Lifestyle

What Is Semaglutide? Your Guide to the New Weight Loss Frontier

Your complete guide the weight loss drug that's helping people lose weight on a biological level.
Medically Reviewed By:
Dr. Nayan Patel

What Is Semaglutide? Your Complete Guide

If you’ve experienced blood sugar dysregulation or problems losing weight, we know how it can affect other areas of life. These issues can affect your diet, your social life, and even other areas of health.

In recent years, groundbreaking advancements in medical science have led to the development of new and innovative treatment options for various health conditions. One such breakthrough treatment is semaglutide, a medication that has been gaining significant attention for its promising results in weight loss and diabetes management. 

In this complete guide, we will explore what semaglutide is, how it works, its potential benefits, and other essential information you need to know about this revolutionary drug. If you're wondering if semaglutide is right for you, keep reading.

What Is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. These drugs work by mimicking the action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which is produced by the body in response to food. 

GLP-1 helps to regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin and suppressing the release of glucagon, a hormone that causes high blood sugar levels. By mimicking the action of GLP-1, semaglutide can help regulate blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, suppress appetite and improve metabolism to aid in weight loss.

What Do The Experts Say About Semaglutide?

Semaglutide has been studied extensively and is the first FDA approved, clinically-proven, science-backed weight loss drug that is helping people to lose weight on a biological level.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first approved it in 2017 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Experts also recommend GLP-1 receptor agonists, such as semaglutide, for patients who need additional help in managing blood sugar levels, improve body composition and minimize the health risks associated with obesity. In a recent study, participants taking semaglutide were able to lose an average of 10.8 percent of their body weight over the course of 56 weeks, while those taking a placebo only lost 0.9 percent.

Overall, experts agree that semaglutide has the potential to be a beneficial treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes and those looking to improve their body mass index (BMI). However, it should not be used as a substitute for good diet and lifestyle habits.

What Are the Benefits of Semaglutide?

  • Blood sugar control. Semaglutide may help regulate blood sugar levels by mimicking the action of GLP-1 and stimulating the release of insulin. This helps to reduce the risk of certain diabetes-related complications, such as heart disease (think heart attack, stroke, etc.), high blood pressure, and kidney disease.
  • Convenient administration. Semaglutide is administered once a week via injection, making it especially convenient for those who have busy lifestyles. 
  • Well tolerated. Semaglutide is generally well-tolerated. The most common side effects are headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation, decreased appetite or low blood sugar. These symptoms are usually mild and only occur during the onset of the medication. Symptoms can often be managed with lifestyle modifications or over-the-counter medications.

Who Should Not Take Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is not recommended for anyone who has:

  • A personal or family history of thyroid cancer (such as medullary thyroid carcinoma)
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2)
  • Severe kidney problems
  • A history of pancreatitis ((inflammation of the pancreas) or gallbladder problems
  • Allergies to semaglutide or any of its ingredients
  • A history of depression or suicidal thoughts

Semaglutide can also interact with certain medications, so it's important to tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking before beginning treatment. It is important to note that semaglutide does not interact with BHRT or TRT, so patients can safely take semaglutide in conjunction with their current hormone replacement treatment plans at Thrivelab without concern.

How Long Does It Take To See Results From Semaglutide?

The effects of semaglutide can vary from person to person. Generally speaking, it will take at least two weeks before you begin to notice any changes. In clinical trials, the most significant weight loss was seen at 16 weeks, and maximal results typically occurred around 56 weeks.

Results vary from person-to person and can depend on a variety of factors, including lifestyle habits and overall health. That's why it's important to keep up with regular checkups and work closely with your healthcare provider to ensure that you are getting the most out of your treatment.

How Can You Get the Best Results From Semaglutide?

Now that we've covered the basics of semaglutide, let's go over a few tips to help you optimize your results.

Follow Your Doctor's Instructions

The first and most crucial tip is to follow your doctor's instructions. Your doctor will give you precise instructions on how and when to take semaglutide. Make sure you understand the dosage and follow it accordingly.

Inject Semaglutide Correctly

Always use a new needle, and never reuse it. Clean the injection site, choose a spot with enough flesh, and aim for subcutaneous tissue without hitting any blood vessels. Always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider for instruction before administration.

