Xenical: The Definitive Solution for Weight Loss?
Xenical is one of the newest and most innovative drugs to hit the market. Its main compound is Orlistat, a drug accepted in most countries, which has great fat dissolving potential, making it excellent for weight loss.
Unlike many drugs that self-attribute “anti-obesity” title, Xenical does not use serotonin inhibitors, since their effect occurs in the intestine and not in the brain, with neurotransmitters.
Doctors prescribe this drug in patients with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 30, however, there are exceptions such as those patients with other added comorbidities, like hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, etc., where the required BMI is 27.
Beyond obesity, we can use Xenical when we want to maintain weight or lose a little weight. Many times, when specialist perform procedures to lose weight and we want to maintain the results over a long period, your doctor may prescribe Xenical.
In addition, we must remember that many weight loss benefits go beyond cardiovascular system improvement, such as decreased load on your joints, increased lung capacity, improved sexual performance, and so on. Therefore, according to what your doctor considers, we can use Xenical under endless circumstances.
How it works - Taking out the Fats
Under normal conditions, your intestine can absorb fats; however, absorbing these compounds is not as easy as it seems.
The fat really needs to dissolve or degrade to pass through the small pores left by our intestine for food’s passage needed to support us.
Let us imagine our intestine as a large strainer with tiny holes, and fats as large necklaces made of many pearls joined.
To be able to absorb the fats and allow these large molecules (necklace) passage, we need collaborators to degrade that necklace to only pearls. This role corresponds to an enzyme called lipase, responsible for degrading fats to minor substances called lipids.
The lipids can pass through intestine’s absorption membranes, however, Xenical acts on the lipase, decreasing its capacity to degrade fats, which end up in the feces.
Xenical’s limitation or blockage is at least 30%. It is impossible to create a total limitation of absorbed fats, since many important elements have fats, such as vitamins and essential oils. In fact, fats are a fundamental component to be able to exist, life is impossible without the ingestion of some lipids. However, the effect of Orlistat does not completely limit the absorption of fats, thus allowing the passage of important vitamins and other nutrients.
Several studies confirm the effectiveness of Xenical, even on a population as large as 30.000 patients, came to the conclusion that weight loss, and the benefits it brings with it, was a sufficient foundation to allow its consumption.
Considerations before Taking Xenical
Like any other medication, you must inform your doctor if you are allergic to any of drug’s compounds. However, if this is the first time you are taking a drug like this, experts recommend that you start with small doses just to see if it is safe for you to take it. If you notice any allergic reaction, inform your doctor as soon as possible, most likely you cannot use this medication again.
Since Xenical is a drug that directly affects fat intake, if you have a disease that further reduces the number of lipids you absorb, you cannot take this drug. Typical examples are chronic malabsorption, Giardia infection and gallbladder problems.
As for this last point, gallbladder secretions are body‘s fundamental substances that help us digest fats, therefore, if we have gallbladder problems, our absorption decreases, and with it the lipids that enter our body.
If we do not consume the fats we need, we will stop consuming all those lipids part of positive elements in our body, which help us improve our cardiovascular health, such as essential oils, or those that allow us to function normally, such as vitamins.
Remember to tell your doctor about any other medication you are taking, not only because of Xenical’s ability to interact with other drugs but also because you will lose weight and need to adjust.
Most of the prescribed drugs for serious illnesses, such as diabetes, have delicate doses, so the doctor uses your weight to calculate the dose you really need. When you lose weight, also decrease the amount of medicine you have to take. Therefore, talk to your doctor about readjusting your medications.
Nutrition is a delicate issue for Xenical. Remember that this is a medication designed to lose weight, however, you cannot neglect your diet. It does not mean that now, that you take a weight-loss pill, you are free to eat whatever you want; you should be most careful about the substances you ingest, especially fats.
Although Xenical helps you eliminate a lot of fat, it is unhealthy to excrete so many lipids. Therefore, it is necessary that you also be careful with the fats you consume. The side effects related to the gastrointestinal system -spoken later- worsen with fats excessive consumption, so, to diminish these tedious undesired effects, it is better to maintain a healthy diet, with a better nutritional balance.
Talking about for pregnancy animal studies have not proven teratogenic effects for this drug, however, international recommendations propose that you cannot use it if you are pregnant, not only because of possible mutagenic effects, but also because we decrease nutrients quantity that the baby will consume, so we may affect their development.
Scientists have not studied properly this drug ability to reach breast milk, therefore, we recommend not breast-feed while taking this taking these pills.
