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Is Loose Skin A Side Effect Of New Weight Loss Drugs?

Everywhere you turn these days you see ads, articles and stories about the weight loss revolution known as semaglutide, the active ingredient behind all the big name drugs. With a powerful assist from pharma, this diabetes drug for weight loss is a hot topic of conversation – and debate – no matter whether or not you struggle to shed and keep off the pounds.

An astounding 70% of U.S. adults – 2 out of 3 people – are overweight or obese.* In 2023 alone, an estimated 1.7% of Americans were prescribed semaglutide in an effort to sustainably manage weight.*

Those who have found a sense of liberation from carrying excess weight consider semaglutide to be a life-changing miracle, without which they could not achieve or sustain double-digit weight loss with relative ease compared to diet, exercise and willpower alone.

According to a study published in the medical journal, Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 80-95% of patients struggle to maintain lasting results with traditional weight loss methods.*  

Semaglutide for weight loss

Understandably, if you frequently find yourself on the losing end of a hard-fought battle of the bulge, it gets tiresome to follow the same ‘eat less, exercise more’ prescription, making weight loss drugs highly desirable.

Then there are the countless others hoping to benefit from this novel era of obesity treatments who soon realized that the unpleasant side effects stymied their results. And for some people, these incredible new weight loss drugs are not worth the unknown risks.

Whether you are currently on semaglutide for weight loss, or you have lost significant weight and are wondering if loose skin is a known semaglutide side effect, let’s explore the ins and outs of this popular and groundbreaking weight loss drug. 

 What is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is an injectable antidiabetic drug used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes under well-known branded names. In June 2021, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the active ingredient for chronic weight management.*

This new application emphasizes the importance of approaching obesity as a metabolic disease rather than placing the responsibility – and blame – solely on individuals who fail to control their condition solely through behavior and lifestyle modifications.

 How Does Semaglutide Work?

The active ingredient mimics a substance that your body produces and releases in the gut in response to eating – glucagon peptide-1 (GLP-1). When you eat, GLP-1 cues the release of insulin to keep blood sugar levels stable.*

As a glucagon-like peptide-1, semaglutide activates the brain centers that suppress appetite, communicate fullness signals to the gut, and regulate metabolism, supporting steady and sustained weight loss .**

 Is Semaglutide Safe?

Clinical trials observing the effects of semaglutide for weight loss lasted 68 weeks or more.* In addition to significant reductions in body weight, participants experienced benefits in blood sugar levels, blood pressure and other risk factors.*

While cardiometabolic effects have been shown to be positive, the overall long-term safety of taking semaglutide remains unknown.

If you’re wondering whether a diabetes drug for weight loss would be safe and effective for a non-diabetic, the answer is yes. But, as other studies have indicated, participants tend to regain the weight when they go off the medication, suggesting that it’s only as effective as the consistency of usage.*

 Side Effects of Semaglutide

As with any drug, the use of semaglutide injections comes with mild to severe adverse effects, as well as rare but serious allergic reactions and other outcomes.
Semaglutide’s side effects are commonly known to be related to gastrointestinal distress, such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.* This is especially the case at the beginning of treatment as the body starts to respond to the chemical.
More seriously, the use of GLP-1 substances may also be associated with acute pancreatic and thyroid cancer, which the FDA has issued warnings about.*
While year-long studies show the long-term benefit for weight loss and cardiovascular factors, semaglutide’s long term side effects may include the risk of serious conditions that can affect the pancreas, gallbladder and thyroid.
People taking semaglutide for weight loss may experience:*
  • GI disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Pancreas, gallbladder or thyroid issues

SIDE EFFECTS OF weight loss

Freeing yourself from substantial weight and achieving a healthy body you can feel good about is the ultimate gift you can give yourself. Not only does confidence rise from looking your best, but the improvements in health markers such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are to be celebrated, too.

Rapid and significant changes to the body, however, may introduce new challenges and side effects that you may not have expected.

→ Greater Risk for Gallstone Formation

The yo-yo effect of crash dieting and weight cycling – causing you to lose and regain weight repeatedly – can lead to you developing gallstones. Just as carrying extra weight can lead to higher levels of cholesterol in bile, which is stored in the gallbladder, losing weight quickly can interfere with proper emptying of bile.* 

Regardless of whether you are on semaglutide for weight loss, experts recommend maintaining regular exercise to help reduce your chances of getting gallstones.

→ Excessive Loss of Lean Body Mass

When you lose weight, you don’t just lose body fat – you lose lean, fat-burning muscle tissue. An excessive decline in lean muscle may increase the risk of sarcopenia, an age-related condition that reduces muscle and metabolic function, strength and stamina.**

To combat the effects, incorporate strength-training and a high-protein diet into your daily weight management routine.

→ Water and Electrolyte Imbalance

Losing body mass rapidly can lead to dehydration and disrupt the balance of minerals that are involved in vital cellular processes throughout the body. Key electrolytes are sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

If you participate in high-intensity workouts to lose fat and inches, you could lose 2-6% of your body weight in water, affecting the concentration of electrolytes.* Also, a high-protein, low-carb diet can cause an electrolyte deficiency, because high-carb foods are often enriched with minerals.

