So Orlistat’s mechanism consists of blocking natural fat-degrading enzymes, called lipases, from breaking down fat particles in the small intestine. When lipases are unable to do their job, the fat molecules are not broken down into small enough pieces to be absorbed through the small intestine.
This is the main selling point of Orlistat: if you don’t absorb fat in the small intestine at all, then it won’t end up in bloodstream and ultimately be stored as fat. Drug reps are correct in terms of its mechanism, but if only it were that simple, right?
If you are going to take a drug that will block fat absorption, there will be some health consequences down the line. We need fats.
Fats have a variety of uses in our bodies and play a crucial role in many biochemical processes. Fats are the building blocks for the cell membrane’s lipid bilayer. Every single one of our cells is wrapped in a coating made mostly of fat.
Lipids have a number of functions, including:
· Creating a variety of hormones and hormone-like substances. They are incorporated in many of the chemical messengers that allow cells to communicate with each other.
· Allow for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).
· Provide us with energy (9kcal/g of fat; 4kcal/g of protein or carbohydrate).
· Fat coats the nerves in our bodies, allowing us to think, react, move, and perform any activity we can think of.
· Fats are required for proper absorption of minerals.
· Protects organs.
· A myriad of other metabolic processes.
Lipids are responsible for a vast number of functions in the body. They are not readily given up and used as energy in the body. Mostly glucose and glycogen stores will be used up before fats are broken down for energy. From an evolutionary perspective this makes sense: Early humans went long periods without food. Fat stores were used as energy during these times.
Now, not all fats are created equal, and quality is of utmost importance.
Avoid all processed oils and hydrogenated fats. They will do nothing but deplete vitamin and mineral stores and increase the chances of developing a serious disease.
Stick to traditional oils, like cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, fatty fish (like salmon or mackerel), nuts & seeds, and others listed on the shopping list provided. Try to enjoy whole eggs, the yolks contain good fats and other essential nutrients not found in the whites.
If you are cooking high-quality meats, do not be afraid to eat the fat pieces attached to the bones (occasionally). These parts include high levels of collagen. The main structural protein found in connective tissue like skin and muscles.
Be sure to invest in quality products, as they go a long way in improving your health in the short and long term.
Now, in terms of the potential side effects associated with orlistat, they can be troubling. If you are not digesting fats properly because lipase enzymes are blocked, those fats have to end up somewhere.
Many common side effects associated with Orlistat include: abdominal pain or discomfort, oily discharge from the anus, gas with oily anal discharge, oily stools, more-frequent bowel movements, urgent or hard-to-control bowel movements, headaches, back pain, and upper respiratory infections.
Unfortunately it does not stop there, either. Taking Orlistat can lead to gall bladder problems, serious liver damage, and chronic malabsorption syndrome, and other digestive issues, which makes sense when you alter your own ability to digest fats.
When it comes to the liver in particular, it can be incredibly taxing because Orlistat will alter your ability to absorb fat soluble vitamins, especially A and E, which are known antioxidants that aid in the liver’s ability to detoxify.
Hope this helps!