Have you ever tried to lose weight but couldn’t reach your goals? You’re not alone. Semaglutide (the active medicine in Wegovy) can indeed cause weight loss. More than 73% of Americans struggle with their weight, according to the Centers for Disease Control — and if you sometimes feel it’s a losing battle, no one can argue with you.
Now, however, there’s hope — and help. In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new weight loss medication: Semaglutide. And yes, it really works. This one is different. Semaglutide helps people lose weight easily and fast. Keep reading to learn more about how it works and whether it’s the right solution for you.
Why Is Losing Weight So Difficult?
If you think your body is fighting against your desire to lose weight, you could be right. Your body’s regulatory system often tries to hang on to energy — which means holding on to fat. On top of that, starting in their 30s, men, on average, lose 1% of their natural testosterone, making it harder to lose weight.
An added factor involves the hormones that control your appetite and sense of fullness; when you lose weight, your hunger hormone increases and it’s harder to feel full. That’s where Semaglutide comes in.
What Is Semaglutide?
Semaglutide is a medication recently approved by the FDA to help people lose weight. Technically, it’s a glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1, analog. Semaglutide is sold under the name Wegovy for weight loss. The same drug, with a slightly different formulation, is sold under the brand name Ozempic to help those with Type 2 diabetes.
Its treatment of Type 2 diabetes was, in fact, the first approved use of Semaglutide. However, after the FDA approved the medication in 2017 to help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels, patients began to notice that their appetite decreased when they took the drug.
Because of this, the pharmaceutical company that developed Semaglutide, Novo Nordisk, began to do some more testing. Its researchers investigated the use of Semaglutide as a weight management aid for those whose BMI classified them as obese. The trials were successful. In 2021, the FDA approved higher doses of Semaglutide for weight loss.
How Does Semaglutide Work?
Your body releases natural GLP-1 hormones whenever you eat. These hormones reduce your appetite and help you to feel full. However, they’re only active for a very short time. Semaglutide mimics these hormones, so you feel full and less hungry without eating. It reduces your appetite, so you eat less — and it keeps up that effect for much longer than the natural hormones.
Semaglutide also slows your digestive process. It decreases the rate at which your stomach empties after eating, which helps you feel full for longer. So while you still need to make healthy food choices, including choosing low-calorie foods and reducing the amount of fat in your diet, your body now works with you to make those choices easier. That’s because you feel full and satisfied despite eating less food.
Many people also find that taking Semaglutide makes it easier to control cravings and the urge to snack. As a result, you’re less likely to reach for seconds at a meal, and you’re likely to be less interested in snacks between meals. Some study participants even found themselves pushing away snacks they’d previously indulged in regularly because they simply weren’t hungry or interested in eating junk anymore.
Semaglutide is administered as a once-a-week injection, which you can learn to deliver to yourself. You’ll typically change the injection site each week, choosing your thigh, abdomen or upper arm. While you need to take it on the same day each week, you can select the time that works for you and take it with or without food.
Dosages start low, gradually increasing from 0.25 mg to 2.4 mg over the course of about four months. This slow increase helps your body become accustomed to the new hormone it’s receiving, minimizing any side effects. However, in a handful of cases, some people can’t tolerate the full dose. In that case, that gradual increase may be spread out over a few more weeks.
You should know within three months or so whether Semaglutide is having the effects you want — but that won’t be the end of the story. For some people, weight loss hits its peak after about a year on the hormone, and continuing on Semaglutide can help you maintain the loss.
Semaglutide’s Effectiveness as a Weight Loss Aid
Semaglutide is available by prescription for people who have a BMI of over 30. It can also be prescribed for people classified as overweight rather than obese, with a BMI of 27, as long as they have a co-occurring medical condition related to weight, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol or Type 2 diabetes.
There’s a good reason for the buzz surrounding Semaglutide. The medication has proven impressively effective for those who have taken it. Novo Nordisk’s trials measured the weight loss of people taking a 2.4-mg Semaglutide dose weekly versus those taking a placebo, with tests lasting for about 16 months.
