How to Determine if Semaglutide Is Right for You
If you’ve turned on the news at all in recent weeks, you’ve heard about the surge in use of Ozempic (semaglutide) for weight loss. It’s become the magic weight loss “pill” of today, but is it all it’s cracked up to be? And is it safe to use?
Ozempic is a weekly injectable medication that helps adults with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar, and it may also promote modest weight loss. However, it may cause serious side effects such as thyroid tumors, inflammation of the pancreas, changes in vision, low blood sugar, kidney problems, serious allergic reactions, and gallbladder problems.
Of course, diet, exercise and lifestyle habits are key to any weight-loss journey, including managing diabetes—this has been the foundation of my message for years. But after working in the field of weight-loss resistance for over four decades, I don’t think lifestyle strategies and weight-loss medications are always mutually exclusive. I've seen the struggle for many people to heal their metabolism and lose weight, and how frustrating and depressing it can be. You may be surprised to hear my opinion!
In this week’s podcast, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of using Ozempic, who I might recommend it for, lifestyle considerations that go hand-in-hand with using this medication, how to use it safely with your doctor’s approval, and how to minimize negative side effects.
00:01:16 – What is semaglutide and how does it work?
00:03:34 – Common side effects of these drugs
00:06:14 – Who is a good candidate for weight loss drugs?
00:08:24 – Dietary tips to help avoid side effects and weight regain
00:10:37 – Supplements to help insulin sensitivity and blood sugar
00:11:13 – The type of training that will help your metabolism
00:12:30 – Other interventions to enhance your metabolism
Mentioned in this episode:
Study: Semaglutide and obesity
Check your health stats with Your Lab Work (no doctor’s prescription needed)
Try the Theia continuous glucose monitor
Start your day with a protein-first All-In-One Shake
Use Cronometer to keep track of your protein intake
Supplements to help insulin sensitivity and blood sugar: Omega Plus, Berberine Synergy, Chromium Synergy (with vanadium, zinc and vitamin D), Magnesium Body Calm, Vitamin D Plus, and Apple Cider Vinegar
Use TRX training to build muscle with resistance training (free shipping on all orders $99+)
Get a Kooru cold plunge for metabolic health (use code JJVIP500 for $500 off)
ATHE_Transcript_Ep 536_15 Major Warnings to Know Before Using Ozempic for Weight Loss
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Thanks so much for joining me. This is Ask the Health Expert. In each episode, I put the Power of Health in your hands and share ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox, and lots more. So you can look and feel better fast if you'd rather watch the video. Hey, I did put on my makeup and do my hair, so check it out on my YouTube channel.
So if you've even glimpsed at the news over the past year, you probably heard about the new Miracle Drug for weight loss, and you may be wondering if this would make sense for you. And the answer is, Maybe if you're 30 or more pounds over fat. Notice I said over fat, struggling with insulin resistance and weight loss, resistance and diet, lifestyle just aren't working.
They're not budging. The [00:01:00] scale. This could be that push your metabolism needs to start healing and start dropping fat, but it is not all sunshine and butterflies. So I'm gonna walk you through how this drug works, it's pros and cons and what you should know if you're considering it. So first of all, what the heck is it?
It is a GLP one agonist drug, and it's been used historically for diabetes, and it's been sold under the name Ozempic Spend for Diabetes and Wegovy is for weight loss, the same thing. It's a, it's called semaglutide, and there's actually a couple different GLP one agonists and GLP one stands for glucagon-like peptide, which is a hormone release from the cells in the small intestine, and it works on your body in different ways.
It helps your body release more insulin when you're eating, so that means your blood sugar is gonna stay lower and in balance. Now, if you have type two diabetes or insulin resistance, your body may not be responding to GLP one properly. And a GLP one agonist drug acts like GLP one to do the following First blood sugar [00:02:00] is up.
The amount of insulin your pancreas releases after your meal is increased to bring that blood sugar low. When blood sugar is high, the liver is stopped from making too much glucose so you don't keep getting it higher and higher and higher. And third, it slows the emptying of the stomach's contents into the intestines.
It also helps you brown your fat, which makes that fat more thermic and makes you burn more fat off. It also helps lower inflammation by working with the gut immune cells. Think about this, right? Less than 7% of the population is considered to be metabolically healthy, and the center focus of that is insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is really that big driver of metabolic health and remember, you've gotta be metabolically healthy to lose weight. So improving metabolic health. could be everything. Now again, these drugs were originally used for diabetes, except there was a side benefit that they started to [00:03:00] notice weight loss.
