Ayurveda and Weight Loss – Accessing the power of Wegovy, Ozempic, and Rebelsus without the cost or side-effects of Rx drugs

Monday, January 8, 2024

In the news last week, Ozempic featured in the NPR headline, “How medications like Ozempic are revolutionizing the weight loss industry.

Ozempic and Wegovy are semaglutide pharmaceutical medications classified as GLP-1s, for the gut hormone they mimic, glucogen-like peptide-1.

GLP-1s were developed in the early 2000s to control type-2 diabetes and manage blood sugar levels. But lo and behold, over the course of testing and monitoring how these drugs worked, including additional benefits and negative side-effects, it became clear that they were also effective in weight reduction.

Fast forward to 2023. Oprah uses them. So does Elon Musk. They are an effective way to reduce stubborn white adipose tissue (WAT) and improve the quantity of brown adipose tissue (BAT), effectively causing weight to just, well, melt off. Pun intended.

Well, that is if you are ok with giving yourself weekly injection until you reach your target weight.

What is WAT and BAT?

White adipose tissue (WAT) is a type of fat molecule that accumulates to store calories. WAT consist of larger lipid droplets that accumulate on the body as “stubborn” fat and have little capacity for actually converting their stored calories to energy in the body, due to low mitochondria density. White fats (WAT) function to store excess energy – as fat! The excess carbs, sugar, and calories we consume are stored in the body as WAT. WAT lipids may undergo pathological structural and functional changes resulting in obesity. Obesity is implicated in serious co-morbidities including cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome (ie Type-2 Diabetes), and some forms of cancer.

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is highly desirable fat tissue, with molecules made up of a collection of smaller lipid droplets with high mitochondria density, capable of generating heat in the body! In advanced nutrition and high-performance circles, there is a term called “WAT browning” where BAT emerge within white fat deposits, increasing metabolism capacity of the fats around them. BAT thermogenesis (heat production) can be induced to combat obesity!

Figure 1 Characteristics of adipocytes. The figure represents distinct characteristics of white, beige and brown adipocytes. UCP1: uncoupling protein 1; LD: lipid droplet. Ref doi: 10.3390/antiox10020308
Figure 2 Overview of the main characteristics of white, brown, and beige adipocytes. Ref doi: https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01954

How can Ayurveda help with fat “browning” and weight loss?

Of course, Ayurvedists understand and practice this type of body self-regulation by regulating and adjusting the doshic balance in the body.

WAT tissue in the body is evidence of dysregulated kapha which can stagnate and accumulate in the body, as stubborn fat. WAT tissue evolved to help protect humans from starvation during winter months when food sources diminished. With supermarkets in every town, we now suffer from access to too much food and seasonally inappropriate foods. Additionally, WAT accumulates in the body due to a lack of physical exertion, exercise, and activity, and from living in climate-controlled environments, from couch, to kitchen, car, to grocery store. We are not exposed to extreme weather – and, although we avoid it, such exposure benefits the body and “browns” our fat causing a subsequent increase in heat producing capacity from within!

BAT tissue is a quality of pitta – it literally produces heat in the body and uses up the excess energy stored as fat.

So how do we convert WAT to BAT, or balance kapha by activating pitta and vata?

There are many ways to accomplish “fat browning” using Ayurveda, food, diet and lifestyle to lose weight, increase muscle tone, and improve energy. Take control of your health – feel stronger, and live longer – with these tips:

  1. Spice up your life! Enjoy digestive and heat producing (spicy!) foods and condiments to support healthy pitta. Add digestive spicing to foods including turmeric, powdered ginger, and cayenne to your foods. Use condiments such as sriracha and hot sauce. Drink Tulsi tea!

    My husband is a strong, red-headed kapha man, so we’ve learned how to make pitta-balancing meals (to keep heat in check) while offering condiment options to promote metabolism. A couple of our family favorites are Gilberto’s Zesty Cayenne Hot Sauce,  Yellowbird Foods Organic Sriracha, and traditional Indian pickles, like amla and bitter gourd pickle.