The results were impressive. The test group taking the Semaglutide showed an average weight loss of 16% of their body weight over that time. (In other words, someone with a starting weight of 200 pounds lost an average of 32 pounds.) And about a third of the study participants did even better than that, losing about 20% of their body weight, or 40 pounds for someone starting at 200 pounds. On the other hand, those taking a placebo only lost 5.7% of their body weight (or a weight loss of about 11 pounds for someone starting at 200 pounds).
The results were also eye-catching regarding how many people lost weight in the trial. About 87% of the trial participants taking Semaglutide showed significant weight loss. Only about 48% of the control group, taking a placebo, matched that accomplishment. Studies also showed that those taking Semaglutide for a longer period had better weight loss results.
Across the board, Semaglutide has been shown to be more effective than other weight-loss medications on the market. Most weight-loss medications — many of which target appetite suppression — result in only an average weight loss of 5% of the patient’s original starting weight. Semaglutide is clearly far more effective than those somewhat discouraging numbers.
Other Benefits of Semaglutide
If you’re looking to lose weight, Semaglutide may already seem like the good news you’ve been waiting for. But its benefits go far beyond helping you lose up to 15% of your body weight.
Because Semaglutide inhibits your appetite, it works over the long haul. This is not some crash diet where you’ll lose 10 pounds and then watch with dismay as they reappear on your body. In contrast, people who take Semaglutide are less likely to regain the weight they lose with the help of the medication.
In addition, remember that Semaglutide was developed initially to help with Type 2 diabetes. If you’re carrying extra weight, there’s a good chance that you’re pre-diabetic. Taking Semaglutide helps control your blood sugar, so you have one less medical issue to be concerned about. And as a bonus, Semaglutide seems to lower blood pressure — another fantastic side effect, since those who are overweight are often plagued with hypertension — and it reduces your risk of heart attack or stroke.
Who Is (and Isn’t) a Candidate for Weight Loss With Semaglutide?
You may look in the mirror and stand on the scale and feel you need to lose a little weight, but the FDA has to agree with you if you want to try Semaglutide as a weight loss aid. To qualify for Semaglutide for weight loss, you must have a BMI of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27, along with one co-occurring weight-related condition. These can include Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
As it turns out, more than 70% of Americans qualify for Semaglutide. So the good news is that if you don’t qualify, the FDA thinks you’re already in pretty good shape. On the other hand, if you do qualify, Semaglutide is a game-changing option for those who aren’t heavy enough to be eligible for bariatric surgery or other extreme weight-loss therapies.
There are some contraindications for using Semaglutide, however. If you’ve had medullary thyroid carcinoma, or anyone in your family has had it, you should avoid Semaglutide. Those with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 also cannot take Semaglutide. And pregnant and breastfeeding women also should avoid it.
In addition, the FDA has issued warnings for people with kidney disease, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), diabetic retinopathy, low blood sugar, increased heart rate, and any gallbladder issues, including gallstones. Speak to your doctor about these conditions in detail before embarking on a trial of Semaglutide. In addition, if you’ve experienced mood disturbances, depression or suicidal thoughts, you should also avoid Semaglutide or have a serious discussion with your doctor.
If you take insulin, you may be able to take Semaglutide, but your dosage may have to be adjusted, as the medication isn’t designed for people with Type 1 diabetes. Talk to your men’s health doctor about your current medications, weight loss and overall health goals.
Is Semaglutide the Right Solution for You?
At Boston Vitality, we are committed to your whole-body health. We want you to stay strong and vigorous as you age, and we’ve devoted ourselves to figuring out what that means and what it takes for different men. If one of the issues you’re concerned about is excess weight, we’ll look at all the possible solutions.
It could be that your recent weight gain as you move through your 40s and 50s is related to a decrease in your body’s testosterone levels. In that case, we’ll talk to you about how to boost your testosterone levels — and it could be that this solution helps address the weight issue. We’ll also talk to you, if appropriate, about HGH peptides and how they can help you beat back the approach of age, including the belly weight that often shows up as you get older.
And if Semaglutide is a good solution for you, we will make it available. We are very excited about the possibilities and successes we’ve already seen with Semaglutide. It’s easy to take and remarkable in its results. We want you to be your best self with the strength, vitality, clarity and energy you deserve. We are dedicated to bringing you the most cutting-edge help that modern medicine can provide — including Semaglutide for weight loss.
So contact us at Boston Vitality today to see how we can help you achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself and increase your health and well-being.