Can ‘Budget Ozempic’ and ‘Nature’s Ozempic’ Really Help You Lose Weight?

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Anytime a pricey new drug that solves a common health issue hits the market, hype about “budget” or “natural” versions inevitably follows, cropping up on social media or package labels.

Not surprisingly, this has happened in a major way since the advent of the popular weight loss and diabetes drug semaglutide, sold under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus.

Of course, a multitude of inexpensive weight loss supplements preceded semaglutide. “Numerous herbal and natural supplements claim to assist with weight loss, including caffeine, green tea extract, magnesium, garcinia cambogia, chitosan, conjugated linoleic acid, guar gum, and even laxatives,” says Christopher McGowan, MD, of True You Weight Loss in Cary, North Carolina, and a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. (As with other board certifications, the diplomate of ABOM credential means a doctor has completed continuing education in weight management medicine — a field long neglected in medical school training.)

But the wild popularity of semaglutide drugs has given rise to social media claims that certain supplements are Ozempic “alternatives” or “dupes.” Two stand out: berberine, sometimes referred to as “nature’s Ozempic,” and psyllium husk, aka “poor man’s Ozempic.”

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