Beta-blockers: dampening the body's ability to burn fat
Studies have revealed that
beta blockers cause a reduction in energy expenditure of four to nine percent, which rises to 12 percent in obese hypertensive persons thereby increasing chances of weight gain.
Beta blockers (sometimes written as β-blocker) is a class of drugs that ease
the heart's pumping action and widen the blood vessels. This therapy is used to
lower a person's
blood pressure and
rate and to treat angina. Beta-blockers slow down the heart beat, reduce the
force of the heart muscle's contractions, and decrease blood vessel contraction
in the heart, brain, and
the rest of the body.
Beta blockers, such as atenolol and propranolol, reduce the body's ability to
respond to insulin, causing high blood insulin levels that increase risk for
weight gain. According to Sheldon. G. Sheps, hypertension specialist "The
average weight gain is no more than 4 pounds (about 2 kilograms). Newer beta
blockers, such as carvedilol (Coreg), don't typically cause weight gain as a
side effect". Doctors aren't sure exactly why some beta blockers cause weight
gain. It could be that beta blockers slow your
Also, if you switch from taking a water pill (diuretic) to a beta blocker as a
treatment for high blood pressure, you may gain a few pounds of weight that the
diuretic kept off.
Effect of beta blockers on your bodyfe.
Beta blockers decrease the rate of heart beat, and hence blood pressure.
Availability of lower amounts of blood to the body means decrease in the
availability of nutrients and oxygen to all the body cells. They also
increase the oxidation of proteins.
All these factors collectively results in the reduction of the rate of
A slow metabolism further leads to decrease in the consumption of
This is the first way that how beta blockers and weight gain are
related to each other. As per studies, beta blockers cause a reduction in
energy expenditure by 4-9%. This raises the percentage of weight gain by
almost 11% in the patient who are on long term prescription of beta
The second way involved is, beta blockers impart a feeling of
tiredness and fatigue. This causes a marked reduction in fidgeting.
Decreasing the desire to exercise or to do any kind of
This the another way that explains a relationship between beta blockers and
Thirdly, fat cells have beta receptors on their surfaces. The
beta receptors play an important role in the metabolism of fat. Beta
blockers block these beta receptors and interfere with the fat cells'
metabolic activities. Thus, the long term intake of beta blockers cause
accumulation of body fat
and decrease in the concentration of fat free tissue. This particularly
causes accumulation of fat around the abdominal region. This is another way
that establishes a relationship between beta blockers and weight gain.
In case, you are taking beta blocker, keep a close check on your
weight. Check your weight
everyday. If you happen to notice a gain of three or four pounds within a
period of two or three days, you should inform your physician about it.
Strictly, follow all the instructions and advices suggested by him. Following a
low calorie diet and regularly
involving yourself in physical activities will prove to be of great help.
Beta Blockers and Exercise Constraints
Beta blockers put a cap on the
maximum heart rate and therefore, put a restriction on your
exercise and stamina level. It may be difficult at the start, after you
have started your first course of beta blockers to start exercising.
Slowly you must learn to cope up with it. Understand the limits of your
stamina, endurance and exercise accordingly.
If you have been monitoring the degree of exertion achieved during a
cardiovascular exercise routine by monitoring heart rate, you may
have to consider measuring that in a different way, as your heart rate
will not be a very good indicator any more, due to the threshold limit
set by beta blockers. Consult your doctor and plan a different exercise
regimen which is compatible with your modified condition.
A medication causes an artificial modification in natural body function
and therefore, it is bound to cause imbalance somewhere.
How to lose weight with beta blockers
According to the American Heart Association, beta blockers are beneficial
medications because they help to prevent heart attacks and stroke. By adopting
the following lifestyle modification you can achieve considerable benefits:
Eat five small
meals per day. To lose weight while taking beta blockers you need to
speed up your metabolism.
Drink eight to ten glasses of pure
water each day. Be
sure you only drink purified water, rather than tap water.
supplements in the morning. To combat the fatigue caused by your
medications you will need to fight back with extra vitamins. Take an iron
supplements and B-complex supplement with
breakfast. You need
25 mg or iron per day and 50 mg of each of the B-vitamins each day.
Exercise five days per week. People on heart medications of any kind
need to work harder to lose
weight because beta blockers and other medications slow down the heart
rate. You can safely raise your heart rate with mild to moderate exercise
In order to manage this side effect, the drug companies have developed newer
beta blockers such as dilevalol, carvedilol and celiprolol that do not raise
insulin levels and therefore do not increase a person's chances of suffering
diabetes and weight gain.
Dated 08 April 2011