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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 heart 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 metabolism. 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 body.

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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.

In addition to causing weight gain, beta blockers like Lopressor have a number of other side effects such as fatigue, dizziness and difficulty breathing that could compromise your ability to effectively work out, further hampering your weight loss goals.

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:

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 heart attacks, diabetes and weight gain.

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