As you move into your 40s and 50s and beyond, you may find yourself carrying a little extra weight. That’s very common, and you’re far from alone. But that extra weight can affect far more than your reflection in the mirror and that number on the scale. Excess weight carries with it risks of cardiovascular disease, testosterone deficiency, depression, diabetes, fatigue, and more. Getting rid of excess weight is, in fact, one of the best things you can do for your health.
If you’ve had trouble with weight loss on your own, we have good news for you. The FDA has recently approved a new medication to facilitate weight loss, and it’s a real game-changer. Keep reading to see how this new medication, semaglutide, could turn things around for you and set you up for weight loss success.
What Is Semaglutide?
Semaglutide has already made an enormous difference in the lives of people trying to lose some excess pounds since the FDA approved it for weight loss in 2021. The medication was originally developed to help people with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Researchers quickly realized that semaglutide was also highly effective for weight loss, and they began exploring its other uses.
Semaglutide is in a drug class known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. These drugs mimic the effects of a naturally occurring hormone known as GLP-1. As a peptide and hormone, semaglutide influences various bodily functions. Different naturally occurring peptides do everything from repairing tendon damage and encouraging wound healing to boosting erectile function and improving sleep. In the case of GLP-1, the bodily function being controlled is blood sugar levels.
Your small intestine releases this hormone when digesting food. GLP-1 helps you feel full and decreases feelings of hunger, thereby helping to regulate your appetite so you don’t eat as much.
The medication works by controlling the amount of insulin that your pancreas releases. As a result, it’s able to help regulate your blood sugar levels. In addition, it decreases appetite by slowing down the rate at which food moves through your digestive track, so you don’t feel hungry quickly. Both these factors collaborate to promote weight loss. Your food cravings are reduced along with your overall appetite, so you’re in better control of your eating choices. At the same time, your glycemic control is improved. A tight glycemic control is essential to prevent diabetes complications.
Semaglutide, which was approved for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy, was the first weight loss medication sanctioned by the FDA since 2014. It has proven helpful for thousands of people already, with more research underway.
How Does Semaglutide Help With Weight Loss?
Semaglutide helps with weight loss through multiple mechanisms, including the suppression of a hormone named glucagon. This hormone makes you feel hungry — so when it’s suppressed, you’re less likely to feel hungry and act out on those feelings. Because semaglutide slows the rate at which your stomach empties, you also feel more satisfied when eating, so you’re more likely to stop taking in food earlier.
Inside your body, semaglutide interacts with GLP-1 receptors as if it were naturally occurring GLP-1. This drug improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar after meals. These actions also play a role in reducing your appetite.
Semaglutide is a GLP1 agonist which means it mimics the hormone GLP-1, which regulates hunger and food intake. Additionally, when Semaglutide is taken on a weekly basis, it suppresses the hormone glucagon to prevent feelings of hunger. Additionally, it delays gastric emptying, therefore making you feel more satisfied after a meal.
Semaglutide has proven itself effective in multiple studies, and this drug is recommended along with a reduced calorie diet and an exercise program. In 2021, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at almost 2,000 overweight and obese adults spread out across 16 countries, comparing semaglutide with a placebo. This study showed that research subjects taking semaglutide lost an average of about 29 pounds more than those taking the placebo. These results, which were tallied over a 68-week protocol, are remarkable in the world of weight loss research. Ultimately, those on semaglutide lost about 15% of their total body weight, compared to the 2.4% weight loss shown by the group taking the placebo.
Doctors prescribing semaglutide generally consider it far more effective than any other prescription weight loss medications currently available. Its effectiveness is similar to that seem with bariatric or gastric bypass surgery, without the severe disruption and risk to one’s body or lifestyle posed by the surgery.
How Do You Take Semaglutide?
Semaglutide is taken by injection. You can administer the subcutaneous injections yourself in the privacy of your own home. Typically, you take semaglutide once a week, though in some cases, that frequency may be increased as needed after a trial period. You can choose the day of the week you take it, but you must take it on the same day each week.
Often you’ll start with a low dose of 0.25 mg per week, increasing a little each week till you get to 2.4 mg weekly. This is the maintenance dose.
How Quickly Does Semaglutide Work?
