Supplements vs Medications
Many of my patients tell me they are starting on supplements for their weight. I’ve even had other physicians tell me this as well. As a nation, we spend $2.1 billion dollars on weight loss supplements per year. I often wonder why buy a supplement instead of taking a proven medication. Supplements are regulated by the FDA but do not require premarket review or even approval by the FDA as they are not labeled as drugs. In other words, they don’t need to be shown to be effective or even safe. That’s a big reason why we don’t offer them at our clinic. I have a hard time asking patients to pay for something that may not work and may cause problems. The new medications (semaglutide, tirzepatide) that are available are proven to work and we know the health risks in taking them. Ask around and you’ll hear about it. It’s the biggest breakthrough in medical weight loss probably ever. Why spend your hard earned money on supplements that aren’t proven to work? If there was a magic pill out there, we’d all know about it. While these medications may be much more expensive than the supplements, we know they work. We’ve also had a fair amount of success getting them covered by insurance as well. I know patients feel that if something is natural, it’s better for them. The new medications are copies of the hormones that our body already makes. What’s more natural than that? If you want to find out more about weight loss supplements, the National Institutes of Health has a great website dedicated to it at https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/WeightLoss-Consumer/. If you are starting a weight loss supplement, please speak to your physician to make sure it’s safe for you.