→ Elevated Uric Acid Levels

Uric acid is a by-product of the body breaking down certain food chemicals, called purines. When uric acid accumulates, it crystalizes in the joints, leading to painful inflammation.

Normally, weight loss helps to reduce levels of uric acid. But some of the side effects associated with losing weight rapidly, as well as taking a diabetes drug for weight loss, can lead to higher than healthy levels of uric acid. Triggers can include dehydration from digestive issues such as diarrhea, and kidney issues.**

→ Loose or Sagging Skin

Having loose skin after weight loss is probably the most emotional side effect as it may overshadow the accomplishment of losing weight, and breed a sense of insecurity.

There’s a misconception that semaglutide-based drugs change the features of the face and even the shape of the buttocks. This is misplaced blame, however. A saggy face, butt and other parts of the body are not caused by the chemical compounds – they’re side effects of weight loss. 

Droopy skin after rapid weight loss is normal and common, which is precisely what you would experience when taking weight loss drugs, but the ketogenic diet and bariatric weight loss can cause loose skin, too.

The dermis, skin’s firm structural middle layer, is comprised of rows of cross-linked collagen pillars that provide strength and sturdiness, along with strands of spiraling elastin fibers that recoil and return to their original state when stretched. With their high tensile strength, elastin coils are 5X stretchier than a rubber band.*   

Another difference between collagen and elastin is volume. As the body’s dominant protein, collagen accounts for 70-80% of skin’s dry weight, whereas elastin makes up only about 2-4%.*** Together, these two power proteins achieve the perfect balance between strength, mechanics and durability.

HOW TO avoid Loose Skin when losing weight

Double and triple-digit weight loss can leave you with stretched, excess skin as a result of damage to elastic tissue losing its ability to recoil.

Gradual weight reduction allows elastin fibers time to take the new shape of the tissues underneath. But with extreme and rapid weight fluctuations, the flexible fibers lose their ability to contract, making it difficult to avoid loose skin after weight loss, as well as getting rid of loose skin.

This doesn’t mean you’re entirely powerless, however. In fact, you can manage loose skin on your face, buttocks, neck, stomach, arms and legs by replenishing the elastin protein that connective tissues need to rehabilitate skin elasticity and help restore healthy function.

How to Improve Skin Elasticity

The process that skin goes through to adjust to new conditions is dramatic. You can aid the process of promoting skin elasticity, starting with rebuilding and replenishing the amino acids that bond to form elastin protein.

Amino acids are the biological building blocks of protein with individual profiles and sets of instructions for forming protein-based structures. There are 20 amino acids that make up protein, but just four compose over 75% of elastin – glycine, proline, valine and alanine.*

Protein intake through food supplies the amino acids you need to synthesize and protect both elastin and collagen proteins. Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans and legumes make excellent skin elasticity boosters. Top sources of pure, concentrated elastin and collagen are bone broth made with real bone marrow, as well as fish and chicken skin.

For maximum impact, pair dietary protein with a variety of fruits and vegetables to supply key vitamin and minerals that promote protein production, while simultaneously increasing the amount of nutrients you absorb.

elastin supplements for skin elasticity

There are many collagen supplements and protein powders available on the market supplying a range of sources, from bovine to marine. But elastin supplements offer the most powerful direct source of elastin protein to help support skin elasticity after weight loss.

A pure, potent and high-quality elastin supplement increases your daily intake of elastin protein, helping to support skin’s appearance and healthy function. Adding an elastin supplement to your daily weight management helps fortify the elastin content that skin needs to snap back.

And, not only do you restock the elastin-specific amino acids needed to reinforce loose fibers, you simultaneously stimulate natural elastin production to form new elastic tissue. This combination of repairing and renewing offers a powerful nutritional option for managing sagging skin.

what to look for in an elastin supplement

For a high-quality elastin supplement to help visibly tighten loose skin after weight loss, consider Body Kitchen Pro Elastin, a scientifically supported nutritional formula that harnesses the purity and potency of one of the world’s top sources of elastin supplementation – fish – and as a result has become the #1 brand in elastin supplements.

As you discovered earlier, pure elastin protein is not plentiful in our standard diet. Through a relationship with France’s largest sea port, Body Kitchen can source pure elastin peptides in a scientifically advanced form, called Prolastin®.

Using a proprietary enzymatic process, the fresh marine elastin is extracted without the use of harsh chemicals as is often used to remove protein peptides. The benefit of this unique elastin is that the body can easily digest and use the building blocks efficiently to support skin elasticity and help recontour skin at the cellular level.

This potent elastin supplement supplies 1,000 mg of fresh marine elastin peptides that are backed by science and deliver optimal benefits without added bulk from additives and unnecessary fillers.

Through a daily ritual of diet, exercise, hydration and supplementation, you can take steps to help improve your post-weight loss shape so you can focus on appreciating all that your new healthy body has to offer.