Semaglutide typically gets off to a slow start, with the first weight loss results making themselves known between 4 to 6 weeks. Your doctor is likely to start you off on a very low dose, gradually increasing it over the first 4 weeks or so. By about week 5, you should be at the dosage you’ll continue with.
People who combine their semaglutide use with changes in their diet and an exercise program may see slightly quicker results. In generally, many people find themselves losing 5% of their body weight within the first 12 weeks of the program.
The Benefits of Semaglutide
Semaglutide offers plenty of benefits to your body, even extending beyond weight loss. As you lose weight, you can expect to see your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke diminish. Along with this, you can expect lowered blood pressure.
Many men find that their mobility is improved as they lose weight with semaglutide, with reduced joint pain. You may also see your mood improve, and you may experience a better quality of sleep. It also appears that use of semaglutide may lower the risk for specific types of cancer, although more research is needed to confirm these benefits. In addition, you are likely to experience a boost to your self-esteem as a result of the control you’re getting over your weight, your weight loss, and the improved appearance you gain as a result. Some people also find it easier to stop smoking when taking semaglutide.
What Can You Do to Boost the Effects of Semaglutide?
Studies show that, as effective as semaglutide is on its own, it results in even greater weight loss when you combine its use with a healthy weight loss diet, exercise, and behavioral therapy. Many men find that a sugar-free or alcohol-free diet helps them to maximize their weight loss with semaglutide, while others combine it with some version of intermittent fasting. If you’ve been on diets before and found them frustrating or ineffective, you may be surprised to see what it’s like to try to eat healthy when you have some inner help controlling your hunger.
In addition, adding an exercise regimen to your semaglutide routine can help you lose more weight more quickly. Any type of exercise is fair game when you’re on semaglutide, including everything from cycling and running to working with resistance bands or doing yoga. As you lose weight, your body is likely to crave movement and exercise even more.
Potential Side Effects of Semaglutide
The safety and efficacy of a drug are evaluated by the FDA before approving the drug. A number of side effects may occur when taking semaglutide. These are typically mild and often center on your digestive tract. They may include:
- Stomach pain or upset
- Mood swings
- Bloating or gas
- Irritation at the site of your injection
In many cases, these side effects diminish or disappear as your body gets used to the new medication. More serious side effects, though rare, can include gallstones, kidney problems, and pancreatitis, in addition to allergic reactions. Very rare risks include thyroid cancer and various eye problems. In addition, some people may experience infections at the injection site, especially if they don’t practice good injection hygiene. If you experience any of these, you should see your doctor. If you have diabetes and take medications that affect your blood sugar levels, you may experience hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. It’s important to let your doctor know about all medications you take before beginning a semaglutide regimen.
Are You a Candidate for Semaglutide?
Not everyone is a candidate for semaglutide. The FDA allows its prescription for people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, which puts them into the obesity category. In addition, people who are diagnosed as overweight, with a BMI of 27 or higher, are eligible to take semaglutide if they also have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes. While those requirements may seem restrictive, in fact, about 70% of people in the United States have a BMI that designates them as overweight or obese. In many cases, obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol levels.
If you’ve had thyroid problems, particularly thyroid cancer, or if anyone in your family has ever had medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (commonly known as MEN 2), you are probably not a good candidate for semaglutide. Ask your doctor whether you’re a good candidate for semaglutide.
Semaglutide Treatment at Boston Vitality
If you’ve been frustrated because you can’t seem to lose weight as you get older, ask a doctor if semaglutide could be the right answer for you. At Boston Vitality, we devote ourselves to optimizing men’s hormones to fight the effects of aging. Because of our dedication and expertise to this field of medicine, we’re well-positioned to help you approach issues concerning weight loss, as well loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, and other signs of testosterone deficiency. We also help men in the Boston area who are dealing with issues surrounding sleep, fatigue, and mental clarity.
Do you feel as if you’ve tried everything when it comes to weight loss, and you’re still frustrated? Give us a call to see whether you’re a good candidate for a semaglutide regimen. We have treated thousands of men for issues involving hormone imbalance, and we’re ready to help you move into a new zone of wellness and health. Contact us today to see how we can help.