Amidst the ongoing obesity pandemic, with nearly 40% of US adults affected, there is an urgent need for more effective weight loss treatments. In fact, overweight and obesity are now the 5th leading risk for global death.
Drugs that promote weight loss by reducing appetite or increasing energy expenditure are currently the most common therapeutic approach. However, many of these medications are associated with significant side effects, which limits their long-term use.
One rising star in the weight loss arena is Semaglutide , a synthetic hormone that mimics the effects of GLP-1, a naturally occurring peptide hormone. So what is semaglutide, and how does it promote weight loss?
Peptides and Weight Loss
Peptides are the building blocks of proteins, and they play a variety of roles in the human body.
Some peptides act as hormones, regulating metabolism, appetite, and other vital functions. BPC-157 for one, is a peptide that’s been shown to effectively heal wounds and repair tendons.
Some peptides can also have an effect on weight loss work by regulating appetite and metabolism. For example, GLP-1 is a peptide hormone that’s released after eating, and it’s been shown to reduce appetite and promote weight loss.
Other peptides with purported weight loss effects include GHRP-2, GHRP-6, and ipamorelin. These peptides work by stimulating the release of growth hormone, which can lead to increased fat burning.
What is Semaglutide?
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate appetite and metabolism. It’s released after eating, and it signals the body to stop eating when you’re full.
Semaglutide is a synthetic version of this hormone, and it’s been shown to be effective for weight loss. In fact, in one study, semaglutide was shown to cause an average weight loss of 17.3 kg (38.1 pounds) over 68 weeks.
How Does Semaglutide Work?
The mechanism of action for semaglutide is two-fold. First, it increases the release of GLP-1, which leads to reduced appetite and increased satiety. Second, it slows down gastric emptying, which means that you feel full for longer after eating.
In addition to reducing appetite and promoting satiety, semaglutide also increases energy expenditure. This means that you burn more calories, even at rest.
All of these effects together lead to weight loss. Remember, weight loss is simply a matter of calories in vs. calories out. If you’re consuming fewer calories than you’re burning, you will lose weight.
Other benefits of Semaglutide
1. Can improve insulin sensitivity
Another aspect of semaglutide that’s worth mentioning is its ability to improve insulin sensitivity. This is important because insulin resistance is a major contributor to obesity.
Insulin is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels. When you eat, your blood sugar levels rise, and insulin is released to shuttle the sugar into your cells for energy.
In people with insulin resistance, this process doesn’t work properly. The cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, and the sugar stays in the blood. This can lead to type II diabetes and weight gain.
Fortunately, semaglutide has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which can help reverse some of the effects of obesity.
2. May help lower blood sugar levels
As we just discussed, semaglutide can help improve insulin sensitivity. This, in turn, can lead to lower blood sugar levels. This happens because semaglutide helps the cells better respond to insulin, and this allows the sugar to be shuttled into the cells for energy.
And if there’s one thing we know about sugar, it’s that too much of it can be detrimental to our health. In fact, high blood sugar levels have been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
3. May help reduce inflammation
Inflammation is another major contributor to obesity and related health problems. Fortunately, semaglutide has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
In one study, semaglutide was shown to decrease levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker of inflammation. This suggests that semaglutide may help reduce inflammation throughout the body.
4. Can help improve cholesterol levels
An unhealthy diet can lead to high cholesterol levels, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Semaglutide has also been shown to improve cholesterol levels.
In one study, semaglutide was shown to decrease LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 13.5% and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol by 8.9%. These are both major risk factors for heart disease, so this is a very promising finding.
7. May help protect against nerve damage
How semaglutide may help protect against nerve damage is not entirely clear, but some studies suggest that it may be due to the fact that semaglutide can help improve insulin sensitivity.
In one study, semaglutide was shown to decrease levels of nerve growth factor (NGF), which is a marker of nerve damage. This suggests that semaglutide may help reduce the risk of nerve damage.
Note: Of course, semaglutide is not a miracle drug, and it’s not going to work for everyone. But the research looks promising, and semaglutide may be a helpful addition to your weight loss journey.
If you’re considering trying semaglutide, be sure to talk to your doctor first. They can help you decide if semaglutide is right for you, and they can also help you create a weight loss plan that’s tailored to your unique needs.
How is semaglutide taken?
Semaglutide usually comes in the form of a once-weekly injection. The injection is given under the skin (subcutaneously) in the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen. Here’s a general overview of how to give a semaglutide injection:
Step 1: Choose the injection site.
The injection can be given in the upper arm, thigh, or abdomen. Semaglutide is usually injected in the abdomen, but you can choose any injection site that’s comfortable for you.
Step 2: Clean the injection site with alcohol.
Use an alcohol swab to clean the injection site. This will help ensure that the injection is given cleanly and with minimal pain.
Step 3: Insert the needle.
Insert the needle into the injection site at a 90-degree angle. If you’re injecting into the upper arm, insert the needle into the fleshy part of the arm.
If you’re injecting into the thigh, insert the needle into the outer fleshy part of the thigh. And if you’re injecting into the abdomen, insert the needle into the fleshy part of the abdomen above the hip bone.
Step 4: Inject the semaglutide.
Once the needle is in place, inject the semaglutide slowly and steadily. The semaglutide should be injected over a period of 5 to 10 seconds.
Step 5: Remove the needle and apply pressure.
Once the semaglutide has been injected, remove the needle and apply pressure to the injection site with a clean cotton ball or gauze pad. This will help prevent bleeding and bruising.
Never start or stop taking semaglutide without first talking to your doctor. This is very important, as semaglutide can cause serious side effects if it’s not taken correctly. For more on this, check out Peptide Injections for Weight Loss: The New Fat-Busting Tool?
What are the side effects of semaglutide?
Semaglutide may cause some side effects, but they are usually mild and temporary. The most common side effects of semaglutide include:
Severe side effects of semaglutide are rare, but they can occur. If you experience any severe side effects, stop taking semaglutide and call your doctor immediately.
Semaglutide is a medication that’s used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. But it’s promise as a weight loss medication is what’s most exciting about this drug.
In studies, semaglutide has been shown to help people lose weight and keep it off. It can also help improve other health markers, such as cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
If you’re considering trying semaglutide for weight, talk to your healthcare provider first.