If you have any kidney or liver damage, it is best not to use this medicine. Remember we metabolize Xenical mainly in the liver, so some dysfunction or injury in this organ can increase Xenical levels in your body, causing unwanted side effects such as excessive fats elimination or saturating your blood. On the other hand, the kidney eliminates this drug, so if it is not working properly, Xenical will accumulate harmfully in your body.
Another important point is kidney stones formation. According to the most recent studies, Xenical may trigger kidney stones formation, so doctors do not recommend it in any person suspected of suffering from this pathology.
Interactions with Other Drugs - Caution
Being specific, Xenical does not interrupt the work of any drug since its action takes place in the intestine; however, the problem occurs before even other drugs can take effect.
Since Orlistat decreases fats absorption, we cannot absorb properly those drugs that have a lipid compound in their formulation.
This is of special importance in particular cases such as anticonvulsants, since there are many based on lipid compounds, limiting their absorption, causing major disorders that lead to trigger the seizures again.
Another important point is the people who end up receiving a new organ, given that the therapies usually comprise cyclosporine, a drug with high lipid content, poorly absorbed when used with Xenical.
How should I take Xenical?
The first and most important thing is that this is a prescription medication, so consult your doctor, he or she will only tell you if you are a candidate or not to use it.
If your doctor approves your use, take only the dose prescribed, do not exceed or use less than what he recommends, much less alter the interval of doses.
Do not share this medicine with other people; you do not know what other pathologies you have and how it affects the use of Xenical on that person’s general health.
Generally, the doctor prescribes Orlistat in three daily doses, along with each of the daily meals, previously calculated, so they do not have over 30% of the calories that you require per day. You can consume the tablet with the meal or even one hour after eating.
Remember that this is a medicine specially designed to decrease fats absorption, so if you will eat something that has none lipid content, do not use this medicine. You will end up losing the positive nutrients instead of helping your health.
Consuming Xenical is more than consuming a pill; it is a lifestyle we must develop. Your doctor will form a complete program, including diet, weight management and exercise. In addition, your doctor must indicate adequate nutritional therapy, which assures you the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you need in your daily life. After that, hold on to that plan and keep the positive mentality, because it is a new way of living.
Your doctor also may consider using polyvitamin supplements. As mentioned above, Xenical interferes with important vitamins absorption, such as K, D, E and A. Therefore, it may be necessary to use other multivitamins with this drug.
Side Effects - It is Never Easy to Lose Weight
Unfortunately, this medication has unwanted effects that are the confirmation it is doing its job properly.
The blockage of fat absorption increases lipids quantity present in the stool, causing alterations in the intestinal transit, resulting in stool with different colors and in greater quantity.
In this list, we group and explain some of the side effects:
Oily or greasy feces: the normal color of the stool ranges from brown to green, however, when consuming Xenical is common to observe yellowish or orange stools, a product of fats present in its content.
Soft feces: The consistency of the stool also changes. Our organism understands that there are abnormal substances in our intestine we must liberate (given that complete fats are not absorbed), the reason it accelerates intestinal transit (a peristalsis increase) to eliminate these strange substances, causing soft feces.
Of course, it is normal to observe other disorders related to feces movements, such as meteorism, increased movement of intestinal gases, and pain resulting from increased peristalsis.
There are other adverse effects related to unwanted reactions, which are a direct drug components effect. Among them:
Allergic reactions: if you notice difficulty breathing or any kind of swelling in any part of your body, please discontinue use. Go as soon as possible to the nearest emergency service and tell the doctors about Xenical.
Renal complications: because of the possibility of Xenical interfering with urinary wastes elimination, you should be on the lookout for any possible problems related to the renal system. Some of the symptoms that reflect alterations of this sphere are swelling of the feet, difficulty in urinating, pain in the upper lumbar region or in the pubis and feeling tired.
Liver complications: Let us remember that we metabolize Xenical in the liver and, although it is infrequent, we can observe liver alterations caused by this drug consumption. It is necessary to be attentive to any symptom that reflects alterations in this organ, among them nausea, pain in the upper part of the abdomen, dark urine, skin color alterations such as jaundice, white stools, vomiting, etc.
Polemic and Debate - The Definitive Drug?
There are controversy and polemics behind Xenical use. Some doctors believe its effect is not real, even though we eliminate more fats. Rather, they attribute its effect to the diet and exercise we must do with Xenical consumption.
Several studies confirm the capacity of this drug to eliminate fats, however, they ratify that weight loss at treatment‘s end is not greater than 6 pounds.
Some doctors even state that when we stop taking Xenical, we gain weight again and recover what we had lost.
Most of these doctors recommend using it with patients suffering from important comorbidities such as hypertension and diabetes; however, it is necessary we keep our distance if we really do not need this medicine.