Cuz you can imagine that when you've got better blood sugar control and you're not hungry, weight loss becomes a lot easier to achieve. And think about it, when you're insulin resistant, what happens? Your blood sugar's higher than it should be, but the doors to your, your blood sugar, to your cells are locked.
So you can't use either stored energy from sugar or stored energy from. So you're hungry all the time, even when you've just eaten. So it sounds like a magic bullet, and there are some side effects, but there're also some definite applications. So let's talk about side effects and downsides. So here's the deal.
According to one prescribing doctor, about half the people who initially uses semaglutide Wegovy any of these GLP one agonists have side effects, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, headaches, and then there's another. Potential muscle loss. Now that all sounds not so good, just as I knew I was gonna do this video, I had the opportunity to go sit in, in an [00:04:00] advanced workshop on GLP one agonists at the Integrative Healthcare Symposium in New York.
And this guy had been successfully prescribing this drug for years with minimal downsides. and when he shared how he got rid of these side effects and when what happened, it was like, oh, this makes so much sense. It really has to do with how you go on this drug. The drug has to be very so slowly titrated up on the front end and then very slowly decreased on the back end when you reach your goal health and weight.
Next, you gotta make sure that you're optimizing protein again. I'm gonna have you do that no matter what, and adding resistance exercise that will minimize the muscle loss. Now here's the important thing with that. If you've got a lot of weight to lose, let's say you've got 50 or more pounds of weight to lose, it's not gonna be all fat.
There's gonna be some fat mass and some lean mass because some of that lean mass is actually supporting the fat mass. Now, as far as weight regain goes, obviously if you're gonna do this, you are going to be [00:05:00] combining it with a really sound diet, exercise, and lifestyle program, right? Diet. And sleep and stress.
If you just go on this, it cuts your appetite. You don't eat, and then you go off of it and go right back to what you were doing. Well, you know, we all know what will happen, right? So you wouldn't wanna do that. You would use this medication to help you restore that insulin sensitivity to help you drop that body fat while adding muscle mass on healing your metabolism and then tapering down.
But here's the biggest downside that I can see it. A lot like, like a thousand dollars or more a month. A lot. Now if this is something you can use for three to six months to get, you break through that weight loss resistance plateau, hey, that's a lot less money than some of the other things that could happen you know, that you'd be spending money on.
Right? , and if you get it compounded, like you combine it with b12, turns out you can get it for a lot less money. Or maybe your medical condition is one that you can [00:06:00] get it covered by insurance. So it really depends. That would be you exploring how you would do that. And again, this is all that exploration of, is this right for you?
If you follow my. , you'd probably be surprised that I'm excited about this and I think most people in nutrition and exercise world, I've been looking at my friends and are like, don't do it. And I'm like, well, I've been working in weight loss resistance for 30 plus years, and obviously I'm a big proponent of diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
But these aren't musically exclusive from using this medication and in working in weight loss resistance for over three decades, I've seen the struggle out there that it takes to heal your metabolism and lose the weight and how long it can take to turn things around and how frustrating and depressing it can be.
And so if there's something out there that can help you, give you that edge, help you speed that healing and help you get through this, break through that, that weight loss resistance . Honestly, I'm all for [00:07:00] it. So in my opinion, this is something to consider if you're 30 or more pounds over fat. And really, if that fat is what we call visceral adipose tissue, that bad
fat, because that's that very inflammatory fat. If you have one or more of those metabolic markers, remember at the beginning I said that less than 7% of the population is metabolically healthy and you have to be. Healthy to lose fat and build muscle. So if your waist circumference is bigger, if you've got hypertension, if your blood sugar's elevated, if your triglycerides are elevated, if your HDL is low, any of those types of things that make you more insulin resistance.
If you feel like you've been doing everything right, and I mean it, come on, let's be honest. Everything right, like you are. Really following a low food intolerance diet, a low sugar impact diet. You're leading protein first. You're eating by the clock. You're doing that exercise, you're getting your resistance training in.
