The Wider Health Benefits of GLP-1 Medications Beyond Weight Loss: A Deep Dive

By now we should all have heard of the incredible weight loss results from GLP-1 receptor agonist medications and their ever-growing popularity. All over the UK, people are searching for access to ‘game changing’ medications to solve their weight problems.

Searches for semaglutide, tirzepatide and liraglutide (brand names WeGovy/Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Saxenda respectively) have increased dramatically in the past year, and interest continues to rise.

That’s because for the first time ever, there seems to be a potential long-term solution to the obesity epidemic that has afflicted the world over the past 30 years.

Despite its discovery and invention being for the purpose of helping type-2 diabetes sufferers, researchers found significant healthy weight loss in clinical trials, and began to refocus their research onto obesity.

However, a couple of years on from their initial approval for obesity treatment, GLP-1 medications have been found to have positive impacts on many other areas of our health, beyond weight loss. For individuals, employees, and employers, the wider benefits of GLP-1s are incredibly exciting! Here at Bodyline, in our desire for clear communication on these viral medications, we’d like to explore the wider benefits and help break them down for those who are considering their use.

What are GLP-1s and how do they help with weight loss?

GLP-1 receptor agonists are medications that mimic the hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), that is naturally produced in our guts. Usually, GLP-1 will be released by the intestines following meals in response to eating carbohydrates and other food. It has many purposes in our body, with the main functions including:

  • Stimulating insulin secretion, a hormone that prevents blood sugar levels getting too high
  • Inhibiting glucagon secretion, a hormone that prevents blood sugar levels going too low
  • Acts as physiological regulator of appetite and food intake

In Layman’s terms, natural GLP-1 hormones regulate blood sugar levels, control appetite, and aid in insulin production. When this is boosted with the help of GLP-1 receptor agonists in medications, we can slow down digestion, increase satiety, and reduce food intake, ultimately leading to weight loss.

GLP-1 medications generally come in the form of injections, though oral pills are emerging in studies too. Administration of these medications mimic a hormone our bodies naturally produce, artificially jumpstarting processes to prevent overeating.

Currently, GLP-1s in the UK are prescribed on NHS only to those with a body mass index identifying them as obese (BMI over 30), or overweight (BMI over 27) with additional weight related health problems such as high blood pressure.

Safe injectable weight health medications are available in the UK as part of a supported weight health programme from specialist weight health clinic group Bodyline include:

  • Tirzepatide (Mounjaro):

Mounjaro is the latest injectable medication, that has been approved for obesity treatment by MHRA as of November 2023. It has been developed and is manufacturered by Eli Lilly.  Tirzepatide is a dual acting medication as it doesn’t just include GLP-1, but it also includes GIP incretin producing hormones to produce groundbreaking results in promoting weight loss.

Clinical trials saw that over 85% of users saw a loss of between 5-20% of their body weight, far surpassing the effectiveness of other GLP-1 injectable medications available. Another clinical trial saw losses of over 20% of starting weight, proving the dual action of tirzepatide appears to be the way forward in obesity treatments.

  • Semaglutide (WeGovy):

Manufactured by Novo Nordisk, WeGovy sees an average 15% body weight reduction in studies over a 68-week period when used alongside diet and exercise. It comes in the form of injections and is self-administered once a week to help users feel satiated to prevent overeating.

  • Liraglutide (Saxenda):

Liraglutide is also an injectable medication manufactured by Novo Nordisk though it is to be self-administered once a day. Here at Bodyline, we have been prescribing Saxenda as part of our medical weight loss treatment plans for almost 10 years, helping clients lose 5-10% of their body weight on average safely and effectively.

GLP-1 research beyond obesity

Weight loss in those living with obesity is incredibly impactful, improving health outcomes and mortality rates as well as overwhelmingly enhancing their quality of life.

However, it’s not just weight health that has been impacted by game changing GLP-1 medications. Researchers around the world have begun recording the wider health benefits they are seeing within GLP-1 clinical trials, including cardiovascular outcomes, liver health, and even their impact on Alzheimer’s disease.

We want to help place focus on the wider health benefits of GLP-1 injectable therapies, and how this medication may prove much more beneficial to global health than previously thought.

Heart Health

Firstly, cardiovascular health is a vital concern for the UK and the world. According to the British Heart Foundation, every day 480 people die from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK alone, and 7.6 million people are currently living with some form of heart or circulatory disease at this very moment.

Yet clinical research is now seeing a reduction of major adverse cardiovascular events  (MACE) as a result of weekly semaglutide administration. That’s a decrease in the risk of events such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure by 20%.

Additionally, clinical studies have shown tirzepatide to significantly reduce blood pressure, both diastolic and systolic, and ongoing trials will explore its impact on the reduction of MACE.

