You cannot fail to have heard of semaglutide! This medication has gained much more attention recently for its effectiveness in weight loss amid a worsening global epidemic of obesity.
Originally, doctors only used it as a type 2 diabetes medication. But finding an effective medication for weight management for anyone who has a chronic obesity problem is a game-changer. Doctors now realize you don’t always lack the willpower to reduce your weight. It’s often a metabolic issue that needs medical help.
So, if you’re wanting to understand how semaglutide can help you lose weight before making a decision, this is where you’ll find everything you need to know.
What is Semaglutide?
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. That means it activates or stimulates GLP-1 receptors in your body. GLP-1 itself is a naturally occurring hormone in your intestines that plays a crucial role in helping control blood sugar levels after you eat.
You’ll recognize the names Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro: They’re all based on semaglutide.
When you use a semaglutide injection, it mimics the effects of GLP-1 in your body. The bonus is that semaglutide lasts longer in your body than natural GLP-1, so you only need a weekly injection.
Let’s look at what a semaglutide injection does to your body.
What Does Semaglutide Do to Your Body?
Helps to Control Blood Sugar Level
Semaglutide helps your pancreas release insulin in response to meals. Insulin is a hormone that allows your cells to take in sugar from your bloodstream and use it for energy.
The injection enhances this process to ensure your blood sugar levels don’t spike too high for too long after you eat (which is what happens in type 2 diabetes). Otherwise, low blood sugar follows high blood sugar, and you feel hungry again. A semaglutide injection evens out low blood sugar and high blood sugar.
This is why doctors have used semaglutide for years to treat type 2 diabetes – prolonged levels of high blood sugar can cause side effects and health complications such as
- cardiovascular issues,
- kidney damage,
- neuropathy (nerve damage),
- eye problems such as diabetic retinopathy,
- slower healing of any wounds you get,
- foot ulcers due to blood vessel damage that can lead to amputation,
- increased susceptibility to infections, and
- sometimes cognitive decline.
Slows Down Digestion
In higher amounts, semaglutide medication increases the release of the hormone called GLP-1. This slows down the rate at which food moves through your stomach. So after eating, you feel full for a longer period, which can help reduce the amount of food you consume.
This is linked to point 1 about blood sugar regulation: Because glucose from food enters your bloodstream more slowly, you experience more even levels of blood sugar throughout the day.
In addition, slower digestion allows you to absorb necessary nutrients, which improves functional nutrition and is an important part of chronic weight management (see later).
How Does Semaglutide Cause Weight Loss?
Semaglutide acts on the receptors in your brain – specifically in your hypothalamus, which is the region responsible for controlling hunger and appetite.
When GLP-1 binds to these receptors, it sends signals to reduce your appetite and increase feelings of fullness or satiety. This helps you feel less hungry, and you’ll eat smaller portions – ultimately contributing to losing weight.
Apart from just reducing hunger, a semaglutide injection also enhances feelings of fullness – called “satiety.” This is mostly down to the slower digestion of food we mentioned earlier. So, you eat less and feel more satisfied with what you do eat and start to lose weight.
Reduces Intake of Calories
When you feel full for longer periods and therefore less hungry, you’ll consume fewer calories throughout the day. Over time, this caloric deficit also leads to you losing weight.
The Science Behind Semaglutide’s Effect on Appetite
The exact mechanism by which semaglutide for weight loss may affect appetite is complex and involves multiple pathways in your body. However, a key aspect is its action on the brain (as we mentioned) and in your gut.
Semaglutide acts on specific receptors in your brain’s appetite centers – particularly in the hypothalamus. By activating these receptors, semaglutide sends signals that mimic the effects of natural hormones that tell your brain you’re full. As a result, you experience reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness.
Several gut hormones play a crucial role in gut-brain crosstalk – signaling to your brain that it’s received enough nutrients and is satiated. This organized communication involves a complex interplay of hormones and nerve signals (there are 100 million neurons in your digestive tract, controlling movement and absorption!).
Moreover, various factors influence this process, including the type of nutrients you consume, how fast you eat, and individual differences in hormone sensitivity. After all, you’re unique!
