With 70% of US adults classified as either overweight or obese—and the detrimental health effects associated with elevated body weight and fat—it’s understandable why millions of Americans have recently jumped on the bandwagon of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists (most popular medications are Ozempic, Wegovy, and Trulicity). These drugs are so popular that even the prestigious journal Science has awarded them the “Breakthrough of the Year” for 2023.

Originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus due to their benefits towards blood glucose regulation, GLP-1 drugs also promote significant weight loss. Clinical trials document the benefits of GLP-1 drugs. However, the use of these drugs is increasingly accompanied by side effects, some of them severe.

Side effects of these drugs are overwhelmingly gastrointestinal and mild-to-moderate; nausea and vomiting are fairly common among users. Additionally, fatigue and headaches are frequent and initial complaints upon beginning these drugs. More serious adverse effects include a higher risk of stomach paralysis, pancreatitis, and bowel obstructions. Furthermore, considering both the costs of these medications (frequently >$1000/month) and the likely weight gain after discontinuation of the drugs, nutritional and supportive approaches to those using—or considering using—these drugs are paramount.

Supporting Use of GLP-1 Drugs with Key Nutrition and Exercise

According to Dr. Jason Balette, a bariatric surgeon at Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas, treatment for being severely overweight  includes multiple approaches, including dietary changes and exercise. From a nutritional perspective, a few recommendations warrant particular consideration. One key recommendation is to target the amount, type, and timing of dietary protein intake. Specifically, one nutritionally sound recommendation is to increase high-quality protein consumption provided by low-caloric foods or supplements and consumed evenly timed throughout the day. These products offer several benefits for those using GLP-1 drugs: they provide key nutrients (protein, vitamins, minerals, etc.) while also satiating the individual with relatively few calories. Optimized nutrition is particularly relevant, considering these drugs partially work by reducing appetite. Second, one key drawback observed from clinical trials with these drugs is their negative effects on muscle composition. Maintenance of muscle mass is exceptionally important during weight loss and overall health and wellness.

Moreover, once the desired weight loss and health improvements occur with these drugs, optimally, the individual can transition to a healthy, sustainable weight maintenance program. Again, multiple daily intakes of  high-protein and low-caloric products, evenly spaced throughout the day support successful weight and muscle maintenance. Combining this approach with key daily nutrient intake and the potential inclusion of an intermittent fasting program (under the guidance of a health professional) may further facilitate long-term, sustainable health and wellness benefits.

Additionally, augmenting one’s intake of phytonutrients is another key recommendation because of the significantly lower dietary intake resulting from these medications. Food or supplements providing phytonutrients also provide nutrient support for antioxidant defenses, detoxification, and metabolic health, which are recommended even more when using GLP-1 drugs.

Finally, exercise is another natural way to support your body while taking prescribed GLP-1 medications, and GLP-1 levels increase in response to exercise.

By combining optimized nutrition and regular exercise, individuals using GLP-1 medications for weight loss can benefit from supporting their overall health and wellness during their weight loss journey.

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Source: IsagenixHealth.net