Belviq: Your Answer to Weight Loss or Your Next Serious Health Issue?

Forget the stress. Forget the changing hormones. Forget the crapped out adrenal system. Just take Belviq and your weight-loss troubles will be over. Are you sold yet? I’m not, and here’s why.

Is Belviq right for you?

  • Belviq is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for chronic weight control, and it’s reported to work best when “combined with exercise and a reduced calorie diet.” The drug is specifically approved for adults who have a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30, and for people who have a BMI greater than or equal to 27 with at least one “weight-related” medical condition such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.


My Take: That’s a very narrow group of targeted individuals. And in my experience, most people who are obese that make healthy lifestyle changes, like diet and exercise, naturally drop a few pounds. So what does the pill do that you can’t do yourself?


  • Belviq assists with weight loss / weight control by targeting the serotonin 2C receptor, which regulates appetite. In other words, Belviq tricks our brains into thinking we’re not hungry.


My Take: That’s how Fen-phen worked, too. You remember Fen-phen—that notorious diet drug that was removed from the market because it was later found to have some serious safety issues, one of which was permanent damage to people’s heart valves.

Will Belviq damage heart valves like Fen-phen?

  • Belviq is claimed to be more selective and therefore safer than Fen-phen because it does a better job at targeting the serotonin 2C receptor.


My Take: The heart valve problems that Fen-phen caused were thought to be due to the drug not binding properly to the serotonin 2B receptor. But it was never “proven,” so one has to wonder how they can claim Belviq is any safer than Fen-phen.


  • Belviq is the first weight-loss drug to be approved by the FDA in 13 years. The FDA previously refused to approve the product for over two years, citing concerns over safety and effectiveness. But now that it’s approved, the manufacturer is required to monitor for side effects post market release, specifically on heart attack and stroke risk.


My Take: Sounds like they know something we don’t know. A little scary.


  • According to one study, 47% of the obese (BMI >30) Belviq trial participants, decreased their total body weight by at least 5%, and 23% of the placebo users (participants who didn’t take Belviq) decreased their total body weight by at least 5%.


My Take: Not too bad, but let’s be honest here, and admit that 53% of the people who took Belviq didn’t lose much or any weight at all. And based on the placebo users, about half of the people that lost weight while taking Belviq quite possibly could have shed the same number of pounds without it.

  • While it’s reported that Belviq has been shown to help maintain weight loss with long-term use, according to an article at, one study participant gained back the weight she had lost after she switched to the placebo arm of the trial, plus another 30 pounds.


My Take: Okay, so she took a pill to lose weight, and when she stopped taking it, she not only gained back all the weight she lost, but 30 ADDITIONAL pounds? YIKES! I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near that drug.


In looking at all of the information that’s out there so far on Belviq, I can’t help but wonder what the results would have been had the people who participated in the study trials had a functional medicine workup. Throughout my experience as a functional medicine practitioner, I’ve helped many clients lose weight and improve their overall health simply by uncovering and addressing hidden health issues that they didn’t know were contributors to their weight gain and obesity.


The fact that Belviq messes with the serotonin 2C receptor in our brains also greatly concerns me. Serotonin is (among other things) a neurotransmitter. One shouldn’t mess around with neurotransmitters unless a comprehensive lifestyle change is made as well. It’s like taunting Mother Nature—not a good idea. Do it, and you put yourself at risk for serious side effects, including serotonin syndrome, which can lead to severe problems with attention and memory, and even death.


Every drug has its place. And while Belviq may be a good choice for SOME people—obese people who have exhausted all other options—it’s certainly not for everyone. Certainly not the millions who will run out and try it. And certainly not for those who care about their overall health and safety.

While functional medicine may not be as sexy as a miracle weight-loss pill, it’s certainly a much healthier and safer approach to losing weight. Besides, it’s not about who leaves the best-looking corpse behind. It’s about living the healthiest life you can live while you’re here.






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