That’s the science, but how much weight can you lose in a month with semaglutide injections? It depends on how fast this medication works…
How Fast Does Semaglutide Work for Weight Loss?
Semaglutide has been the subject of various studies highlighting its efficacy in promoting weight reduction.
One notable study reported that participants who took semaglutide experienced an average weight loss of 14.9% from their baseline weight over a 68-week period, compared to 2.4% in the placebo group.
Another study focused on 175 overweight or obese patients. The results showed that these patients achieved an average total body loss of weight of 5.9% at 3 months and 10.9% at 6 months.
This suggests that if you were to use semaglutide, you could potentially see a weight reduction of approximately 5.9% of your current weight in the first three months, which translates to significant loss of weight over time.
But which kind of fat loss? What about belly fat?
Does Semaglutide Get Rid of Belly Fat?
Overall weight reduction is important, but the distribution of your fat loss matters too. Belly fat – visceral fat – surrounds your vital organs and is linked to other health issues.
However, semaglutide has already been studied for its effects on body fat distribution. One study – known as STEP 1 – was presented at the ENDO 2021 conference.
As part of the study, researchers used the DEXA technique to assess body composition and monitor the effects of semaglutide therapy on total body and stomach fat in 140 participants.
They found that treatment with semaglutide improved body composition by reducing excess body fat, including belly fat, and increasing the amount of lean body mass. The more weight a participant shed, the greater the improvement in their body composition. What’s not to like?
If you’re considering semaglutide to lose weight, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide insight into expected outcomes based on the latest research and your individual health profile. But shedding visceral fat is one of many beneficial side effects of losing weight!
Bear in mind that, while medications like semaglutide help you meet your target weight, an integrative approach is vital for sustainable results and overall health. This includes a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle modifications – we’ll talk about those in a moment.
But first, let’s look at semaglutide use for losing weight when you don’t have a diabetes diagnosis.
Semaglutide for Weight Loss in Non-Diabetics
The FDA has approved semaglutide injections for chronic weight management in adults with obesity (a BMI of 30 or greater) or if you’re merely overweight (a BMI of 27 or greater) and have at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.
What is the Semaglutide Dose for Weight Loss?
In comparison to semaglutide for diabetes, the once-weekly medication dose for weight management must be increased gradually over 16 to 20 weeks from a small starting dose to 2.4 mg. This is to reduce initial gastrointestinal side effects.
However, make sure when using this medication you don’t inadvertently use semaglutide in combination with
- other semaglutide-containing products,
- other GLP-1 receptor agonists, or
- different products intended for weight reduction, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal products.
Tell your doctor if you do, because drug interactions between different medications can introduce dangerous side effects.
But if you want to manage your weight effectively, using this medication offers you a new treatment option. And that applies even when you don’t use it for type 2 diabetes medication.
So, let’s look at the benefits and side effects of using semaglutide for weight management if you’re not living with diabetes.
Benefits and Side Effects of Semaglutide for Weight Loss
Benefits of Semaglutide for Weight Loss
Effectiveness: Semaglutide has proven effective in promoting significant weight loss using this medication weekly. Non-diabetic individuals with obesity experienced an average weight reduction of 11.85% from their baseline when using semaglutide, compared to those on a placebo. It’s also effective post menopause.
Reduced Risk of Other Health Conditions: Alongside weight management benefits, semaglutide can potentially reduce your risk of heart attack, kidney disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes – which are often linked to weight issues. For example, even a decade of diabetes shortens your life and brings cardiovascular risks.
Appetite Suppression: As we saw above, feeling satiated and less hungry leads to reduced food intake and, consequently, loss of weight.
Other benefits include a once-weekly injection, visible health improvement, and a feeling of wellness.
Side Effects of Semaglutide for Weight Loss
This type of medication has been used for years. But starting semaglutide means you’re likely to experience gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, severe stomach pain, vomiting, discomfort, diarrhea, or constipation. That’s why you start on a lower dose and work up under the oversight of your healthcare provider.
