Semaglutide (also known as WeGovy or Ozempic) has been the hot topic over the last few months given the number of high profile individuals who have come forward stating they have, or are currently using this, “magical fat loss drug.” The thing is, is that Ozempic has been around for years, so why are we just hearing about it now?
The Semaglutide injection was first approved under the brand name Ozempic back in 2017 as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. In 2021, the FDA approved the drug under the brand name Wegovy as a weight loss medication.
How Does It Work? Semaglutide acts as a “copy cat” to the GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) hormone (which we naturally produce in our bodies) so that it can bind to it’s receptor & exert the same sort of effects. What are the effects of increased GLP-1 levels within our gut?
Limits spikes in blood glucose after eating
Slows gastric emptying
Regulates appetite and suppresses hunger
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the most common side effects of Semaglutide include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal (stomach) pain, headache, fatigue, dyspepsia (indigestion), dizziness, abdominal distention, eructation (belching), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in patients with type 2 diabetes, flatulence (gas buildup), gastroenteritis (an intestinal infection) and gastro-esophageal reflux disease (a type of digestive disorder). There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to Semaglutide and one of the current main concerns is the rate at which the fat/weight is lost, resulting in an average of 25-39% being muscle mass and 61-75% coming from fat stores. This may not seem alarming in the short-term but the rapid muscle loss can cause some serious issues over time. Within this specific study, it was found that the fluctuation in percentages mostly varied due to the each individual’s starting BMI and how much overall weight loss was needed to get within a healthy range. Another issue being exposed is that once an individual comes off the drug, their previous habits and issues surrounding food seemingly return, which would mean in order to maintain the effects of the drug long-term, the individual would have to stay on it for the remaining duration of their lives. Who is Semaglutide for? As stated earlier, the Semaglutide injection was first approved under the brand name Ozempic back in 2017 as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. It was approved in 2021 for a weight loss aid for obese individuals and more recently has been used for individuals who are clinically diagnosed with binge eating disorder but you must have a BMI greater than 27 kg/m2 with at least one of the following weight-related co-morbidities: high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, sleep apnea, or cardiovascular disease. It should also be utilized as part of a comprehensive approach that includes fundamental nutrition and lifestyle modifications such as optimal daily protein intake, regular weekly resistance training sessions, optimal stress management and good sleep.
What's the Takeaway? In conclusion, there is still a LOT to learn about this proclaimed “miracle drug” and it is not to be abused simply for vanity purposes, which we are seeing a lot of within the mainstream media. It is felt that more long-term studies need to be done to truly gain a clear prospective on the efficacy and safety of the drug. This is only the beginning and doctors are hopeful that this will change people’s perspectives on obesity treatments as a whole.