Today’s blog is something I’ve been wanting to talk about for some time, but have been on the side lines waiting for more research to be established so that I can have a better idea of what is happening with Ozempic, Mounjaro and Wegovy. I first heard about GLP-1’s about three years ago through influencers on Social Media. Not a day goes by, when I don’t hear the word GLP-1 in some shape or form. Recently, it was brought to my attention that a certain probiotic is being marketed as a GLP-1 probiotic. The fact that there is absolutely no research on a probiotic inducing GLP-1 makes this space very daunting for people to navigate around and I wanted to debunk as many myths as possible.  If you are wondering what GLP-1 is and what’s the skinny on this new weight loss drug, here is what the research states.


GLP-1, or Glucagon-like peptide-1, is a hormone produced in the gut that plays a key role in both metabolism and digestion. It is called an incretin hormone, meaning that it is released from the Gastrointestinal tract in response to food.


GLP-1 and GIP-1 both play a role in metabolism and blood sugar management, through the action of mimicking our endogenously produced incretin hormones by binding to these receptors and releasing insulin. Both Semiglutide and Mounjaro, also work by slowing down gastric emptying, which means that one stays fuller for longer. Both peptides, have an appetite suppressant effect but come with severe side effects such as nausea, heartburn, diarrhoea, constipation and headaches. This is likely due to the perturbations in the Gastrointestinal tract.


So, why is Ozempic and Mounjaro getting all the glory? It turns out that the drug that was once approved for Type 2 Diabetes, has such an effect on appetite reduction, that all its glory comes from the ability for one to lose a lot of weight just through the action of not eating. Research from various trials have shown that semiglutide which was trialled in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), can be used in individuals with or without T2D.  Semiglutide administered for 68 weeks, showed a dose dependant decrease in appetite, weight, BMI and cardiovascular events. While GLP-1 doesn’t directly replace insulin, it helps the body regulate insulin secretion and suppresses glucagon. This dual action helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation and induces weight loss.


GLP-1 in clinical practise has shown a significant improvement of overall blood glucose management, however this comes with an even bigger price to pay with a reduction of lean muscle mass in individuals using these medications. The loss of muscle is likely due the fact that protein can be restricted when one is unable to eat. This implies that even though individuals lost weight on this drug, it was more of muscle mass versus fat mass. Muscle as we know is a very important component of weight loss and in itself, is a storage site for glucose disposal. Muscle is very important as we get older, as it improves insulin sensitivity, releases messengers which improve brain health and is an organ of longevity. The fact that this drug, reduces muscle mass has been one of its major disadvantages. Secondary to this disadvantage is its side effects which are intolerable for many i.e. nausea. My thoughts when it comes to semiglutide always wonder around malnutrition. If protein digestion is affected, one can end up being malnourished, which in turn affects thyroid, liver, energy, and red blood cell quality. More studies need to be done on the long term effects of this drug but once again, the controversy and buzz its created, is unmatched. Whether a probiotic can match the effect of this drug, only time will tell.


Ways to induce satiety and GLP-1 naturally


Eat your protein and healthy fats. Protein and fat, both have a satiating effect but also trigger the release of other hormones called PYY and CCK.  Protein has a satiating effect, which makes it harder to overeat a meal. My mantra with everyone is start with a fist sized portion, and then you decide if you need more or less. Our bodies are very intuitive with protein needs and it will tell you if you are still hungry. Eat mindfully, eat slowly and chew your food. Digestion only takes place when you are in a calm state. Eat as the  Japanese do, until  you are 80% full and then stop.


Herbs that help with GLP-1


Certain herbs such as berberine, cinnamon, tea, soy, turmeric, resveratrol, and gardenia induce GLP-1 in the gut naturally.


In conclusion, GLP-1 is a natural hormone produced in the body and one should think about ways to maximise the efficiency of the body to produce this. If you are someone who is trying to lose weight, focusing on eating when you are hungry and avoid snacking as much as possible. Focusing on improving gut health would be another important step to improve endogenous production of GLP-1. Using the herbs mentioned can be a powerful adjunct as well. Next time opt for tea like Roboois which is great for the liver and add a twig of rosemary in it.