If these side-effects (which can also include headache, fatigue, or dizziness) are serious, you may stop using semaglutide medication. Many people, however, persevere past the initial stage and feel well again.
Serious side effects are very rare but can include risk of heart attack, allergic reactions, kidney damage, and pancreatitis.
Where Can I Buy Semaglutide for Weight Loss?
You can access semaglutide for weight loss via a prescription from a healthcare professional and use it under their supervision. Copycats are causing concern so please don’t buy this medication from an internet provider with no proper guarantees. It’s too risky.
How to Get Semaglutide for Weight Loss Safely
If you’re considering using semaglutide for weight loss, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to discuss your medical history and help lower the risks we mentioned above.
This medication is not a one-size-fits-all solution! And because weight management will always include changes to diet and exercise, semaglutide is just another tool in your toolbox. We’ll talk about functional nutrition and exercise in a moment. But first…
How Long Can You Be on Semaglutide for Weight Loss?
Semaglutide treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes has been proven safe long term. In non-diabetics, we’re talking about semaglutide at higher weekly doses. There is, so far, less long-term evidence here. What is known is that in one study, after 68 weeks, those who stopped this medication regained two-thirds of their prior weight loss. BUT – significantly – they also stopped their lifestyle changes!
This is why, at Nava Health, we recommend you access our NavaRX program and use semaglutide as part of an overall health plan.
This addresses the root causes of your weight gain, your lifestyle, health aims, nutrition, and exercise under the supervision of one of our health experts. You don’t then need semaglutide longer than necessary. It’s a whole-body, integrative approach to your health – with a view to healthy longevity.
So – let’s dive deeper into the essential components of weight management: medical supervision, functional nutrition, and exercise, and how they complement the use of medications like semaglutide.
Functional Nutrition and Exercise for Weight Loss with Semaglutide
Medical supervision is important for checking your semaglutide medication – but also for monitoring your supporting diet and nutrition.
When you’re not sure where to start, a Board-Certified Clinical Nutritionist can provide personalized advice, meal plans, and support based on your specific needs and goals.
This functional nutrition approach looks at the foundational way food affects your body on the cellular level. It helps control low blood sugar or high blood sugar. restoring balance and proper function to your body through diet and natural supplementation. The plan is unique to you!
- Activities like walking, running, cycling, and swimming can increase your heart rate and help burn calories.
- Some cardio is great for improving heart health and stamina.
- Weightlifting or resistance exercises in your routine help build muscle.
- And try yoga or Pilates, for example, to improve flexibility, muscle tone, and balance – these may also help reduce stress (often linked to weight gain).
Consistent, moderate activity of at least 150 minutes each week will support your weight management plan.
Combining Semaglutide Medication with a Diet and Exercise Program
Semaglutide medication is a tool that complements your diet and exercise efforts.
While the medication can help suppress appetite and promote weight loss, lasting results are only achieved when you combine it with a healthy lifestyle. Remember, there’s no magic pill for losing weight when you’re obese and the pounds won’t move. You need an integrative approach so that you find what works best for you and stay committed to your goals!
There are other weight loss medications available, but we do not offer them at Nava. The reason is that, in our experience, using semaglutide within our NavaRX program has proven the most effective method for long-term weight management.
Nava Health Can Help with Semaglutide Therapy for Weight Management
At Nava Health, our experts specialize in a customized, data-driven, integrative method of healthcare. We understand that obesity is a complex condition and believe in combining the power of a semaglutide injection with personalized nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle strategies.
If you’re keen to beat those extra pounds, reach out and discover how we can help you achieve and maintain your target weight with a tailored approach with semaglutide that prioritizes your wellbeing.
Call us today and let’s talk!
A Medical Director, and one of the first physicians to join the Nava Health & Vitality Center, Dr. Douglas Lord has made significant contributions to our Center and its founding principles. Dr. Lord has helped develop and implement the Nava Method™—Nava’s proprietary approach to total body wellness. He has also been instrumental in liaising with other expert practitioners to successfully implement Nava’s range of therapies, treatments, and products.