You've probably seen or heard about the hype surrounding weight loss drugs. It has undoubtedly been a topic of conversation with Nourished with Emily clients over the past few months. And we figured it's ABOUT time we discussed it with you, too! So here's the scoop, from your dietitian, about one particular obesity medication, Semaglutide (found in Wegovy or Ozempic).
Semaglutide was initially an injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist drug for treating type 2 diabetes. It works by helping the pancreas release a proper amount of insulin when a person’s blood sugar levels are high. Insulin aids in moving sugar from the blood to be used for energy in other tissues in the body.
So, how does it work for weight loss?
In June 2021, Wegovy injection (once a week) was approved by the FDA as a new treatment option for adults with chronic weight management. Patients who have an initial body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg or greater, or BMI 27 kg or greater with one other weight-related health condition (high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, etc.) are canidates for this medication. Dosages start with 0.25 mg, and are gradually increased during week 5, 9, 13, and 17 until reaching a 2.4 mg weekly injection dosage. When dosages are “not tolerated”, the dosage is adjusted accordingly by the physician. Wegovy reports that after 1 year, the average weight loss is 10-16% of your starting body weight.
Semaglutide injection is a medication that is in a class called incretin mimetics. Let me explain, incretins are gut hormones that aid in digestion and blood sugar control. Incretin mimetics are medications that mimic incretin hormones, which is why they are used for chronic weight management and patients with type 2 diabetes.
In short, these injections mimic a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that targets brain areas that regulate food intake and your regular appetite. GLP-1 naturally occurs when carbohydrates are consumed, and this process is activated when the carbs enter into your stomach. (Hint, hint…you have to eat your carbs.)
It works by slowing down the time it takes for a person’s stomach to empty and signaling the brain that the stomach is full. This allows you to experience less hunger and feel satisfied eating less food.
As with all medications, there are side effects. The most common side effects of Wegovy we have heard from NWE clients are nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain, headache, fatigue, gastrointestinal issues, and more.
Can our bodies do this naturally?
In short, yes! As I mentioned above (sorry, I know I dug deep into scientific terms earlier), the semaglutide injections MIMIC hormones your body already has. Two hormones that control your appetite, regulate your body weight, and give you fullness cues are called ghrelin and leptin. Leptin decreases hunger, while ghrelin increases it. Ghrelin is made in your stomach and signals your brain when you are hungry.
Now, the most serious question you may ask is, "Is Semaglutide or any other obesity medication right for me?" I'm sorry, it's not our place to say. Determining if you should take weight loss medication is, and should be, your choice. This would need to be a conversation initiated between you and your primary care physician. It is also a medication that needs to be monitored by your physician, too.
However, if you would like to talk to one of the NWE Dietitian and Nutritionist professional coaches about this (or other) weight loss medications, please feel free to reach out. Want to know how to go about weight loss without medication, again, let's chat. We strive for honest and supportive conversations with our clients and extend that invitation to you too.
At Nourished with Emily, we have worked with clients who used weight loss medication in the past or currently. Regardless of what medicine you take or don't take, our goal is to provide you with the support, guidance, and tools to bring optimal nutrition and wellness to your body. We are not here to push products but aim to provide you with accurate information.
By NWE Admin, Erica Perusse