Newer Weight Loss Medications: How Do They Work?

woman with tape measure around waist to illustrate satisfaction after using weight loss medications
Medically Reviewed
October 5, 2023

When you’re struggling to feel your 100% best, it makes sense to consider the newer weight loss medications as an option for meeting your weight loss target. As part of your overall health plan, losing weight effectively and safely can certainly play a part.

But before making your decision, its important to gain a better understanding of these drugs – and how they can best support your weight loss journey.

So – let’s dive in and consider:

  • How Semaglutide, Mounjaro, Ozempic, and Wegovy work in your body
  • The importance of taking a whole-body approach to your health

How Weight Loss Medications Work

In order to fully understand how newer weight loss medications work, let’s take a closer look at  Ozempic, Semaglutide, Wegovy, and Mounjaro.

All these medications activate the GLP-1 receptor – which stands for glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor. This receptor is found on the surface of cells in various tissues of your body, including the pancreas, brain, and gastrointestinal tract.

By activating the GLP-1 receptor, these medications trigger a series of effects, such as:

  • stimulation of insulin release
  • slowing down of gastric emptying
  • promotion of satiety
  • appetite suppression

All of these medications are FDA approved, for both diabetes and weight loss.

At Nava Health, we offer a semaglutide-based medication, that functions like Ozempic and Wegovy, so we’ll look at those here and see how they work.

Ozempic: A Leading Force Among Newer Weight Loss Medications

Ozempic is one of the most well-known among newer weight loss medications. It contains, as we indicated, semaglutide as the active ingredient and acts as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. By activating the GLP-1 receptor, Ozempic triggers the above-mentioned effects that help your body regulate blood sugar levels and contribute to your weight loss.

Benefit and Safety of Ozempic

One benefit of Ozempic is that it offers a good safety profile. Firstly, it’s more likely to be tolerated, and secondly, it promotes higher medication adherence compared to other weight loss medications.

#Ozempic continues to trend on social media, but recent queries have asked about whether it causes thyroid cancer. This is an important question, so we’ll answer it for you here.

Reviewing all the studies available, and their limitations, the latest evidence-based research asserts that “no clear relationship has been drawn between GLP-1 receptor agonists and thyroid cancer in humans.”

Understanding Wegovy

Wegovy is similar to Ozempic – it contains semaglutide and activates your GLP-1 receptors. However, Wegovy is administered in higher doses and has a different dosing schedule than Ozempic.

Wegovy’s specific requirements for on-label medication are based on weight and weight-related conditions as follows:

  • a body mass index (BMI) between 27kg/m and 30kg/m plus at least one weight-related condition (for example, you might have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol)
  • or a BMI of 30kg/m or greater

However, Wegovy will

  • help regulate your blood sugar,
  • keep your stomach feeling fuller for longer between meals, and
  • suppress your liver to stop it producing too much sugar

This means that both these semaglutide-based medications are acting to help you achieve your target weight loss in a way that previous medications perhaps couldn’t.

Let’s sum up the importance of semaglutide in these two medications with a little more detail.

Semaglutide: the Key Ingredient in Wegovyand Ozempic

Semaglutide, as we’ve indicated, is similar to a natural hormone in your body called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). This hormone is released from your intestines after you eat and has several roles. These include:

Appetite Control

GLP-1 makes you feel full and satisfied after eating, reducing your urge to eat more. Semaglutideenhances this feeling, making you feel fuller for longer and thus helping you eat less.

This is important, because recent research has linked genetics to obesity, which means it’s not necessarily a lack of willpower that’s causing you to eat more than necessary. Your genes might be responsible. Semaglutideis therefore a possible life-saver if you struggle with weight.

Blood Sugar Regulation

GLP-1 also helps in controlling blood sugar levels by increasing the release of insulin (a hormone that helps cells take in sugar to make energy) and reducing the release of glucagon (a hormone that increases sugar in the bloodstream). By mimicking GLP-1, semaglutidehelps in maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

This, too, is important because unregulated blood sugar spikes can cause insulin resistance which then contributes to inflammation in your body, for example in your gut. Semaglutideplays a regulating role that leads to more healthy blood sugar levels and less risk of inflammation – which is the root cause of many health issues.

Slowing Down Digestion

GLP-1 slows down the movement of food through your stomach. This means that food stays in your stomach for a longer time, contributing to you feeling full. Semaglutide, by mimicking this hormone, can also slow down digestion. You therefore absorb more of the nutrients in your food, which is healthier.

It’s important to note, however, that while semaglutideis a helpful tool for weight loss, it’s most effective when combined with

  • a healthy diet.
  • regular exercise, and
  • supervision by a healthcare provider specialized in functional nutrition and medicine.

Personalized, Precision Medicine for Weight Loss at Nava Health

We understand that in the struggle to lose weight and improve your overall health, weight loss medications are a draw!

At Nava Health, however, we always take a whole-body, integrative approach to your weight management. We look for the root causes of your weight gain and help you include a balanced diet, regular physical activity, and healthy habits alongside a weight loss drug if that will be helpful to you.

This is a functional medicine approach. And working with our integrative, expert team of practitioners is key. They can evaluate your specific needs based on your medical history, lifestyle, and weight loss goals to create a personalized plan within our NavaRX medical weight loss program.

Our experience is that band-aid approaches don’t work! We take time to support you throughout your weight loss journey. So, reach out to our team today to discuss when and how weight loss drugs can play a part in restoring your 100% vitality in an effective way! Let’s talk.

Article medically reviewed and approved by Nour Amri, CNS, LDN.

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Nour - Nava Health
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Nour Amri is a Licensed Integrative Nutritionist, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and a Certified Ketogenic Nutrition Specialist. She earned her Master’s degree from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. She also received her certification for mind-body medicine facilitation from Georgetown University School of Medicine. In her approach, Nour applies the principles of Integrative and Functional Nutrition, which emphasize healthy eating personalized to the client’s genetics, environment, lifestyle, and health concerns.

Article Name
Newer Weight Loss Medications: How Do They Work?
Learn how weight loss medications work and how a functional, precision medicine approach to weight loss will help you make the most of them.