A new TikTok trend encouraging the use of laxatives as a weight loss aid has led to a nationwide shortage of these products. Some TikTok users claim that laxatives such as MiraLAX and Glycolax are as effective as prescription drugs like Ozempic, but at a cheaper price. However, doctors strongly advise against this practice, emphasizing that it will not help individuals lose weight in the long term.
Health experts have identified a surge in demand for glycol 3350, the generic name for laxatives like MiraLAX and Glycolax, as the cause of the shortage. Dr. Arlesia Jones, a family medicine physician with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, explains that using laxatives for weight loss only leads to the loss of water weight, not actual fat loss which is typically desired during weight loss efforts. Misusing laxatives can also have serious health risks, including dehydration and the loss of vital electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium. Deficiencies in these nutrients can potentially lead to heart problems.
One of the main concerns raised doctors is the misleading information spread on TikTok. It cannot be guaranteed that the individuals promoting the use of laxatives for weight loss are qualified medical professionals. Melissa Lukawitz, a resident of Memphis, cautions against believing everything seen online.
Dr. Jones advises that the healthy approach to weight loss involves adopting a lifestyle with healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity, rather than relying on quick-fix diets or programs. It is important to remember that sustainable weight loss requires a long-term commitment to overall well-being and not just seeking shortcuts.
Sources: Dr. Arlesia Jones, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare; Melissa Lukawitz