Skip to Main Content
Medical weight loss

What are GLP-1 Medications and What Do They Do?

August 25, 2023

GLP-1 medications have been all over the news lately. Some articles tout their success in helping people achieve weight loss, while others criticize their newfound role in medical weight management. So what’s the truth? And what are these new “weight loss drugs” anyway? For starters, they aren’t new at all. GLP-1 medications have been used to treat diabetes for the last twenty plus years. 


Our body naturally produces a hormone called GLP-1 in our gut. This hormone responds to food intake and plays a critical role in regulating blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion and reducing the production of glucagon, another hormone that raises blood sugar. GLP-1 (Glucagon-Like Peptide-1) medications are a class of drugs used primarily to treat type 2 diabetes. These drugs are designed to mimic the actions of natural GLP-1 and enhance its effects in the body. Common brands of GLP-1 medication include Ozempic and Wegovy.


How did GLP-1 medications become weight loss drugs? 

The role of GLP-1 medications in weight loss is an interesting side effect observed in some people using these drugs for diabetes management. Alongside their blood sugar-lowering effects, GLP-1 medications have been found to:


  • Increase satiety: GLP-1 helps regulate appetite by signaling to the brain that the stomach is full, which can lead to reduced food intake.

  • Slow gastric emptying: These medications slow down the rate at which the stomach empties, leading to a longer-lasting feeling of fullness and reducing the desire to eat more frequently.

  • Promote weight loss-friendly hormones: GLP-1 medications can positively impact hormones related to weight regulation, such as reducing ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and increasing peptide YY (a hormone that suppresses appetite).

  • Reduce cravings: GLP-1 drugs may help control food cravings and emotional eating tendencies, leading to better food choices and overall calorie reduction.


Who is a candidate for GLP-1 medication for weight loss? 

Innovative Vitality providers commonly prescribe GLP-1 medications and work closely with patients to monitor their progress every step of the way. You may be a candidate for GLP-1 medication if you have a BMI in the overweight or obese range, or if you have a condition called insulin resistance. 


Insulin resistance occurs when the body’s cells become less responsive to insulin, a hormone that is naturally produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. When your body is resistant to insulin, your pancreas has to work harder to produce more insulin in an attempt to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Over time, this can lead to a variety of health problems, including weight gain, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. 


Blood glucose is an important health indicator for every patient. When your glucose is constantly spiking and outside of a healthy range, there can be negative impacts on your health ranging from inflammation, to cell damage, disease risk and weight gain. Every Innovative Vitality patient is prescribed a blood sugar monitor to wear for a period of time. This allows us to  monitor glucose levels and determine how well your body is controlling blood sugar. This data helps us determine who may benefit from GLP-1 medication. It also drives changes in eating behaviors, as patients are able to see in real-time what foods cause glucose spikes.  


If you are interested in taking a GLP-1 medication for weight loss, visit our website to learn more or sign up to be a patient


GLP-1 medications are a safe and effective tool in weight management, but should be used under the supervision of your doctor.