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What ingredient in Ozempic causes weight loss?

Dr. Mick Singh Health-X

Reviewed by Mick Singh, MD

What ingredient in Ozempic causes weight loss?

Ozempic, a medication commonly prescribed for type 2 diabetes, has gained attention for its unexpected side effect – weight loss. Many people wonder what ingredient in Ozempic is responsible for this weight loss effect. In this article, we will delve into the science behind Ozempic’s weight loss mechanism and identify the key ingredient that plays a crucial role in shedding those extra pounds.

Understanding Ozempic

Ozempic is the brand name for semaglutide, a medication in the class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It is primarily prescribed to help manage blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. However, many users have reported significant weight loss while taking Ozempic, sparking curiosity about its mechanism.

The key ingredient: semaglutide

The main ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, is a synthetic version of the hormone GLP-1. GLP-1 is naturally produced in the body and has several functions, including regulating insulin, controlling appetite, and slowing down digestion. It is the appetite-suppressing effect of semaglutide that is believed to be the primary driver behind the weight loss observed in Ozempic users.

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How semaglutide promotes weight loss

Appetite Reduction: Semaglutide stimulates GLP-1 receptors in the brain, leading to reduced feelings of hunger and increased feelings of fullness. This results in a decreased caloric intake, which can contribute to weight loss over time.

Slower Digestion: Semaglutide also slows down the rate at which food is digested and absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract. This helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels and can further aid in weight management.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Better insulin sensitivity is another potential factor in Ozempic-induced weight loss. By enhancing the body’s response to insulin, semaglutide helps regulate glucose metabolism, which can affect fat storage and weight.

How semaglutide works

GLP-1 Receptor Stimulation: Semaglutide binds to GLP-1 receptors in various tissues throughout the body, including the pancreas, brain, and stomach. This binding triggers a cascade of physiological responses.

Blood Sugar Control: In the pancreas, semaglutide stimulates the release of insulin in response to elevated blood sugar levels. This helps lower blood glucose and improves glycemic control, a critical aspect of diabetes management.

Appetite Regulation: In the brain, semaglutide acts on the hypothalamus to reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. This is accomplished by slowing down the rate at which the stomach empties, which can lead to reduced food intake and, subsequently, weight loss.

Slower Digestion: Semaglutide also affects the stomach and digestive system by delaying the emptying of food. This not only aids in controlling appetite but also has a positive impact on post-meal blood sugar spikes.

Weight Loss: The combined effects of reduced appetite, slower digestion, and improved blood sugar control make semaglutide a potent ally in weight management. Users often experience gradual and sustainable weight loss while taking Ozempic.

Safety and side effects

While semaglutide can be highly effective, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects, which may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort, particularly when starting treatment. These side effects tend to diminish over time for most users.

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Davies M, Færch L, Jeppesen OK, Pakseresht A, Pedersen SD, Perreault L, Rosenstock J, Shimomura I, Viljoen A, Wadden TA, Lingvay I; STEP 2 Study Group. Semaglutide 2·4 mg once a week in adults with overweight or obesity, and type 2 diabetes (STEP 2): a randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo-controlled, phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2021 Mar 13;397(10278):971-984. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00213-0. Epub 2021 Mar 2. PMID: 33667417. Referenced from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33667417

Franz MJ. Weight Management: Obesity to Diabetes. Diabetes Spectr. 2017 Aug;30(3):149-153. doi: 10.2337/ds17-0011. PMID: 28848305; PMCID: PMC5556579. Referenced from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556579

Novo Nordisk. (2022). Ozempic. Referenced from https://www.novo-pi.com/ozempic.pdf

Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity - Referenced from: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183

Disclaimer: If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The content within the Health-X Knowledge Base is supported by peer-reviewed research and data sourced from reputable medical societies and governmental entities. It is essential to note, however, that these resources do not replace the need for personalized medical guidance, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified medical professional.

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