- Aug 30, 2018
What if it was something you're currently taking (your oral contraceptive) rather than something you're not taking (Duromine) that was causing your weight control issues?
When it comes to weight loss, we all know there is a balance between energy in, and energy out and to lose weight we need to tip the balance. The routine advice is diet (eat less food for less energy in) and exercise (use more energy). If that simple advice worked well, nobody would be overweight.
So what comprises the "energy out"? There are 2 things.
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
So if our muscles are using most of the energy we need to heat us, what happens if we lose muscle?
You'd be right in thinking our BMR falls, and any difference between energy in and out is reduced, so our rate of weight loss is reduced. Let's now look at the impact of certain contraceptives namely Dianne, Yaz, Yasmine, Angeliq and Valette.
Dianne was a "miracle pill" when it came out because it provided not only contraception but also fixed pimples. It did this because rather than being a standard estrogen/progesterone blend it contained estrogen and cyproterone.
What cyproterone does is block testosterone. Now you've probably heard of testosterone. It's your body's natural anabolic steroid. Bodybuilders (and some athletes) take it to increase muscle mass. It can cause "roid rage" and "backne". Men usually have more than women (which is why men are on average stronger and more muscular). We all have a surge of it during puberty, thus the pimples and the rapid muscle growth.
So, if you accept that muscle mass is important to BMR and weight loss, deliberately taking a drug that blocks the key hormone that drives muscle production suddenly looks like a very bad idea for weight control.
Yaz, Yasmine and Angeliq are similar but contain drospirenone instead of cyproterone. Valette is also similar but contains dienogest.
Many women are put on these pills in their teens for acne, but stay on them into their 20s and 30s when they are no longer required.
So, here is a hint. If you are on one of these pills and well past the teenage acne years, maybe you should consider moving to a standard oral contraceptive. The reasons are:
- Standard contraceptives (that usually contain 30 ug ethinyl estradiol and 150 ug levonorgestrel) and come in dozens of brand names are substantially cheaper
- Standard contraceptives are suggested to have lower rates of Deep Venous Thrombosis (particularly important in smokers)
- You will almost certainly find it easier to lose weight because you will rebuild some of the muscle lost to the testosterone blockade.
I find a disproportionate number of ladies wanting to lose weight are on these particular contraceptives, and we get much better weight loss results when they come off them.