How do GLP-1 medications work?

We all have GLP-1s in our bodies. These are naturally occurring hormones which are released from our gut after we eat. The function of GLP-1s is to boost the amount of insulin our bodies make to keep our blood sugar within a normal range, as well as provide the sensation of fullness after a meal. The same effect on insulin regulation and appetite happens when GLP-1 receptor agonists come into play. People who take GLP-1 agonists will:

- Feel fuller after and between meals
- Have improved glucose levels
- Experience reduced thoughts about food

Lower blood sugar levels are helpful for controlling type 2 diabetes. But it's not clear how the GLP-1 drugs lead to weight loss. Doctors do know that GLP-1s appear to help curb hunger. These drugs also slow the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine. As a result, you may feel full faster and longer, so you eat less.

Along with helping to control blood sugar and boost weight loss, GLP-1s seem to have other major benefits. Research has found that some drugs in these groups may lower the risk of heart disease, such as heart failure, stroke and kidney disease. People taking these drugs have seen their blood pressure and cholesterol levels improve. But it's not clear whether these benefits are from the drug or the weight loss.

The downside to GLP-1 drugs is that they are taken by a shot. And, like any drug, there is a risk of side effects. Most common side effects often improve as you continue to take the drug for a while.

Some of the more common side effects include: Nausea, Vomiting, and Diarrhea.

Erin Buss, RN, BSN


Michael Buss, BS, NRP


Driftless Hydration

17 12th Street NE,
Rochester, MN


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