Happy February! It doesn't feel like Memorial Day is just around the corner, but clients already have their summer bodies on their minds, and so do we.
Our patients come to us for medical guidance on longevity and they also come to us to optimize their health; and getting rid of excess weight is almost always at the top of that list of wellness goals.
And for good reason - Patients think of weight as an aesthetic issue; but is there any aspect of your medical wellbeing that isn't negatively impacted by a suboptimal BMI?
We're all about optimization of health. That's what we do all day, every day. And it's a multi-factorial approach. It's not just about tweaking your nutrition. It's not just about fitness. It's not just about balancing hormones - though all of these are vital.
If you're carrying extra pounds, you're at higher than average risk of over 50 different disease processes. And what about the strong link between excess weight and depression/anxiety? One study found that adults with excess weight had a 55% higher risk of developing depression over their lifetime compared to people that did not struggle with their weight.
And since it's American Heart Month ❤️ we know that being overweight makes you more likely to develop hypertension and diabetes, and it's clear that excess weight is more than an "accomplice" in the development of heart problems.
Even small amounts of weight loss seem to improve metabolic function and hypertension, as well as enhance heart pumping and relaxation, while causing the heart tissue and blood vessel walls to get thinner. It also improves cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and improves insulin sensitivity.
So we know medicine isn't a one size fits all. The holistic approach is always the first and right approach. And sometimes we need to look at all the tools at our disposal to get to our goals.
Lately, we are asked almost daily about a newer class of medications that can help with those weight loss goals. They've become TikTok famous and are all the rage in Hollywood - but what's the deal?
Ozempic and Wegovy (branded semaglutide) are in a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists. They mimic a hormone that helps reduce food intake and cuts appetite. In clinical trials Wegovy was shown to reduce body weight by around 15%.
Another medication that has been highly successful for visceral fat loss is Mounjaro, which is a GIP/GLP-1 agonists. It works in two different ways to moderate blood sugar.
GLP-1 receptor agonists work by mimicking the natural GLP-1 hormone our bodies produce. GLP-1 is an incretin hormone: A type of hormone released naturally by your body when you eat food. It targets areas of the brain involved in regulating appetite and food intake. GLP-1 also plays a key role in the management of blood sugar levels and can improve blood sugar levels in people living with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes (without the danger of causing hypoglycemia). .
Semaglutide mimics our natural GLP-1 hormone, making it an effective drug for blood sugar regulation, reduction in A1C levels, and the treatment of overweight and obesity. Note that semaglutide is not the same as insulin and is not currently indicated for use in those with type-1 diabetes. However, it can be used for weight loss in people with type 1 diabetes and insulin resistance.
Given the immense popularity of these medications, insurances have made it difficult to get these covered - so we have these compounded for patients at a fraction of the commercially available price with great results.
Semaglutide was first developed by a team of researchers out of Danish pharmaceutical company NovoNordisk in 2012. An alternative to existing GLP-1 liraglutide (commercially known as Saxenda® or Victoza®), semaglutide was found to be longer-acting and therefore more convenient for many patients to use. Where liraglutide requires daily self-administration by injection, semaglutide only needs to be injected once per week.
When referring to the active ingredient, then we can technically say that yes, Wegovy® is the same as Ozempic®: Both are once-weekly injectable preparations of semaglutide. For those who may not be able to tolerate an injectable medication, semaglutide is also manufactured in tablet form under the name Rybelsus.
The key difference between Ozempic® and Wegovy® has to do with the amount of semaglutide available per pen—the injection device that delivers the medication. Wegovy can be prescribed in higher doses. Both have been shown to be safe and effective for weight loss when used in combination with lifestyle changes (including healthy food choices and exercise).
Mounjaro (tirzepatide) injection to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes, as an addition to diet and exercise.
All three of these medications can make it easier to lose weight and stick to healthy habits because of the role they play in promoting a feeling of fullness (or satiety) after meals. However, they must be used in combination with other tactics to support metabolic health and avoid weight regain.
Making significant changes to your health habits is no small feat. Even more challenging is maintaining these habits for the long haul. Without comprehensive support, studies have found that, on average, 95% of lost weight is regained after five years.
Our program has integrated evidence-based lifestyle recommendations to overcome this statistic and set members up for long-lasting health. So call us today to find out if a comprehensive approach with careful use of semaglutide or Ozempic is right for you.