Weight loss is always a controversial issue, no matter how effective the method or system, the most recommended will always be to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle, with a properly calculated diet.
Without a doubt, it is a delicate subject we must evaluate together with our trusted doctor before even trying to start. Weight loss is one of the pharmacological jewels of the 21st century, to which we will surely find a definitive solution soon.
Weight Loss: When Should I Worry?
Most people in the world want to lose weight easily and quickly; fitness is a trend and the weight loss industry is immense. However, the problem lies when we lose weight unintentionally. This is one of the most important signs of medicine since it leads us to complicated pathologies, difficult to treat, especially neoplasms such as cancer.
In addition, of course, it can be a purely physiological event as in the case of the elderly, who lose a lot of water and protein over time, decreasing their weight and gaining flaccidity.
Unintentionally losing weight implies that the patient is not doing any specific activity to lose weight, but even maintaining their normal activities and eating the way they usually do, is decreasing their body mass.
During our life, we have weight fluctuations that can be considered normal, not all people are skinny or fat throughout their lives, but have times where they vary a little. Now, losing a few pounds does not always mean we are under some dangerous scene.
When Does It Stop Being “Normal”?
There is a range in which we should worry about unintentional weight loss. When athletic or normal people lose at least 10 pounds in less than 6 months doing no specific extra activity, we must consider this loss as an important sign of an underlying disease or disorder that is causing an increase in metabolism and, therefore, an increase in our stored energy’s use (fats).
Obese people have different values because many pounds of net fat overlap their weight. In this case, we must consider the alterations by percentage, where a loss of over 5% of the weight -in an obese person- takes us to think that this loss of mass is going beyond the normal and can represent an important risk for the patient’s health.
Despite the above, many other specialists, experts in the field, keep other percentages and values different from those explained. They state that the weight loss we should be concerned about is 5% in one month and 10% in 6 months. However, many consider different values depending on the type of person and the metabolism they have manifested during their life.
Unintentional weight loss is an important clinical sign that always refers to an underlying pathology‘s existence. Therefore, it is important to investigate each of the possible aspects that accompany this sign to discover which the real cause is. Even so, the best studies show that it is not always easy to get the cause of weight loss. Only in 75% of cases is it possible to find the cause of this disorder.
Causes behind Unintentional Weight Loss
We must view weight loss as a disorder that can be caused by two main strands, one where you decrease the food and nutrients entering your body, and another where your body is simply consuming more than it should, taking advantage of more energy than it should. Despite this, few cases combine these two aspects.
When we talk about a decrease in calories entering the system, we also talk about the inability to process the food we eat. In other words, eating 20 pounds of food does not always mean that we will take advantage of the 20 pounds of food. Some disorders prevent us from absorbing all the food we eat.
One of the most important, for example, is intestinal malabsorption syndrome, where you lose the ability to absorb nutrients because of factors that alter your intestine.
In addition, other minor complications can also affect the way we process our food, such as diarrhea and vomiting, where we simply cannot keep food long enough in our system to take the nutrients we need.
On the other hand, when we talk about an increase in our body’s consumption we do not always mean good things. Most people seek to speed up their metabolism to reduce weight; however, several pathologies can accelerate it.
One of them and the most dangerous is cancer, where tumor cells are under accelerated growth, so your body needs more energy than normal. These cells take nutrients from whatever side they can, initially their fats, but then take protein and other nutrients from their muscles and body mass.
In other pathologies that also speed up the metabolism enters hyperthyroidism. Even so, with this disease, the basic reactions of our body are accelerated by an increase in thyroid hormones. However, the use of energy is still much lower and no such drastic changes are expected as in cancer.
Almost all pathologies with some degree of chronic involvement can cause long-term weight loss. Here are some important ones like heart failure, chronic obstructive diseases, and diabetes.
What Does Unintentional Weight Loss Involve?
-Despite the underlying pathological disorders, unintentional weight loss will always be synonymous with increased morbidity and mortality, that is, a greater probability of dying. This is especially true in older people, in whom it is common to witness this sign.
Cancer: weight loss is a fundamental clinical sign in this pathology and, in fact, is usually the first to guide this disease’s presence. Less weight means a deficient response to chemotherapy, less functional capacity and a decrease in the average survival rate.
In addition, weight loss, due to the immune commitment it brings with it, predisposes to the presence of infections.
Surgery: patients who undergo major surgeries, whether elective or not, have a higher mortality rate if weight loss is associated with it. It is considered that losing more than 4.5kg in less than 6 months is the risk value.
Losing weight also means reducing the number of nutrients available in our body, this predisposes us to suffer from infections because not only are our muscles and bones weakened, but the cells responsible for protecting us, the white blood cells.
