Everyone knows that diet and exercise are the cornerstones of sustained weight loss. However, some individuals may find it difficult to lose weight because of their body type or the inability to adjust their lifestyle. This is when a class of medication called GLP-1 agonist comes into play. Please read this article to learn how GLP-1 agonists work in weight loss.
How GLP-1 Agonist Holds the Key to Effective and Healthy Weight Loss
Losing weight can be a challenge for anyone who wishes to have a slimmer, healthier body. In addition to a low-calorie diet and adequate physical activity, GLP-1 agonists can help with sustained weight loss and maintenance. First and foremost, let’s find out how scientists define a GLP-1 agonist.
What Is GLP-1 Agonist?
GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide 1) is a hormone produced primarily in the small intestine that promotes insulin production and lowers glucagon concentrations, resulting in lower blood sugar. In addition, this hormone can have several beneficial effects on eating regulation that leads to weight loss and maintenance.
GLP-1 agonist is a class of medication that mimics the effects of the GLP-1 hormone. GLP-1 agonist was initially developed to treat type 2 diabetes since it can lower blood sugar. Recently, GLP-1 agonist has been widely used and accepted in the medical community for weight management due to its potent impacts on the digestive process.
How Does GLP-1 Agonist Work for Weight Loss?
GLP-1 agonist for weight loss works through several mechanisms, which affect the digestive process occurring in the stomach and the activity in the brain.
GLP-1 Agonist and the Stomach
According to research, GLP-1 reduces the rate at which the stomach empties food and increases the amount of fluid remaining in the stomach after a meal. As a result, this hormone modulates when the stomach is full and stops eating. Imitating the effects of the GLP-1 hormone, the GLP-1 agonist enhances satiation, reduces food intake and appetite, and ultimately results in weight loss.
GLP-1 Agonist and the Brain
Besides affecting the stomach, GLP-1 sends a signal to a part of the brain called the hypothalamus responsible for food intake regulation. This signal causes the body to consume less food and water, leading to less energy intake and, ultimately, weight loss. According to a study, a GLP-1 agonist called exenatide reduced hunger in women with obesity. Reduced appetite was found to be associated with the hypothalamus.
Side Effects Related to GLP-1 Agonist
As effective as they can be, GLP-1 agonists can cause several side effects due to their intervention in the digestive process. Some common uncomfortable effects reported include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. However, these adverse effects tend to be mild and transitory and only occur in a modest percentage of users. Most side effects occur during dose escalation. Therefore, ensure you increase the dosing gradually.
Many people might be concerned whether a drug initially used to treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar can cause the blood sugar level to be lower than usual if used to treat obesity or manage weight. Research has shown that GLP-1 only reduces blood sugar if its concentrations are higher than fasting levels. Even in individuals without diabetes, the potential for insufficient blood sugar levels due to GLP-1 is low.
Taking the benefits of GLP-1 agonists into consideration, many healthcare providers prescribe their patients with this drug class since its evident benefits outweigh the potential side effects. Moreover, the FDA has recently approved a GLP-1 drug called semaglutide for weight loss and maintenance. Further information about semaglutide will be discussed below.
How Is GLP-1 Agonist Administered?
All GLP-1 agonist medications are injectable. Individuals prescribed this kind of drug will receive a syringe or a pre-filled dosing pen. Either the healthcare provider or the patient can carry out the injection. The injection sites include the abdomen, upper thigh, or upper arm and should be rotated after every shot.
Currently, scientists are investigating Rybelsus, an oral version of semaglutide, a GLP-1 agonist drug. This expansion of drug administration can help a wide range of patients access the drug, maximizing its benefits and tolerability.
Semaglutide Is a GLP-1 Agonist for Weight Management
Semaglutide is an FDA-approved drug belonging to the GLP-1 agonist class that is most commonly used as a treatment method for improving blood sugar control. Mimicking the GLP-1 hormone, semaglutide works by slowing down food release in the stomach, leading to less food intake and weight loss. In addition, semaglutide reduces appetite and improves appetite regulation.
According to the FDA, semaglutide for weight loss and maintenance, known as Wegovy, was examined in four studies involving over 4000 patients. In a study of adults without diabetes, Wegovy reduced 12.4 percent of the initial body weight on average. Another study of adults with type 2 diabetes showed that Wegovy reduced 6.2 percent of the initial body weight.
That said, keep in mind that weight loss is a long-term process, and maintaining weight loss can be as challenging as losing weight. Many individuals experience weight regain after they discontinue medications. On this account, we should only expect drugs to trigger initial weight loss and assist in maintaining weight in the long run.
Overall, GLP-1 agonists work through multiple mechanisms, including effects on the stomach and the brain, leading to reduced hunger and increased fullness. GLP-1 agonist drugs offer an effective treatment option to help achieve and maintain weight loss.
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