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What’s the fuss with GLP-1?

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Blood Sugar, Weight Loss

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It seems like you can’t go on social media or listen to a health podcast without hearing about Glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) and GLP-1 agonists. And yet, misinformation is rampant; some claim GLP-1 is the key to weight loss, whereas others push back—harshly. So, what’s the deal? 

Let us get this straight: GLP-1 is a naturally occurring peptide hormone that we all need! 

There is an epidemic of GLP-1 deficiency affecting Americans and their journey to weight loss. At best, GLP-1 deficiency can throw off our system and lead to problems with energy, sleep, and mood. At worst, GLP-1 deficiency can make us susceptible to diseases like type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.  

In this blog, we’ll discover the truth behind GLP-1 and GLP-1 agonists, and why they go together with weight loss.  

What is GLP-1? 

GLP-1 is a peptide hormone produced in the small intestine when we eat. It has physiological effects on how our body processes food, how our brain evaluates appetite, and how we regenerate cells.  

GLP-1 and Digestion 

GLP-1 triggers insulin release, regulates blood sugar, and slows stomach emptying. This hormone’s role in digestion is why individuals with conditions like type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease often have GLP-1 deficiencies, too.  

GLP-1 and Appetite 

Have you ever heard the saying “your eyes are bigger than your stomach”? It’s because our brain tells us when we’re full or hungry—not our stomachs!  

GLP-1 is part of this communication. It sends appetite signals to our brain to determine whether we should feel hungry or full, and how much so. GLP-1 deficiencies could be the foundation for overeating and constant intrusive thoughts about food (AKA food noise) since the brain isn’t getting appropriate hunger signals. 

GLP-1 and Regeneration 

Newer studies are revealing that GLP-1 isn’t just an appetite hormone, it also has regenerative properties. The regenerative properties restore cells, cartilage, and joints. These properties are a feat for brain diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. 

What is a GLP-1 Agonist? 

A GLP-1 agonist is an almost bioidentical replica of GLP-1, with the only difference being an extra amino acid for a longer half-life.  

Why the Recent GLP-1 Agonist Craze? 

2017 and 2022 marked a new era. In these years, two well-known GLP-1 agonists (semaglutide and tirzepatide) were trademarked by pharmaceutical companies—Novo Norish and Eli Lilly—and approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). This was a huge step for mainstreaming GLP-1 agonists, since not all compounding pharmacies had FDA approval*. These branded GLP-1 agonists then rose to fame for weight loss benefits, controversy, and celebrity stamp of approval.  

*Note: Some compounding pharmacies do have FDA approval*.

Individuals struggling with managing weight loss see quicker and easier results using a GLP-1 agonist. GLP-1 agonists are subcutaneous injections, meaning they are injected into the fatty tissue layer below the skin for slower absorption in the body.  

The notable effect of GLP-1 agonists is appetite suppression and quieted food noise. With these benefits, patients are less focused on cravings and more focused on their lifestyle and diet goals. As patients couple their newfound lifestyle with the lowered blood sugar benefits of GLP-1 agonists, they are relieved with stable mood, energy, and appetite. 

Common Misconceptions About GLP-1 Agonists  

With popularity comes misconceptions! There are many misconceptions about GLP-1 agonist branding, drug status, and compounding pharmacies. Let’s break it down. 

GLP-1 Agonist Branding 

Since we often refer to GLP-1 agonists by brand names, it’s a popular assumption that semaglutide and tirzepatide are completely different. But do not get it twisted, these names are from the pharmaceutical companies patenting doses and injection devices—NOT the actual GLP-1. It’s like how Ibuprofen and Naproxen are basically the same drug, just with different names and doses. 

GLP-1 Agonist Drug Status 

The biggest misconception about semaglutide and tirzepatide is that they are unnecessary and artificial drugs. But that doesn’t tell the full story—GLP-1 agonists are peptides, which we naturally produce in our body!  

Yes, the GLP-1 is technically “unnatural” because of the additional amino acid and certain dosages, but this isn’t the first medicine of its kind. Insulin pumps and hormone replacement therapies are just like GLP-1 agonists because they mimic and encourage bodily function. 

