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What's the Deal With Semaglutide?

If you've been paying attention to anything health and weight loss related, you've likely heard of Ozempic, Wegovy or Munjaro --all brands of semaglutide. Semaglutide has actually been around for a while as a treatment for diabetic patients. It has recently blown up though as a weight loss drug.

Semaglutide mimics the hormone GLP-1 which is released when we eat. GLP-1 instructs the body to produce more insulin after eating which helps to reduce blood sugar. GLP-1 also helps to control your food intake by lowering your appetite and helping your fullness signals. A more controlled blood sugar, a reduced appetite and a better understanding of fullness leads not only to better regulation of Type II diabetes, but also weight loss.

These injectable drugs are easy to take--a small shot one time per week which should last for the duration. Combined with exercise and monitoring diet, semaglutide has great success in helping people lose weight. In a study from 2021, the experimental group (semaglutide plus diet and exercise) lost an average of 14.9% bodyfat over 68 weeks compared to the placebo group (no semaglutide) who only lost 2.4%.

So can and should you be taking one of these weekly injectables? As always in the health and fitness world, it depends.

You shouldn't use semagutide if you're looking for an easy fix. A proper use of the medication includes modifying your diet and exercise alongside the medication. It still requires you to make positive lifestyle changes and choices in order to see results.

Another aspect to consider when thinking about taking these medications is what will you do when you're not taking it. At this point in time, long term use of semaglutide is somewhat unknown. That being said, we do know that stopping the medication will reduce the effects that you have become acustomed to. If you're going to start a medication like semaglutide, you should be prepared to make lifestyle habit changes that you can utilize when you're both on and off the medication to help in maintaining whatever weight loss you might experience.

You might consider something like semaglutide if you're diabetic and moderately overweight or obese, or if you're overweight and obese and having extreme difficulty losing weight despite attempting sustainable changes in diet and exercise.

Remember as well that no medication is without potential side effects and semaglutide does have many potential risks including but not limited to gastrointestional issues, thyroid problems, pancreatitis, heartburn, dizziness and headache among others.

Semaglutide can be a wonderful addition to a persons life and also be harmful. Remember to consult a doctor if you're thinking about trying it or need some guidance on whether it might be for you at this point in your weight loss journey.

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