you work towards massive and rapid weight loss or a body recomposition – losing weight and gaining muscle mass – your body goes under a lot of stress. It is normal to develop some unwanted side effects – such as hair loss – when undergoing major physical changes. And medical weight-loss drugs, like any medication, can usually lead to some adverse effects. However, no two bodies react the same to those changes, and no two weight loss journeys look the same. Most people using Ozempic never suffer hair loss issues, but there is still a slight chance that could happen.
Are you thinking about starting Ozempic for weight loss? In this article, our weight loss clinic in Chicago weight loss specialists will unravel the mystery behind Ozempic and hair loss. If this subject makes you second guess using this medication, continue reading.
What is Ozempic, and how does it work?
Ozempic is a type 2 diabetes medication developed and manufactured by Novo Nordisk – a Danish pharmaceutical company. This medication was approved by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) back in 2017 to help diabetic patients manage blood sugar levels. Ozempic is the urban name of the active compound Semaglutide, which mimics a receptor agonist called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This receptor agonist triggers insulin release from the pancreas while decreasing glucose production from the liver. That effect keeps high blood glucose levels away.
People in this medical program must take Ozempic once a week through subcutaneous injections. You can apply the injections on your own and from the comfort of your home. The treatment starts with Ozempic’s lowest dosage (0.25mg a week). After a month, a professional healthcare provider can increase the dose by another 0.25mg. Your doctor will continue to slowly increase the weekly dose until you reach the amount your body requires. Or until you attain the maximum allowed dose of 2mg per week. How long does Ozempic take to work? For weight loss purposes, you will start seeing substantial results after a few weeks when you reach a higher dose. Some patients experience significant weight loss after only two weeks into the treatment.
How does Ozempic lead you to weight loss?
As mentioned, Semaglutide – Ozempic’s active ingredient – makes your body release insulin and stops it from producing too much glucose. Besides lowering blood sugar levels, that process also comes with an appetite-suppressing effect. Ozempic’s effect is similar to many appetite-suppressing weight loss medications, such as Phentermine for weight loss. Ozempic slows down your gastric emptying – how fast food leaves your stomach. When that process slows down, food will stay in your stomach longer. That will make you feel full for an extra period after you have a meal.
Ozempic receptor agonist also targets the appetite areas in your brain. That will make you fill less hungry and also help you make wiser food choices. When taking this medication, it is likely you will choose a piece of fruit for dessert instead of a sugary treat. Your taste for unhealthy foods will not disappear entirely, but you will have fewer cravings.
Since Ozempic helps reduce your appetite, it does not burn calories on its own. Therefore, a healthy, low-calorie diet and regular exercise are necessary to achieve your weight loss goals. If you are wondering: why am I not losing weight on Ozempic? Maybe you relied solely on this medication and neglected a proper diet and physical activity. At the end of the day, it is up to you to make habit changes and lead a healthy lifestyle that will take you to your dream goals. Ozempic will make that journey much more seamless and quick.
Does Ozempic cause hair loss?
You may have read or heard of some patients claiming they experience hair loss while on Ozempic. Hair loss or hair thinning is a possibility while using this medication. But those effects are more likely to occur due to your body’s physical changes than due to solely taking the drug. During Novo Nordisk’s clinical trials, hair loss was not found as one of the typical or rare side effects of Ozempic. Ozempic common side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea. While those side effects tend to go away once you get used to the medication, there are Ozempic and Mounjaro foods to avoid developing or increasing them.
Most patients that experience hair loss while taking Ozempic are taking the drug for weight management purposes and also to treat diabetes. One effect type 2 diabetes can have on the body is increased hair loss. When blood glucose levels remain high for too long – a common symptom of this condition – that can damage the small blood vessels on the scalp. Those small blood vessels are the ones in charge of delivering nutrients and oxygen to your hair follicles. Therefore, having type 2 diabetes can cause your hair to fall out or slow down your hair growth. But as you can see, those results come from this health condition, and it is not directly related to taking Ozempic.
If you take Ozempic for weight loss management and start losing hair, that could be for many reasons, from your body not absorbing nutrients properly to a lack of essential vitamins. While there is no evidence from any study that this medication causes hair loss, some patients may still experience this side effect. However, it is more likely that hair loss happens due to losing substantial weight in a short period.
