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Are GLP-1 Agonists the Secret to Weight Loss?

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Semaglutide and similar medications are called glucagen-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.

This means they mimic the effects of GLP-1, which is responsible for regulating blood sugar.

Semaglutide has rapidly grown in popularity as a weight loss and weight management aid. Other GLP-1 agonists include Liraglutide and Tirzepatide. All GLP-1 medications are administered via injection with varying frequency.

Originally, these medications were developed to control blood sugar in diabetic patients.

Recent studies illuminate another benefit: accelerated weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

We’ll go over the effects of GLP-1 agonists and touch on the different types available.

What does GLP-1 do?

First, let’s dig into the function of GLP-1. It’s a hormone produced in the small intestine that encourages the creation of insulin while reducing the secretion of glucagon.

Insulin is responsible for removing sugar from the bloodstream and transporting it into the body’s cells, where it can be utilized for energy or stored for later use.

Glucagon is responsible for raising blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of stored sugar back into the blood.

This balance is extremely important for health and weight maintenance.

High blood sugar can lead to weight gain because more and more glucose is being stored in the body. People may also develop insulin resistance because too much insulin is being produced as a response to elevated blood sugar levels.

Insulin resistance means that the cells have been overexposed to insulin and stop responding. This causes the body to produce more insulin to lower blood sugar, which repeats the cycle. Left untreated, insulin resistance can develop into type-2 diabetes.

How Do GLP-1 Agonists Help with Type-2 Diabetes?

By mimicking the effects of GLP-1, these medications stimulate the body to produce more insulin and lower blood sugar levels.

This can help patients avoid developing high-blood-sugar related conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and vision issues.

GLP-1 agonists also impact the digestive system, which may help control insulin levels because food is digested over a longer period, possibly reducing insulin spikes.

How Do GLP-1 Agonists Help with Weight Loss?

The exact connection between GLP-1 agonists and weight loss is still being explored.

GLP-1 is crucial to maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and regulating how the body stores sugar. Since these drugs mimic the effects of GLP-1, they assist in improving metabolic function. This impacts how well the body can burn fat and lose weight.

GLP-1 agonists also affect the digestive system. These prescriptions slow the movement of food through the stomach and into the small intestines. This helps curb hunger and cravings, which can lead to patients eating less and feeling fuller for longer.

Typically, those taking GLP-1 agonists see an improvement in cardiovascular and metabolic health, with improved blood pressure, decreased LDL cholesterol, and lower risk heart disease. This may be caused by the medication, or by the weight loss GLP-1 agonists leads to when combined with diet and exercise.

A plus-sized man and woman high five in front of a laptop as they look up GLP-1 agonists for weight loss.

What’s the Evidence for GLP-1 Agonists and Weight Loss?             

We’ve covered how GLP-1 agonists were developed to treat diabetic patients. While studying their effects, researchers also found promising results in boosting weight loss.

In a major study, obese and non-diabetic participants received a 2.4 mg injection of Semaglutide weekly while also making lifestyle and diet changes.

Results showed a 15% reduction in body weight, as well as reduction in cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors.

By comparison, the control group that received a placebo lost 2.4% of their body weight in the same time period with similar lifestyle changes.

In a study on the GLP-1 agonist Liraglutide, non-diabetic participants with a body mass index of at least 30 (27 if they also had hypertension or high cholesterol) received daily 3mg injections.

In 56 weeks, the Liraglutide group lost significantly more than the control group. The Liraglutide group also saw a decrease in cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors and saw more improvement in insulin sensitivity.

In a Tirzepatide study, non-diabetic overweight and obese patients received a weekly Tirzepatide injection for 72 weeks.

Participants lost a mean average of 15% to 21% of their body weight depending on the Tirzepatide dosage they received (5 mg, 10 mg, or 15 mg). By comparison, the control group that received a placebo lost a mean average of 3% of their body weight.

Participants who received Tirzepatide also saw improvement in their cardiometabolic health.

Which GLP-1 Agonist is Right for Me?

If you’re considering GLP-1 therapy for weight loss, you may be wondering which medication fits your circumstances.

Medication access is in flux due to shortages and other industry-related factors. Luckily, the different GLP-1 agonists have shown similar success across medical studies and have comparable safety profiles.

When you consult with a knowledgeable provider about a weight loss plan, you can discuss the options available to you and come up with an individualized treatment protocol that suits your needs.

Metformin: Another Medication Option

There are other medications that perform similar functions to GLP-1 agonists, but they achieve their effects through different mechanisms. One such medication is Metformin.

As one of the oldest treatments for type-2 diabetes, Metformin has shown promise in helping with weight loss and weight management. While IGP-1 agonists are only offered via injection, Metformin is available in capsule form.

Instead of a GLP-1 agonist, Metformin is in a class medications called biguanides.

These medications slow the production of glucose, decrease sugar absorption, and help with insulin sensitivity.

While GLP-1 agonists affect the production of insulin and glucagon, Metformin and other biguanides affect glucose directly. Metformin also boosts the body’s response to insulin to keep blood sugar in check.

Metformin suppresses hunger in many patients, as well. The prescription makes patients more sensitive to leptin, the hormone that tells the body it’s full and satiated. Leptin is crucial to helping the body maintain a healthy weight over time.

Because metabolic factors seem to impact weight gain and difficulty losing weight, Metformin may provide the extra support patients need alongside a healthy diet and exercise.

Supplemental Weight Loss Support

There are support medications that can be combined with the medications listed above (as appropriate) for a comprehensive weight loss plan.

Your provider will go over your options and decide which therapies to combine, if any. We do not recommend combining therapies without the supervision of a medical provider.

Bella medication includes a range of prescriptions with different active ingredients that help with weight loss and weight management.

Ingredients include:

  • Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
  • Phentermine to provide energy and reduce appetite
  • Topiramate to act as an appetite suppressor
  • Naltrexone to help with cravings
  • B12 (Methylcobalamin) for energy and metabolism support
  • Caffeine for energy and appetite suppression
  • Oxytocin to help improve mood and reduce appetite

You can discuss your Bella SR options with a Defy Medical provider to see which combination may be right for you.

Lipo-Burn is another line of oral capsules that can support a weight loss plan.

Ingredients in this line of prescriptions include:

  • Caffeine for energy and appetite suppression
  • Inositol to help with sensitivity to insulin and insulin resistance
  • Theanine to help with mood, focus, fat-burning, and suppressing the appetite
  • Methionine, an amino acid that can encourage fat-burning
  • Yohimbine, an herbal supplement to boost mood and energy, suppress appetite, and potentially encourage fat-burning
  • Chromium Picolinate to help suppress appetite and help control blood sugar
  • DHEA, a hormone that can help with reducing fat deposits
  • B12 (Methylcobalamin) for energy and metabolism support
  • Phentermine to provide energy and reduce appetite
  • Naltrexone to help with cravings

Like Bella capsules, your Defy Medical provider will walk you through your options and decide which combination of Lipo Burn therapies is right for you.

“Lipo” is short for “lipotropic.” Lipotropics are nutrients that encourage fat burning. Supplementing with lipotropics can cause your body to burn fat more efficiently, which can help you reach your weight loss goals.


Lipo-C is an injectable nutrient that includes Methionine, Inositol, and Choline (sometimes called MIC injections). These lipotropic nutrients help boost fat burning for better fitness and fat loss results. Learn more about Lipo-C.

Defy Medical also offers a Fat Loss Kit that includes Lipo-C and B12 (Methylcobalamin). These work together to provide energy while improving fat metabolism.

Lipo Capsules

Lipo oral capsules include Inositol, Choline, B12, and Chromium Picolinate to boost energy, increase fat burning, and support healthy blood sugar levels. Learn more about Lipo capsules.

The coenzyme NAD+ is involved in energy metabolism and other important bodily functions. Coenzymes are necessary to the function of enzymes, which break down sugars, starches, lipids, and proteins.

NAD+ has shown promising results as a supplement. Reported effects include:

  • More energy and increased cognitive function
  • Regulation of hormones that control appetite and stress
  • Improved muscle function and athletic performance
  • Anti-aging effects on the skin
  • Support for the cardiovascular system
  • Reduced oxidative stress

NAD+ is available as an injectable nutrient. It may be a helpful addition to a weight loss plan that includes other prescriptions in his article, plus a healthy diet and exercise.

Weight Loss Plans with Defy Medical

Defy Medical offers access to comprehensive weight loss and weight management therapies to help you reach your goals.

We go in-depth into your symptoms and the roadblocks you’ve faced with losing weight. We also offer access to affordable lab testing so we can identify possible causes for weight gain, including thyroid disease.

We’ll put together a plan designed just for you to help you push past hurdles and achieve your fitness and fat loss goals. We’ll also work with you over time to help you manage your weight loss and avoid regaining the weight.

With Defy Medical, you access:

Expert Care

Our experienced care team treats patients using the latest advancements in fat loss and weight management.

Convenient Telemedicine

Access virtual consultations and simple online ordering of medications.

No Subscriptions or Contracts

You control your schedule and cost decisions, and only pay for what you need.

In-Depth Consults

You’ll receive one-on-one guidance and be able to discuss any concerns.

Individualized Care Plans

We go deeper to get to the root causes and create a treatment plan as unique as you are.

Regular Follow-Up

Work with our providers to fine-tune your fat loss plan.

Access expansive treatment options.

We offer access to a wide range of weight management medications.

A Variety of Health Services

We also offer Hormone Replacement Therapy, injectable nutrition, Primary Care, and more.

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