Medications including Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Ozempic are effective for weight loss. They are actually diabetes medications! What is up with this?
GLP-1 agonists are medications typically used for people with diabetes. These medications are Mounjaro, Wegovy, and Ozempic. For people with Type 2 Diabetes, insulin resistance becomes a major problem. The body develops a resistance to insulin and over time the pancreas works harder and harder to keep up with what it thinks are increasing insulin needs. If blood glucose is elevated, it must mean the body needs more insulin right? WRONG. For people with diabetes, the cells in our body become resistant to insulin and it is not that we need more insulin, but that we need to make our cells more sensitive to uptake the glucose in our bloodstream (which is what insulin tells our cells to do- with the help of some cell receptors). Well in the meantime our pancreas is burning out from trying to produce more and more insulin! Thankfully, we have medications that can help. The effects of these medications also help those without diabetes.
GLP-1 agonists work via several different mechanisms including increasing insulin secretion via the pancreas and decreasing glucagon secretion. GLP-1 agonists also help sensitize fat and muscle cells to take up more blood glucose. GLP-1 agonists help with heart health and lower blood pressure too.
Doctors have realized these medications are safe for people who are not diabetic, and they help with weight loss! GLP-1 agonists help to decrease appetite and increase satiety. They also help decrease liver fat which can be an issue for people who are overweight as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) can develop over time. For patients who are not diabetic, but are overweight, these medications can be very useful in weight loss. Our patients at JoinMochi are encouraged to follow a balanced diet and let the medication do its work! Have you heard of any of these medications?
Eva Shelton, M.D.
Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital