On June 4, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of semaglutide for weight loss. The approval marked the first time the agency has approved a drug for chronic weight management in overweight adults and adults with obesity since 2014.
Administered as a once-weekly injection, semaglutide can be an effective and convenient weight-loss resource. In the nearly 10 years since its approval, it’s managed to catch the attention of some of the world’s most elite superstars and power players, including the illustrious Elon Musk.
In 2022, after a fan complimented Musk’s physique on Twitter, the platform’s CEO and founder of SpaceX pointed to a combination of fasting and using Wegovy, one of the branded names of semaglutide.
What is semaglutide and what makes it so effective that the richest man in the U.S. would acclaim its appeal? Today, we’re breaking it all down and sharing the answers you need to know.
What Is Semaglutide?
If you’re interested in using Wegovy for weight loss or weight management, it’s important to know the science behind the solution.
Put simply, this is an under-the-skin injection that’s designed to facilitate chronic weight management in adults. It was originally developed as a type 2 diabetes treatment.
Who Can Use It?
To determine whether or not to prescribe semaglutide, a physician will first assess the patient’s body mass index (BMI). This metric represents a person’s body weight in kilograms or pounds, divided by their square height in meters or feet. An elevated BMI can indicate that an individual has a high degree of body fat.
Individuals with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher are considered obese. A BMI of 25 kg/m2 to right under 30 is considered overweight. In the case of semaglutide, the “overweight” threshold begins at 27 kg/m2.
Both overweight and obese patients can benefit from taking semaglutide. However, being classified as “overweight” alone doesn’t give a patient the green like to start this particular weight loss drug. In addition to meeting the BMI qualification, overweight patients taking semaglutide must also have at least one weight-related ailment or condition, such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Why Is It Necessary?
The goal of semaglutide is to reduce an individual’s BMI and help them reclaim a more active and healthy way of life. According to research, around 70% of U.S. adults are classified as being either obese or overweight.
Both of these conditions can lead to serious health issues, some of which can lead to death. For example, a high BMI can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. It can also lead to the development of diabetes.
If an individual can lose just 5% to 10% of their body weight, their risk of cardiovascular disease lowers, as well as their susceptibility to these other conditions. Often, diet and exercise alone are enough to catalyze these results. However, substances like semaglutide can also lead to significant weight loss results.
How Does It Work?
What makes semaglutide so effective and why does Elon Musk give it credit for his stronger and leaner form? In short, this injection works by mimicking your body’s own production of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).
This is an intestinal hormone that’s produced in your gut in response to food. It can reduce appetite and it also enhances the secretion of insulin. This particular hormone belongs to a body of hormones called incretins.
Most of the time, food is the main stimulus for GLP-1 release. About five to 10 minutes after you begin to eat, your GLP-1 levels start to rise. Then, they remain in your circulation blood for several hours after the meal.
When someone is injected with semaglutide, this substance acts like the GLP-1 hormone. This helps regulate their appetite, making them feel full even in the absence of a big meal. As a result, the individual isn’t tempted to consume as many calories.
Over time, this medication can help individuals lose weight. Once they reach their desired level, they can also use semaglutide to help manage their weight and keep it consistent.
How to Take It
Semaglutide is taken as an injection, one time per week. To help reduce any gastrointestinal side effects, your physician will increase your dose gradually over the course of 16 to 20 weeks. A full dose contains 2.4 mg of medication.
To ensure safety, you should not take this substance in conjunction with any product that contains semaglutide, or any other type of weight loss drug, such as:
- Over-the-counter medications
- Prescription drugs
- Herbal products
You should also not take it if you’re in any program that requires you to take other GLP-1 receptor agonists. If you’re currently taking another drug to increase insulin production, speak to your physician before beginning semaglutide.
It’s important to read the label carefully and understand the medical risks that are associated with this specific medication. For instance, Wegovy’s box contains a warning that the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors can increase while taking it. You can find the full list of associated side effects and incompatible conditions by speaking with your physician or reviewing the product packaging.
Learn More About Semaglutide for Weight Loss
Are you interested in learning more about how hormone therapy can help you lower your weight and improve your overall health? In addition to semaglutide for weight loss, there are other resources you can access, diets you can follow, and exercises you can try.
At Alpha Hormones, we’re dedicated to helping our patients understand their conditions and reach their goals through customized, effective treatment plans. We provide telemedicine services that connect you with a board certified medical provider in real-time, on your schedule.
Book an appointment today to learn more and get started!