Some people will do anything to lose weight. This includes taking prescription and over-the-counter amphetamines. But all drugs have side effects. And one of the newly discovered side effects from taking amphetamines could increase your risk for getting Parkinson’s disease.
In a new study spanning nearly four decades, researchers in Northern California found that the risk is quite significant. They followed people who take amphetamines like Benzedrine or Dexedrine. What they found was striking. Those who take these drugs are a whopping 60% more likely to develop Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s is a progressive muscular condition. It occurs when nerve cells that make dopamine break down. Dopamine affects your movement by telling your brain how and when to move. It’s the key neurotransmitter, or communicating molecule, in Parkinson’s. Less dopamine in your brain means you may have tremors, move slowly, and have stiffness in your movements.
There is a direct association between Parkinson’s and amphetamines. Amphetamines affect the absorption of dopamine as well as its release. These researchers say their study hasn’t proven a cause-and-effect relationship between these drugs and neurological problems. But their theory certainly makes sense. Here’s why...
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Doctors don’t use amphetamines just for weight loss. They also use these drugs for narcolepsy (a chronic sleep disorder) and traumatic brain injuries. You also may have heard of the recreational drug “speed.” Speed is an amphetamine. If you have a brain injury, the drugs may have a positive risk-to-benefit ratio. But probably not for weight loss. Not when there are so many other solutions.
For instance, the inability to lose weight may be due to stress and blood sugar fluctuations. When this is the case, nutritional supplements containing chromium, GABA, l-theanine, and other calming nutrients may be all that you need. One such formula I’ve found to be effective is Craving Quencher from Advanced Bionutritionals. You can find these individual nutrients online and in health food stores.
Whatever you choose to do, don’t use amphetamines for weight loss. The potential consequences greatly outweigh the benefits.
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand