What Is Ozempic
Ozempic is a medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is a once-weekly injection that helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Ozempic is the brand name for Semaglutide, a medication that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2017. Semaglutide, when marketed for weight loss, is sold at a higher dose and called Wegovy; at a lower dose, it’s marketed for diabetes and sold as Ozempic.
The History of Ozempic
Semaglutide was developed by Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company. The drug was first approved in the U.S. in December of 2017 and has since been approved in other countries around the world.
The drug was developed from the protein Exendin-4 found in the saliva of a Gila monster, a type of lizard found in the southwestern United States and Mexico. The protein, Exendin-4, is similar to the hormone GLP-1, which helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body. By modifying Exendin-4, scientists were able to create Semaglutide, a more potent version of the hormone that lasts longer in the body.
Uses and Benefits
Ozempic is used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. It is typically prescribed to people who have not been able to control their blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone, or with other diabetes medications.
It works by mimicking the hormone GLP-1, which helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin production and reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver. In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, Ozempic has been shown to promote weight loss and improve heart health.
One of the benefits of Ozempic is that it is administered as a once-weekly injection, which can be more convenient than other diabetes medications that require daily or multiple daily doses. Additionally, it has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in people with type 2 diabetes.
How Ozempic Works for Weight Loss
While Ozempic was not initially developed as a weight loss medication, it was approved in June of 2021 for use as a weight loss treatment in people with a BMI of 30 or greater, or a BMI of 27 or greater with at least one weight-related condition.
Studies have shown that it can be effective in helping people lose weight. In fact, a clinical trial involving over 1,900 adults with obesity found that those who took it lost an average of 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks.
When used for weight loss it works by mimicking the hormone GLP-1, which helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body. When GLP-1 is released after a meal, it stimulates insulin production and reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver. This helps lower blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness.
By mimicking GLP-1, Ozempic can help reduce appetite and promote weight loss. The medication slows down the rate at which food leaves the stomach, which can help people feel fuller for longer periods of time. Additionally, it can help reduce cravings for high-calorie foods, making it easier for people to stick to a healthy eating plan.
Some studies have shown GLP-1 levels, specifically after feedings, are lower in obese people. This is most likely from decreased production of GLP-1 or increased breakdown. The receptors that detect this hormone can also be less sensitive or there may be fewer receptors because of the differences in genes (the receptors or parts of the pathways that regulate production) that code for GLP-1.
We’re unable to make any changes to our DNA or the genetic differences but there is strong belief by some that they can be altered over time through epigenetics influenced by environmental factors, nutrition, supplements like BrRad and stem cell treatments.
Side Effects and Dangers
Like all medications, Ozempic can cause side effects. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. These side effects usually go away on their own within a few days or weeks.
Ozempic can also pose serious risks, particularly when used by people without diabetes. Some of the potential dangers of taking Ozempic for weight loss include:
Dangers of Ozempic:
- Hypoglycemia: Ozempic works by reducing blood sugar levels, which can lead to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This can cause symptoms such as dizziness, weakness, and confusion, and can be dangerous if left untreated. People without diabetes may be at a higher risk of hypoglycemia when taking Ozempic because they may not be monitoring their blood sugar levels regularly.
- Pancreatitis: Ozempic has been associated with an increased risk of pancreatitis, a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms of pancreatitis include severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. People with a history of pancreatitis should not take Ozempic.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: Ozempic may also increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy, a condition that can cause vision loss in people with diabetes. It is unclear if Ozempic poses the same risk for people without diabetes, but it is important to monitor your eye health if you are taking the medication.
- Kidney Damage: Ozempic has been associated with an increased risk of kidney damage, particularly in people with pre-existing kidney problems. People taking Ozempic should have their kidney function monitored regularly.
- Thyroid Cancer: In animal studies, semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, has been associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer. While it is unclear if Ozempic poses the same risk in humans, people taking the medication should be monitored for signs of thyroid cancer, such as a lump in the neck or difficulty swallowing.
- Birth Defects: Ozempic has not been studied extensively in pregnant women, but animal studies have shown that the medication can cause birth defects. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should not take Ozempic.
- Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, Ozempic can cause a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or throat, and a rapid heartbeat. If you experience any of these symptoms after taking Ozempic, seek medical attention immediately.
If you have a BMI of 30 or greater or a BMI of 27 or greater with at least one weight-related condition and are interested in using Ozempic for weight loss, talk to your medical doctor to see if it is a safe and appropriate option for you.
It is important to note that Ozempic is not a cure for type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is not a end all, be all cure for weight loss nor is it meant to be taken for a prolonged period of time. All prescription medications negatively affect the optimal functioning of your organs which can lead to NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and/or cirrhosis of the liver.
You naturally stimulate the hormone GLP-1 with nutrient dense foods like avocados, nuts, seeds or lean proteins like eggs. Foods high in fermentable fibers like vegetables and complex carbohydrates, feed your gut bacteria, which then produce short chain fatty acids to trigger GLP-1 secretion. This is why high unsaturated fat, high fiber and high protein consumption makes you feel fuller longer.
People taking Ozempic will still need to make lifestyle changes such as establishing a healthy nutrition program and conducting regular physical activity exercises to manage their diabetes, as well as achieve and maintain a healthy weight and/or weight loss.