Zoloft and Weight Gain

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By Tess Thompson

Sertraline hydrochloride, trade name Zoloft was first introduced in 1991 by Pfizer for the treatment of brain disorders such as major depression, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), post traumatic stress and premenstrual dysphoric disorders.

Zoloft inhibits reuptake of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is involved in sleep, depression and memory so that more of it remains in the space between nerve cells. The reuptake occurs when a message is passed across neurons by neurotransmitters and the receptors on the next cell are activated. The neurotransmitter between gaps is quickly absorbed by the previous cell. This process of absorption is specifically called the reuptake. This process works without any hindrance in the nervous system; but imbalance of any neurotransmitter can cause a variety of brain disorders.

Zoloft has the same side effects and contraindications that are associated with drugs of its class, specifically known as SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Though not listed as a side effect of Zoloft, weight gain is one of the possible side effects. Even though the exact percentage of people who suffer the weight gain side effect is not reported in clinical trials, it can safely be assumed that the incidence is above 1% among people taking the drug.

If you gain weight with Zoloft, it is advisable to disregard diets that tell you how to naturally lose weight fast. Crash diets are more likely to interfere with the action of the drug as they are based on denial of certain ingredients. An absence of some nutrients can disrupt normal metabolic processes leading to complications when an SSRI is being taken.

To avoid or manage weight gain due to Zoloft, you should consider one of the healthy weight loss plans that lay stress on eating recommended ratios of carbohydrates (50%), proteins (15%) and fats (35%).

The following suggestions will stand you in good stead and help you to lose weight naturally. It will also help in improving brain functions.

  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Eating fresh fruits is better than canned ones or sweetened canned juices.
  • Opt for fat free or low fat dairy milk and dairy products.
  • Source your proteins from lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts.
  • Prefer monounsaturated fats like olive oil.
  • Avoid fast foods and foods low in nutrition like chips, biscuits, colas etc.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Limit sodium (salt) and added sugars.
  • Exercise regularly for at least 30 minutes every day.

The above recommendations form part of a healthy diet that is also good for the heart. However, if you continue to gain weight due to Zoloft therapy, you should consult your health care provider since a change in the SSRI drug or dosage may be required.



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