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Gaining Weight while Tapering?

Gaining Weight while Tapering?

Prednisone Weight Gain While Tapering?

Weight Gain is the #1 concern by many when taking prednisone and studies shows that 70% of prednisone users gain weight! Usually, the higher the dose, the worse the weight gain.

But here is something interesting. Could prednisone weight gain also happen while you are tapering?

Read this email shared by one of our Prednisone Warriors:

Hello Dr. Megan,

I would like to know why I am gaining weight while tapering prednisone. I’ve tapered from 7 mg to currently 5.5 mg. On 7 mg I was able to lose 60 lbs. This weight gain on 5.5 mg concerns me; my diet and exercise haven’t changed. I’m WFPB, no or minimal salt, sugar and oil, and recently have increased my water intake. I started prednisone in 2006, it’s been a long road trying to get off of it.

The weight gain is very weird and nothing wrong with my thyroid. I lost the weight by diligently eliminating added oil…olive oils, etc. but natural occurring oils I kept, like Avocado. 
I made the changes to help with inflammation.  It worked, for over 1 year I had no inflammation in my CRP marker, the weight loss was just a bonus. Today the weight fluctuates as I was saying. Very weird.

I hope you can help!
Thank you.

Does Prednisone Cause Weight Gain?

Yes! That’s one of the perplexing parts of prednisone: the unpredictable weight changes! It is amazing that she was able to lose 60 pounds! Wow!

The WFPB Diet Strategy

The Prednisone Warrior also shares that she is following the WFPB strategy which means Whole Food Plant-Based Diet. According to Healthline,

This diet is a way of eating that focuses on consuming foods in their most natural form. This means that heavily processed foods are excluded. When purchasing groceries, focus on fresh foods and, when purchasing foods with a label, aim for items with the fewest possible ingredients

WFPB is a great strategy and it sounds like she is doing all the dietary changes to maintain or lose weight while on prednisone.
Read More about other diet strategies in my Ultimate Diet Review for People on Prednisone article.

Will 5 mg Cause Prednisone Weight Gain?

Usually, at doses below 10 mg, the weight loss is much less than at higher doses. Often at prednisone 5 mg, weight gain is minimal or nonexistent. Some lucky few even start losing weight at this dose.

That’s why it’s surprising that in this situation, 7 mg allowed her to lose weight, but at 5.5 mg her weight is gaining.

I honestly have no idea why such a small dose change could make much difference in her weight loss! But I have heard of that happening to other Prednisone Warriors if that’s any comfort.

Here are some possible factors to consider in why you might gain weight while tapering:

Muscle Loss?

One possibility is that the profound muscle loss you may have gone through while on higher doses of prednisone is slowly reversing. Maybe at these lower doses, you’re gaining muscle mass back and it’s causing the scale to tilt. If so, that’s a good sign!


She mentioned that her thyroid is normal. For others, I’d recommend getting your thyroid checked, since prednisone can make unpredictable changes to your thyroid function. Thyroid is essential for proper weight.

Nutrient Depletion?

The longer you take prednisone, and the more milligrams you take over time–the “cumulative burden,” affects side effects you might have long-term. One of the consequences of taking prednisone is nutrient depletion of key nutrients. One nutrient in specific is vital for proper weight.

Chromium is a metal mineral our bodies use for keeping proper blood sugar. Prednisone moderately depletes chromium, which means our bodies are trying to do more with less. Without chromium, the blood sugar goes up, which can lead to diabetes and weight gain.

That’s one of the reasons I included 200 mcg of Chromium per dose of Nutranize Zone. It’s the first and only supplement for people on prednisone. Get it at Nutranize.com!

Nutranize Zone

Read More About Prednisone Weight Gain:

Check out these Prednisone Weight Gain Strategies shared by Prednisone Warriors

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP

Dr. Megan Milne, PharmD, BCACP, is an award-winning clinical pharmacist board certified in the types of conditions people take prednisone for. Dr. Megan had to take prednisone herself for an autoimmune condition so understands what it feels like to suffer prednisone side effects and made it her mission to counteract them as the Prednisone Pharmacist.

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