Semaglutide is a drug that has historically been used to treat type 2 diabetes, but recent research has revealed that it is also quite effective at helping people who do not have diabetes lose weight. For people with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or higher with at least one weight-related medical condition, the FDA approved a new dose of semaglutide (2.4 mg) in November 2020.
The usage of Semaglutide for weight loss in non-diabetics, its mechanism of action, and its advantages and disadvantages will all be covered in this blog.
How does semaglutide function?
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. After a meal, the gut produces the hormone GLP-1, which is essential for controlling blood sugar levels. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that stimulates the body's GLP-1 receptors to imitate the actions of GLP-1. As a result, there is an increase in satiety, a delay in gastric emptying, and enhanced insulin secretion, all of which help to lower blood sugar levels and minimize food intake.
How it works
- Suppresses Appetite
Semaglutide works on the parts of the brain that regulate hunger and food cravings to help suppress appetite. Particularly, it has an impact on the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that regulates satiety and desire. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and other satiety hormones, which work to suppress appetite and heighten sensations of fullness, are increased by semaglutide. People can consume less because of this and lose weight.
- Slows down stomach emptying
Because semaglutide slows down the pace at which food leaves the stomach, it may make you feel more satisfied and cause you to eat less. Longer digestion of food results in the release of satiety hormones, which work to suppress hunger and heighten feelings of fullness. People who do this may consume less and lose weight.
- Improves metabolic health
By decreasing insulin resistance, semaglutide can also help to improve metabolic health by lowering blood sugar levels and improving glucose metabolism. This can lessen the possibility of getting type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
What are the advantages?
The medication, which comes in the form of a once-weekly injection, is frequently recommended in conjunction with a calorie-reduced diet and increased physical exercise. Semaglutide was demonstrated to be successful in promoting weight reduction in the STEP 1 clinical trial, which included more than 1,900 participants without diabetes. In comparison to those who got a placebo, participants who received semaglutide lost an average of 15% of their body weight.Semaglutide was proven to be efficient in promoting weight reduction in a different clinical trial known as STEP 4, which included more than 1,800 participants with obesity but no diabetes. Participants who got semaglutide lost an average of 17.4% of their body weight, compared to 5.4% for those who received a placebo.
Although semaglutide is typically thought to be safe, there are certain hazards involved. The gastrointestinal adverse effects that were most frequently documented in clinical trials included nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. These adverse effects frequently get better with time and can be controlled with prescription changes. Considering that Semaglutide has been proven to induce tumors in animal experiments, there is some worry that it may raise the chance of developing certain types of cancer.
Semaglutide clinical trials for weight loss have not revealed an elevated risk of cancer, and more study is required to completely understand this risk. Last but not least, it is important to remember that Semaglutide is not a miracle cure for weight loss. It is meant to be used as a component of an all-encompassing weight-management strategy that also involves behavior modification, a nutritious diet, and regular exercise. It's also crucial to remember that not everyone should use semaglutide, and that it should only be used under a doctor's supervision.
When prescribed Semaglutide, a self-administered weekly subcutaneous injection into the upper arm, thigh, or stomach that has already been filled is required.
Although every person has different needs, the drug guidance specifies that dose often follows this pattern (FDA, 2017):