This reported reduction in risks of cardiovascular disease is due to the multifaceted impacts of GLP-1 receptor agonists. Of course, the aid in weight loss will help with obesity related heart problems like high blood pressure and fat clogging cells in the blood. However, on top of that, GLP-1 medications stimulate the inner lining of blood vessels and veins to produce nitric oxide, reduce oxidative stress, and have anti-inflammatory effects.

These benefits to cardiovascular health could be a great response to the epidemic of heart disease in the country, aiding the economy, and boosting national health outcomes, which is why this initial research is very promising.

Boosting our Brains

Positive mental approaches and mindsets are key when it comes to transitioning to healthier lifestyles, which is why the impact of GLP-1 receptor agonists on brain processes has been key to successful weight loss. The medications have long been known to trigger processes in the central nervous system and penetrate the brain to alter reward behaviour and reduce food intake.

These changes should, if kept up consistently, create habits that can be continued beyond the use of these medications to ensure long-term maintenance of a healthy weight, essentially altering the mindset in those who struggled to lose weight before.

However, early research has found benefits beyond habit forming and appetite reduction. Trials are seeing an increase in hormones expressed in parts of the brain that improve learning and memory in the presence of semaglutide. These processes and signalling pathways are promising mechanisms in promoting glucose metabolism in the brain, which is linked to therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.

Whilst further research is planned to verify these findings, it is incredibly promising for the future prevention and treatment of a disease that impacts around 850,000 people in the UK.

Another promising impact of tirzepatide is its ability to dramatically improve “spatial learning and memory impairment” in those suffering from cognitive deterioration due to diabetes. Research has seen studies link the GLP-1 and GIP dual action to reversing the neurodegeneration associated with insulin resistance and therefore reducing the risk of dementia.

These exciting results offer brilliant beginnings to our understanding of neurological diseases and serve to prove that GLP-1 receptor antagonists are certainly linked to positive outcomes in cognitive health.

Fighting Fatty Livers

Alongside heart and brain health, the liver sees significant health improvements in GLP-1 receptor agonist usage.

Tirzepatide has been seen to significantly reduce liver fat content compared to other medications. When liver fat content (LFC) is too high, a common ailment in people who are overweight or obese, it can cause liver inflammation which results in scarring and liver fibrosis. If fatty livers are left untreated, it could require a liver transplant.

In fact, GLP-1 medications are being trialled in the treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and reduce the amount of liver fibrosis. Both liraglutide and semaglutide have been seen to improve outcomes in those suffering from these liver diseases.

Outside of GLP-1 medications, the only treatment plans had been weight loss, so thanks to their incredible weight loss outcomes, promoting liver health is a happy side effect in those impacted by NAFLD.

Contact Bodyline today to find out more about our safe and effective weight loss programmes and range of treatment options.

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Weight Loss Outcomes

Finally, the positive impact of the inevitable weight loss on general health outcomes is exponential. Carrying extra weight has a multitude of impacts on our overall health, affecting both our physical and mental well-being.

Excess weight can increase the risk of various health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer. Additionally, high body fat levels places added stress on our joints, leading to joint pain and increased risk of arthritis. Being overweight or obese can impact our respiratory health, sleep patterns, and energy levels.

Ensuring weight loss with a guaranteed reduction of between 5-20% of starting body weight with the help of GLP-1 receptor agonist medications would reduce the risk and impact of every negative physical health outcome listed above.

What’s more, mental health is also closely intertwined with weight. Negative body image and low self-esteem often accompany weight gain, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and a decreased quality of life.

Focussing on the root causes of physical and mental health problems rather than treating the symptoms is a sure-fire way to reduce all weight health related ailments and improve the wider public health.

Managing weight as a way to manage overall health should be prioritised throughout the medical world and in country-wide public health decision-making.

Focus on your health with Bodyline

We offer fully supported medical weight loss programmes designed to support individuals in achieving their weight loss goals. We’ve helped over 100,000 people see complete weight loss transformations by taking a holistic, personalised approach, considering individual needs, preferences, and medical history.

It is vital to note that we only prescribe GLP-1 receptor agonists if you qualify for them according to national health guidelines, and if you are not on any contraindicated medications. We also offer tried and tested oral medications that guarantee healthy weight loss.

To find out if you are eligible for WeGovy, Saxenda, or Mounjaro, just get in touch with our helpful customer service team.

Our weight loss programmes provide comprehensive support, tailored treatment plans, and ongoing guidance to help individuals on their weight health journey. Remember, prioritising weight health is an investment in your overall well-being and quality of life.

If you’re ready to take control of your weight health, contact Bodyline today at 0800 995 6036 or fill in an online contact form for a call back.

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