Stay on Top of the Side Effects

Semaglutide is safe and well-tolerated, but as we discussed earlier, there may be some side effects. Make sure you keep track of any new symptoms and report them to your doctor if they persist or worsen. You might also find it helpful to make changes to your diet and exercise routine, which can sometimes alleviate these symptoms.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet is essential for maximizing the benefits of semaglutide. By eating a variety of whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, you can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best. 

In addition, limiting your intake of processed, sugary, and high-fat foods and calories can help to manage glucose levels and encourage weight loss. Incorporating portion control and mindful eating techniques can also help to support your semaglutide treatment. 

By paying attention to hunger and fullness cues and eating slowly, you can prevent overeating and make healthier food choices. Additionally, staying hydrated and consuming plenty of fiber-rich foods can help to keep your digestive system running smoothly and reduce the risk of medication-related gastrointestinal side effects.

Finally, it's important to remember that a healthy diet is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Work with your healthcare provider to develop a personalized meal plan that meets your unique needs, preferences, and health goals. This individualized approach can help ensure that your diet supports your semaglutide treatment and also enhances your overall health and well-being.

You may also want to find a daily supplement that can help you get the nutrients your body needs to support balanced blood sugar.

Quality Sleep 

Getting adequate, high-quality sleep is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being, and it can also play a role in the effectiveness of your treatment. Poor sleep can interfere with blood sugar control and may make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

To support your sleep quality, consider establishing a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine, avoiding caffeine and electronics close to bedtime, and creating a sleep-friendly environment by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. 

If you continue to struggle with sleep despite making these changes, consult a qualified healthcare professional for additional guidance and potential treatment options.

Get Stress in Check

Chronic stress can have a negative impact on your health and may interfere with the effectiveness of your treatment. By finding healthy ways to manage stress, you can support your overall well-being and optimize the benefits of your medication. 

It's also important to prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance. This may include setting boundaries around your work schedule, spending quality time with loved ones, or taking time for yourself to relax and recharge. 

By managing stress effectively, you can create a more balanced lifestyle that supports your semaglutide treatment and your overall health.

Exercise Regularly

Physical activity is beneficial for many aspects of health, including weight loss and blood sugar control. It's recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week. You can break this up into shorter, 30-minute sessions several times a day or opt for longer workouts if that's more manageable.

Aim to include a variety of activities in your workout routine, such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, weight training, and yoga. You may also want to consider participating in an exercise class or joining a local fitness center. Working out with friends or a professional trainer can make physical activity more enjoyable and help you stay motivated.

Remember that it's important to talk to your healthcare provider before making any significant lifestyle changes, especially if you have any health conditions or take medications that may affect your activity level.

Start Semaglutide with Thrivelab

It's wise to seek treatment from an honest and reputable healthcare provider. Working with a board-certified medical professional can help ensure that you receive the highest quality care and treatment.

Not sure where to start? Check us out here at Thrivelab. We provide comprehensive, evidence-based care from top-tier providers and hormone specialists that are dedicated to optimizing your health and well-being. 

Semaglutide is a breakthrough treatment that has shown significant promise in managing type 2 diabetes and promoting weight loss. With its relatively low risk of side effects and numerous benefits, it may be an effective and life-changing treatment option for many individuals.

Here at Thrivelab, we’re dedicated to helping you make informed decisions about your health. Whether you're on a mission to shed a few pounds or looking to gain better control of blood sugar levels, you can count on us for personalized care and guidance every step of the way.

Contact us today to learn more about how semaglutide may be able to help you reach your health and wellness goals. We look forward to hearing from you.

References

  1. Semaglutide Injection: MedlinePlus Drug Information | Medline Plus
  2. Semaglutide for weight loss - what you need to know | UCLA Health 
  3. FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014 | FDA 
  4. Effect of Continued Weekly Subcutaneous Semaglutide vs Placebo on Weight Loss Maintenance in Adults With Overweight or Obesity | National Library of Medicine
  5. How much physical activity do adults need? | CDC 
  6. Semaglutide for weight loss | PMC
References

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