Licensed to work with clients throughout the state of Illinois – Virtual telehealth appointments available

The (Many!) Health Benefits of Semaglutide

The health benefits of semaglutide

If you’re on a weight loss journey or considering embarking on one, you’ve probably done some reading about semaglutide, a medication indicated for type 2 diabetes and also used for medical weight loss (also known by its brand names, Ozempic™ and Wegovy™).

Since Novo Nordisk announced its FDA approval in 2017 for use in treating type 2 diabetes, semaglutide has remained at the top of the headlines ever since as its potential as a tool for weight loss became apparent and it surged in popularity.

The longer semaglutide has been in use, the more researchers have been able to study its significant additional health benefits.

This post will examine some of those benefits (some will surprise you!), but let’s start with a quick summary of semaglutide, how it works, and why it was created.

An explanation of semaglutide in simple terms

Humans produce a naturally occurring hormone (called GLP-1 or glucagon-like peptide-1) in response to food intake. This hormone stimulates insulin release from the pancreas, which helps regulate blood sugar levels.

A receptor agonist is a pharmaceutical compound that mimics the action of signaling molecules by binding to and activating a specific receptor.

So, to combine the two concepts above, GLP-1 receptor agonists (e.g., semaglutide) were developed to mimic the action of GLP-1 in the body.

Ultimately, semaglutide is used to effectively treat metabolic disorders—particularly type 2 diabetes.

It’s also being used successfully with patients who need to lose weight—and, the longer this drug is on the market, the more additional benefits have been added to the list.

The benefits of semaglutide

Specific results of using semaglutide are not guaranteed (or even promised), but initial studies indicate that this medication is associated with a number of positive health benefits that you should be aware of if you’re considering taking this drug. (Read to the end to be aware of potential side effects and risks as well!)

  • Improved control of blood sugar levels: Semaglutide was originally intended to control and regulate insulin for people with metabolic disorders, including type 2 diabetes and obesity. The medication enhances the body’s insulin response, leading to better glycemic control. For many people, this drug has drastically improved their quality of life.

  • Appetite suppression and reduced cravings: By reducing hunger pangs, semaglutide guides individuals toward healthier portions. It also helps them feel full longer, so they eat less. When cravings dissipate, healthy food options become more attractive. Weight loss becomes intuitive,so it’s easier to stick with the plan and see results. 

  • Reduced waistline: In clinical trials, semaglutide led to a significant decrease in waist circumference. Excess abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular events: Beyond weight loss, semaglutide has been associated with a lowered risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attacks or strokes. In Novo Nordisk’s SELECT trial, it was found that patients treated with semaglutide had a 20% reduced overall risk of serious adverse cardiovascular events compared to a placebo. This 20% reduced risk also showed up in a multi-center, international clinical trial that included adults with overweight or obesity and established cardiovascular disease who do not have diabetes.

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): People with PCOS often have insulin resistance as well, according to Maria Teresa Anto, MD, an endocrinologist and educator at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Semaglutide can help manage weight and control some PCOS symptoms, like irregular periods and acne.

  • Metabolic Syndrome: Metabolic syndrome, also called insulin resistance syndrome, is a cluster of different conditions that heighten the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. One in three U.S. adults is affected by this condition. It includes three or more risk factors: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, abnormal levels of cholesterol and fat, and a large waistline. By losing weight with semaglutide, a patient can have a positive impact on metabolic syndrome, lowering their risks for other things. 

  • Lower blood pressure: Because semaglutide causes people to lose weight, there’s less stress on the cardiovascular system which leads to lower blood pressure.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties: studies have linked semaglutide to a decrease in C-reactive protein and several other inflammatory biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease.

Additional conditions that may benefit from semaglutide but are still in the research phase:

  • Certain cancers, including breast, colon, and endometrial cancer. Because insulin resistance is a risk factor for these types of cancers, researchers believe that there could be a connection.

  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Because studies have found a strong association between type 2 diabetes and all forms of dementia, researchers are looking into the effectiveness of using semaglutide as a preventive measure for Alzheimer’s.

  • Chronic airway disease and acute lung injuries: GLP-1 receptor agonists are expressed in the lungs and are being studied for their anti-inflammatory features that could benefit those with various breathing conditions.

  • Nonalcoholic liver disease: A recent trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that NASH patients who received semaglutide daily had significantly better resolution of symptoms than those who received a placebo.

The potential risks of using semaglutide

Although the health benefits of semaglutide appear to be far outpacing the risks, it’s important to remember that not everyone responds the same way to any drug. 

While the potential risks listed here are all classified as rare, it’s important to be aware and consider them and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before beginning use of the drug, especially if you have a history of pancreatitis, thyroid c-cell tumors, gallstones, allergic reactions, low blood sugar, acute kidney injury, increased heart rate or suicidal behavior.

Common side effects of using semaglutide

People who use semaglutide sometimes experience side effects. The most common one is nausea and vomiting (up to 20% of people in a trial of adults with overweight or obesity using semaglutide reported nausea).

If you’re interested in learning more about semaglutide, check out two of our other blog posts on this topic: “What are Semaglutide and Tirzepatide—and How Do They Promote Weight Loss?” and “How Weight Loss Medications Work Along With Healthy Habits.”

Of course, this type of treatment should be done with the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional! Synergy offers a number of weight loss packages that include injectable and oral versions of semaglutide. You get the added benefit of working with a registered dietitian and a holistic health coach (and more)!

We’d love to provide guidance and support as you embark on this journey.

Email us with questions

Book an appointment

Synergy Integrative Health & Wellness
Book Online
Follow us on Instagram & Facebook
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel

Synergy’s “Boost Your Wellness Toolkit”

Find equilibrium and balance again with our holistic tools! Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and get our downloadable toolkit PDF, including

  • Stress reduction strategies
  • 30 days of healthy snack ideas
  • A healthy sleep checklist
  • Steps to starting a home meditation practice