Why does hair loss happen when you lose weight?
The health benefits of losing weight are countless – better mood, improved sleep, less risk of weight-related disease, more mobility, and better self-esteem, among other advantages. However, losing a significant amount of weight comes with a quote of stress for our bodies that can lead to temporary unwanted adverse effects. Hair loss is one of the possible side effects of losing too much weight too quickly.
How weight loss can cause hair loss? If you are trying or have lost a large amount of body weight too fast, perhaps you have developed a temporary hair loss condition known as telogen effluvium. Telogen effluvium is the most common type of hair loss condition. You develop it when you go through too much stress or major physical changes. Basically, this condition disturbs your hair growth cycle – anagen (growth phase), catagen (resting phase), and telogen (shedding phase). It leads your hair directly to the telogen or shedding phase, which causes it to fall out quicker and more than it usually would.
It is entirely normal to shed a bit of hair every day – on average, we lose between 50 to 100 hairs daily. But if you are on a weight loss journey and notice your hair falling out more than usual, you may have developed telogen effluvium. Any dermatologist can diagnose this condition if you schedule a quick appointment. The good news is that as telogen effluvium comes, it often goes away. Once you stop making significant changes and your body gets used to your new weight, your hair will stop falling and start growing normally again.
How can I prevent hair loss when taking Ozempic for weight loss?
As mentioned, telogen effluvium will eventually stop affecting your hair growth. This condition usually appears three months into your weight loss journey, and it last between 3 to 6 months. Nevertheless, if you want to prevent or decrease hair loss, you try using any of the methods:
Improve your nutritional diet
Using a strict low-calorie diet as a weight loss tool can sometimes lead to a nutritional deficit. Protein and vitamin deficiency can cause many health issues like a weak immune system, body pain, hair thinning, and loss. Low levels of essential nutrients such as vitamin D, iron, zinc, and protein can aggravate hair thinning, breakage, and hair loss. But the lack of some proteins is what will definitely worsen this condition. Hair is mainly made of a protein named keratine; this protein deficiency will compromise your hair health. Our bodies produce keratin naturally, but there are certain foods you can include in your diet to boost keratin production. Another vital protein is collagen; this protein can promote hair growth and help you have healthy hair, nails, and skin.
Make sure your diet plan includes foods rich in protein and iron. You can also talk to a nutritionist healthcare provider; consult them about a meal plan with a low-calorie intake but enough sources of essential nutrients.
Consider taking supplements
Do you feel like, despite your best efforts, you can not provide your body with essential nutrients through your diet? That is a widespread issue among people following strict weight loss diets or vegetarian meal plans. Thankfully, there are tons of nutritional supplements you can resort to. For example, you can boost your diet with protein or iron powder supplements.
The carnitine vs. creatine supplements battle is common among people working out and trying to lose weight. When looking for supplements that promote hair growth, carnitine wins this battle. Carnitine helps transport fatty acids that then enter your hair follicles. Those fatty acids are burned to produce energy; the extra energy makes your hair follicles function better, and that prevents rapid hair loss.
Resort to stress-lowering methods
Individuals develop telogen effluvium when trying to achieve rapid weight loss because their bodies go under a lot of stress through the process. That is normal, and that extra stress will go away once you reach your goal weight. However, you can engage in certain activities to lower your stress levels and avoid rapid hair loss. The possibilities are endless; you can try meditation, walking, exercising, or anything that helps you let go of the stress of your everyday life.
See a dermatologist
Does the hair loss problem persist? Could there be an underlying condition causing your hair loss? The best option is to see a professional healthcare provider. Any experienced dermatologist will be able to diagnose your hair loss condition. They will also advise you on the most efficient way to treat it.
There is no direct link between Ozempic and hair loss. This condition has not been found as one of the side effects of this weight loss medication. However, when undergoing massive weight loss, your body is put under a lot of stress. That stress and all the physical changes can lead to telogen effluvium – abnormal and rapid hair loss. That condition should go away after you reach your goal weight. In case you experience severe hair loss or the symptoms do not go away, you must talk with a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist, about this issue.
Do you need help with your weight loss journey with Ozempic? You can schedule a call with our team. We will gladly answer all your questions regarding side effects and the most effective ways to achieve substantial weight loss with Ozempic.
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