From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, obesity is apparent as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness. Recently, a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demonstrated just how nonlinear this relationship is. The vast majority (over 75%) of U.S. patients hospitalized with COVID-19 were overweight or had obesity. The numbers for intensive care, invasive mechanical ventilation, and death were nearly the same. Semaglutide (GLP-1) and Low-Dose Naltrexone are two options for weight loss that help patients avoid serious COVID illness, aid in long hauler recovery, and reduce cardiovascular risk.
Semaglitude Mechanism of Action
Semaglutide, sold under the brand name Ozempic and Wegovy among others, is an anti-diabetic medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and chronic weight management. Semaglutide acts like human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), in that it increases insulin secretion which thereby increases sugar metabolism. This means that when you eat your body is able to respond faster to blood sugar spikes.
GLP-1 is a physiological hormone that promotes glycemic control via several different mechanisms, including insulin secretion, slowing gastric emptying, and reducing postprandial glucagon secretion. The overall balance of glucose in the body is dependent on insulin and amylin, which are secreted by the pancreas. Semaglutide is an incretin mimetic, simply put, a drug that mimics GLP-1. Analogs of this hormone (such as Semaglutide) stimulate the synthesis of insulin by stimulating pancreatic islet cells and reducing glucagon secretion. This occurs when you start to eat and before your blood sugar spikes. This makes it easier for the body to break down excess sugar and fat.
Dosing & Side Effects
Semaglitude for weight loss is a weekly subcutaneous injection. The dose is dependent on how well you tolerate the medication. It is a good idea to start on a lower dose and gradually increase over several weeks. This allows your body time to get used to the medication and reduces the side effects.
Side effects for Semaglitude:
- Decreased appetite
The best way to mitigate these side effects is tow work with a provider that has experience in using GLP-1 for weight loss. The first day you take this medication, you will need to be fatsing for 12-14 hours prior to the injection. Having an empty stomach decreases the nausea and chances of vomiting, something you definitely want to avoid! We also encourage people to avoid dairy products as these are difficult for your body to digest, they require more enzymatic energy.
What to Expect
Weight management with GLP-1 agonist is different for every patient, so we start by listening to your weight loss journey. Semaglutide may not be the right medication and you may have better results with TTA, LDN, Amlexanox and or another medication. You will have a virtual meeting with a provider and if Semaglutide is right we ship directly to you including all the supplies. Next , we teach you how to complete a subcutaneous injection. The night before your first injection you will need fast for 12 hours. After your first dose, you may feel some nausea and bloating. We will work with you to adjust your diet and avoid food that increase bloating and nausea. From here the pounds fall off, we check in with you every week to help adjust your dose.
People taking Semaglutide can expect greater improvements in cardiovascular risk factors like BMI (body-mass index), waist circumference, and blood pressure in addition to improved sugar metabolism. When combined with a recommended diet and exercise plan patient will lower their risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years!
Naltrexone is a medication that blocks opioid receptor sites, in other words reverses narcotics. Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) (1/100th) the normal dose for opioid reversal increases endorphins while you sleep. LDN is used for multiple diseases, however we will focus on weight loss.
Are you a snacker?
Do you always have snacks near by? Are your grocery bills 50% snacks? Do you head for snack right after you are finished eating something or rummage through cabinets late at night forging for a snack? These are all signs of being a “snacker” or compulsive eating. Eating food despite the fact you do not need to eat anymore. LDN works wonders for snackers through various mechanisms: Improved sleep, reduced insulin resistance, decreased appetite, improved thyroid function, and Anti-inflammatory properties. LDN is taken at night and blocks opioid receptors and endorphin receptors, this causes your body to increase production of endorphins. Your body believes a shortage of endorphins exists. This over-production of endorphins improves your quality of sleep and is the basis of the other benefits listed below.
Reducing resistance to insulin is a mainstay of therapy for diabetics and in weight loss. LDN reduces this resistance while improving growth hormones. An increase in growth hormones add more lean muscle mass to your body. Lean muscle in turn makes your body more efficient at burning fat.
LDN reduces the cravings you have for food and for snacking. This “teaches” your body not to snack as much or eat something, just after you have finished eating something! Over a few weeks you will start to notice the difference in your food habits, even after you stop the medication.
Finally, LDN improves total T3 and improve T4 to T3 conversion in addition to reducing inflammation and autoimmunity. This means if you have hypothyroidism LDN can improve your thyroid function. We often lower the dose of thyroid replacement when patients start LDN.
- Stomach Cramps/Diarrhea (Rare)
- Headache (Initial phase if at all)
- Increased Thyroid Sensitivity, if observed, reduce oral dose of thyroid medication.
- Flu-like symptoms (if longer then 24hrs – take ½ dose till symptoms resolve)
- The most common being very VIVID dreams (usually, only lasting a few days) when taken pm. If patient cannot tolerate we suggest AM dosing schedule.
We start you off with 1.5mg nightly, after 2 weeks you can increase to 3mg nightly. After 4 weeks on LDN we can increase to 4.5mg if required. Approximately 20% of patient will not respond to LDN. If this is you after 2 months we would discontinue treatment and discuss another medication, such as TTA, Amlexanox or Semaglitude.
If you are looking for a sustainable approach to handling weight loss, managing blood sugar, or boosting your metabolism, look no further than Semaglitude or low-dose Naltrexone. Talk to your healthcare provider today to find out more about this breakthrough weight management option and if you are a good candidate for treatment.