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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Antihystamines cause weight gain?

So this makes me feel real good. According to the Vancouver Sun, "Antihistamine use linked to extra pounds," people who use antihystamines for allergies are more likely to be overweight.

Learning this, and coming to the realization recently that inhaled corticosteroids like Advair can also cause weight gain, makes me realize why I have so much trouble shedding off the poundage.

It also explains why I gain weight so fast when I stop working out. And may also explain why I'm always hungry even after I just ate.

Although it's also a good excuse. Yet it's an incentive for us asthmatics and folks with allergies to work out more. Because Lord knows I'm not going to stop taking antihystamines.

The article notes that, "Among the 268 antihistamine users, 45 percent were overweight, versus 30 percent of the 599 study participants not on the medications."

While the study notes a link, it does not say antihystamines actually cause people to be overweight. One might think that those who have allergies are more likely to stay at home and away from the allergens, and perhaps are more likely to be sedentary.

I'm just speculating here, although I bet I'm right. It's kind of the same thing with the link between Tylenol and asthma, where Tylenol doesn't necessarily cause asthma, it's just that asthmatics have more pain.

However, the article does note there might be a scientific reason why people who take antihystamines might gain weight:

"Histamine is a chemical produced in the body that is best known for its role in promoting the inflammation associated with allergic responses; blocking histamine is a good thing when it comes to relieving hay fever symptoms, for instance.

But cells throughout the brain have receptors for histamine, and the chemical appears to have a hand in a number of physiological functions -- with appetite control and calorie burning being among them.

So in theory, Ratliff explained, antihistamines could contribute to overeating and slower fat breakdown."

Likewise, the article notes that, "On average, antihistamine users had a higher body mass index (BMI) -- at about 31, which falls into the category of obesity. That compared with a BMI of about 28 among non-users, which correlates to being moderately overweight. BMI is a standard measure of weight in relation to height used to gauge obesity."

More studies are needed, because there are over 50 million Americans with allergies and 30-50% use antihystamines.

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