Proteins are an extremely important factor for these immune agents’ formation; without it, we cannot create the body’s protector, leaving our organism exposed to different infections and diseases.
Obesity: The Price of an Unhealthy Lifestyle
Obesity is an important metabolic disorder in which fat accumulates pathologically. Due to the lifestyle that has been implemented with the modernization and mass production of food -in a quite harmful way-, this disorder’s prevalence has increased considerably in recent years. In fact, according to recent quantifications, despite the existing “fitness” trend, the frequency continues to rise.
One of the most important studies corroborating the prevalence rates is MONICA, carried out under the resources and supervision of the WHO. This study evaluated populations from 48 different regions, including large countries such as Russia, China, Spain, France, and the USA.
According to the data collected, they determined that at least between 5 and 20% of the male population and 8-30% female, all had a body BMI greater than 30, which tells us about a frank degree of obesity.
The BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measure used to relate the weight we have according to our height. This gives us an estimate and orients us about the percentage of fat that exists in our body according to our size.
Several tables and measurements were created in order to better evaluate obesity and different weight-related disorders. To talk about this complication, you have to exceed the BMI of 30, where the normal range is between 18 and 25.
Overweight is not only one of the greatest cardiovascular risks, but can affect all organs and systems. Among the most important are the musculoskeletal, causing disorders of mobility and posture, hepatic, where we see alterations in the ability to metabolize substances and those systems related to proper circulation, such as those that has to do with sexual performance.
How does Obesity occur?
The stored fat is actually adipocytes - the most important cells in this case - which form a tissue called adipose tissue. In general, to put it simply, when the amount of food we consume exceeds what we need, our body intelligently only seeks to store it and then release it when it is really needed.
This is a technique we used many decades ago, based on our instinct to stay alive in long periods of inanition. However, the problem with fat accumulation is that there are usually no periods where we should release this accumulated fat, but we simply accumulate more and more.
Now, many people do not go through this process but can maintain their ideal weight even if they end up consuming large amounts of food. If this is so, why do others tend to gain weight faster or easier?
1) Genetic Factors
Important genetic predisposition is shown in most children who are obese. It is rare for children of thin parents to be obese; in fact, it only occurs in 10% of them. However, this value changes when both parents are obese, where it is up to an 80% probability that their child is obese as well.
Most metabolic diseases have some degree of genetic compromise, and obesity is no exception. Beyond just being weight gain, this disorder can be directly linked to other pathologies or metabolic processing mechanisms that increase the likelihood we accumulate fat more easily. What was once perhaps a virtue - the ability to accumulate more fat - today is a disadvantage.
2) Food - Causative?
Without a doubt, the food we eat is at the top of the list of reasons obesity occurs. As we mentioned, it is due to an excessive accumulation of energy (fats), but it is only possible if we provide them to our body first, through the food we consume.
This worsened over the years, from the 60-70s, even after industrialization, with the facilities that existed to produce processed food, it was only a matter of time before we embraced a time full of fast food and little nutrition.
3) Physical Activity
Sedentarism is one of the most dangerous habits of an unhealthy lifestyle. Not only does it increase the risk of suffering from cardiovascular pathologies, but also many others, where we highlight musculoskeletal diseases, metabolic disorders, neurological alterations, and so on.
The lack of exercise ends up facilitating fat‘s accumulation since we burn very little during the day with our daily activities. In addition, it facilitates other diseases’ presentation that can secondarily increase weight, so the way in which lack of exercise increases the risk of suffering from obesity is multifactorial.
4) Mind‘s power
Finally yet importantly, the mind plays a fundamental role in weight development. In this case, there are several factors; first, the opinion the person has about himself, his self-esteem, which can influence the increase and development of eating disorders.
On the other hand, some disorders come from trauma or major events that lead the person to cover their anxiety or nervousness with food, so they end up being obese.
Getting the ideal weight
The ideal weight can be calculated from your height and the ideal BMI, which ranges from 18-25 (but it depends a lot, on whether or not you have many muscles). From this, you can create personalized measures to lose weight without abusing or using any specific substance.
People with large degrees of obesity may have it a little more difficult since the amount of effort they can make and their mobility is quite reduced. However, small movements have a big impact on your overall health, so big changes can be expected even though the effort is not as impressive.
On the other hand, most therapies are based on changes in your diet, physical work, modification of your habits and perhaps a little pharmacological therapy. Even so, most of them are really looking to improve the state of the basic systems, such as the cardiovascular system, and speed up the metabolism so that fat consumption is faster.
Obese people should not lose “mass” in general lines, but fat. For this, it is necessary that they accelerate the metabolism but that they exercise so that the muscles gain strength and volume and are not lost during the weight loss.