    See recipe: Agni Kindler with turmeric, ginger, lime and salt
  2. Curcumin, a main constituent of turmeric, has been found to increase energy production and brown fats, as well as slow the generation of white fats. Capsaicin, found in cayenne peppers, also help brown fats.
  3. Tulsi has also been demonstrated to be beneficial. Supplementation with O. sanctum capsules twice daily for 8 weeks resulted in significant improvement in body weight, BMI, serum lipid profile (except serum total cholesterol), plasma insulin and insulin resistance (IR) according to a 2017 report. With its laghu and ruksha guna (qualities which provide lightness and rough up the sliminess of kapha), tulsi is kapha vata shamaka (supportive) and heating – warming up and browning those stubborn lipids in the body.
  4. Eat according to kapha principles: strictly observe 2 larger meals per day, including a large later breakfast (10a) and early dinner (around 4pm). This will naturally put you into a cycle of intermittent fasting, clinically proven to “brown fats” and kick start your metabolism.

    My number one top recommendation for OPTIMAL health and the MOST benefit for longevity is to walk! Walk as much as often and aim for those 10,000 steps. For those with office jobs, set a timer, and get up to stretch, walk, and stand for 10 minutes every hour. Using a standing desk if you have one! Standing (and all the micro-movements your body makes when adjusting your posture) is the antidote to the sedentary lifestyle contributing to obesity and WAT.
  5. Get your Wim-Hof on! Ice bathing and extreme temperature challenges (spending time outdoors) has been shown to improve metabolism, improve quality of sleep, and improve concentration and focus. Additionally, brown fat activates at colder temperatures, so taking a cold shower or an ice bath – or regularly exposing yourself to cold winter temperatures – can help your body produce more BAT to burn more calories.

What is the Ayurvedic explanation for ice bathing? While there are conflicting interpretations, my interpretation lies with the root of health and disease and the king of the doshas: prana, and its doshic counterpart, Vata. The constriction/flushing action stimulates the vata quality of flow and mobility, improving blood flow (rasa/rakta), and moving stagnation out of the mind and body, producing an overall warming and sattvic state. Prana sustains ojas, and ojas holds prana. Prana also governs the 5 senses and improves concentration and effortless effort. The senses and the mind, according to Vedic wisdom are absorbed each night into prana during the phase of deep sleep. And deep sleep is necessary for the body’s daily reboot and rejuvenation. Therefore, an ice bath may bring a surge of prana to the body, and, when combined with proper diet, self-care, mindfulness practices such as meditation and pranayama, bring with it the excellent benefits demonstrated by the Wim-Hof method.

So why choose Ayurveda over GLP-1 semaglutide treatment?

  • Accessibility!

    Ayurveda is affordable and available, while semaglutide prescriptions have been increasingly difficult and expensive to access, perhaps partially due to their Hollywood appeal.
  • Safety and efficacy.

    Balancing your body with Ayurveda improves GI system function, gut health, metabolism, and immune system function, and imparts a certain “glow” (via improved Tejas) and life force (Prana) due to a reestablishment of consciousness and mind-body connection.

    Weight loss drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy are being investigated by the FDA for serious side-effects including alopecia (hair loss), aspiration (breathing problems), and suicidal ideation (thinking about or planning suicide). In clinical practice, the most common side effects of GLP-1RAs are gastrointestinal (GI), typically including upper-GI effects (e.g. nausea or vomiting) and/or lower-GI effects (diarrhea or constipation). Known side effects include possible thyroid tumors and cancer. Who needs that?

If you’d like to explore Ayurveda for weight loss, I’m here for that. I am here for you as a coach and guide, offering encouragement and support along the way. I’ve helped many people take control of their health, wean off pharmaceuticals (in cooperation with their medical team), improve cardiovascular health, improve their blood work lab results (CBC and CP2 advanced lipid profiles), avoid Statins by reducing cholesterol, reverse pre-diabetes demonstrated by sustained decreased A1C levels, and lose weight. Reach out when you’re ready!


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