GLP-1 Agonists at Compounding Pharmacies vs. Brand Names 

Given that GLP-1 is a naturally occurring peptide, the actual GLP-1 agonist cannot be patented. However, pharmaceutical companies have found ways to patent certain aspects of it, which create distinct types. 

Brand Name Patented GLP-1 Agonist 

The reason we have brand names like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro is because the dosage and injection device are patented. 

If you inject Ozempic or Mounjaro, it will be a high dose predetermined by a manufacturer with a special injection device. The dosage and device were developed by clinical trials and FDA approval. With its pharmaceutical industry backing, it makes sense why these patented GLP-1 agonist brands are so mainstream.  

It is important to acknowledge the side effects that come with the patented GLP-1 agonists such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Since the dosage is patented for consistency, it is higher and can disrupt the system more intensely by providing a significant burst of GLP-1.  

Compounding Pharmacy GLP-1 Agonist  

Compounding pharmacies have more leeway when it comes to a GLP-1 agonist’s dosage and price. There is no “one” dosage and price because there is no patented standard. 

 Instead, compounding pharmacies purchase GLP-1 at a wholesale price without a set dosage or a device that comes with it. 

Compounding pharmacies create dosages based on practitioner prescriptions. Thus, receiving a GLP-1 agonist from a compounding pharmacy can give access to a much lower dose (and cost). The lower dose still offers benefits and may diminish the intense side effects.  

The downfall of receiving a GLP-1 agonist from a compounding pharmacy is that it does not come with the specialized medical injection device, so it might be harder to maneuver the standard vial and syringe method. But, good news, it’s likely your practitioner can help with this! 

Foods that Support Natural GLP-1 Production 

GLP-1 agonists are not the only way to integrate more GLP-1 into our system. Since our bodies naturally produce GLP-1, that means we can encourage production with the food we eat! If you’re looking to increase your GLP-1 production, try foods chocked with fiber, protein, and healthy fats such as: 

  • Meat 
  • Fish and shellfish 
  • Soy 
  • Oats 
  • Flaxseeds 
  • Hemp seeds 
  • Wheat 
  • Eggs 
  • Nuts 
  • Avocado 
  • Broccoli 
  • Olive Oil (instead of seed oils) 

Supplements that Support Natural GLP-1 Production 

Besides diet and GLP-1 agonists, supplements are also a tool for supporting GLP-1 production.  

We recommend Pendulum GLP-1 Probiotic Pro Capsules. The Akkermensia and clostridium butyricum in these capsules play a role in inducing GLP-1 production. 

Foundational Health and GLP-1   

GLP-1 is a vital hormone for regulating blood sugar, triggering insulin release, regulating appetite, and slowing stomach emptying. Having enough GLP-1 keeps our metabolic health balanced and manages the connection between our gut and brain. 

Whether you’re consuming GLP-1 through food or supplements, or taking a GLP-1 agonist, the benefits must be supplemented with foundational health. Foundational health is eating whole foods, limiting alcohol intake, exercising frequently, sleeping, and managing stress. Without these pillars, the integration of GLP-1 or GLP-1 agonist will be short term at best.  

Alive and Well Weight Loss Program 

There is no denying the difference that GLP-1 agonists are making in so many lives. Whether you’re suffering from a metabolic disease or just can’t seem to get weight off no matter how hard you try, GLP-1 agonists are a leg up that can propel you to your goals.  

At Alive and Well, we offer an adult weight loss program with GLP-1 agonists and consistent practitioner support. The program includes testing, health coaching, educational modules, and practitioner prescribed GLP-1 agonists from a trusted compounding pharmacy. We’re ready to help you with your weight loss journey, request a provider visit today. 

 

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-are-peptides 

https://drhyman.com/blog/2024/04/17/podcast-ep884/ 

https://www.healthline.com/health/foods-that-increase-glp-1#how-it-works 

https://stop.publichealth.gwu.edu/LFD-jan24#:~:text=Stigma%20from%20all%20corners%20of,to%20dramatically%20quiet%20food%20noise

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