You're doing some high intensity interval training and nothing's happening. You've handled your sleep, you've handled your stress. Here's the deal, whether [00:08:00] you use this, the medication or not. , the strategies I'm going to recommend next. They need to be incorporated. So they're either gonna be incorporated to avoid that weight regain that two thirds of the people have when they get off this drug, or to be able to do all of this, to get where you want to be to heal that metabolism without the drug.
So whether or not you use the drug, let me walk you through what you're gonna want to do. The first. Protein first. So we're gonna talk diet first, and the way I teach you to build your plate is protein. First, what do we know about protein? Protein is super important for satiety. In fact, if you combine protein with fiber from plants, you are going to slow down stomach emptying.
This is one of the things these GLP one agonists do. They slow down stomach emptying. They help balance blood sugar. So that's the first thing. So they're improving satiety, right? Proteins. More thermic protein, even if you don't work out, helps you have more Lean mass helps you have more muscle. Now we're gonna work out too, but that's important.
Then we take protein first [00:09:00] 0.7 to one gram per pound of target body weight divided throughout the day with your bumper. Meals of breakfast and dinner being super important to have at least 30 grams of protein, you're gonna count and track that protein first. Then I'm adding in lots of non-starchy vegetables, so I feed my gut microbiome and I get the diversity that I need in my butt.
My gut microbiome, not my butt microbiome, and so I'm eating at least five servings of non-starchy vegetables. I'm eating two pieces of fruit a. , right, and that again, the fiber with the protein slowing down, stomach emptying. I'm using a continuous glucose monitor. That I put on my arm with an app so that I can check how I'm doing and making sure that I'm eating very balanced between the protein, the fiber and fat, so that I'm keeping my blood sugar stabilized.
And again, when I'm eating my non-starchy vegetables, when I'm eating my two pieces of fruit, when I'm eating some of the slow low carbs I talk about in the sugar impact diet, I'm getting the fiber in there that. Slow down Stomach emptying helps lower the blood [00:10:00] sugar response like GLP one agonists do. And it also feeds the gut microbiome that is so critical for helping you lose weight and absorb nutrients.
Now, a little hack that I could put in there that works really well is to use apple cider vinegar. Try adding two tablespoons a day into some green tea. It's amazing both for your gut microbiome and for insulin sensitivity. And again, part of what these things are doing is help helping restore insulin sensitivity.
And I'm gonna lower my sugar impact and I'm gonna address leaky gut. So that's the virgin diet. So those are all things that you're gonna do no matter what, whether you're on the program or not. And then I'm gonna look at supplements that can also help with GLP one agonists, again, help with insulin sensitivity, help with blood sugar control, help restore insulin sensitivity.
Visual is a great one. Two grams of fish oil a day and eating more fish. I'm making a conscious effort to get in four servings, at least to fish every single week. But I also take fish oil. Burberine is another one that I love. Burberine, and then [00:11:00] chromium, venatium, zinc and magnesium all help with insulin sensitivity, with better glucose control.
And then vitamin D 3 with K 1&2 also is super important for restoring insulin sensitivity. The other thing, when we look at. I want you to really focus on resistance training first and getting in at least each body part, upper body pushing, upper body pulling, hinging from your hips and thighs at least three times a week.
And these are, I've talked about this extensively in my videos, so look for my exercise videos to go through this. But you wanna make sure that you are putting on muscle. Muscles, your metabolic spanks. It holds everything in tighter, but it's also an endocrine organ that acts as a sponge to soak up the sugar and have a place for your amino acids to go.
So you've got, you've got a reservoir for energy. The other thing that you want to be thinking about as I'm recording this, I am standing up, that is non-exercise activity thermogenesis. So we tend to think of, okay, I need to exercise. Well, that might count for five to [00:12:00] 10% of your calorie spend. Your metabolism during the day.
Why I like to put on muscle is because that's going to take more energy all throughout the day to keep it on, to go through muscle protein synthesis. But neat can be as much as 10 to 15% of your metabolism. And so that is using a standing desk, taking the stairs, parking farther away, getting a dog who looks at you with those eyes and makes you go walk 'em.
You know, all those things keep you moving. One of the things that I've been doing lately is we've bought a cold plunge, and I do cold plunging a couple times a week because it helps brown your fat. So one of the things that these GLP one agonists do is they help brown your fat. We have white fat and we have brown fat, and we have beige fat too.
So we can take that white fat, beige it on over to brown. When we're doing that, we're making it very thermic, so we're actually enhancing your metabolism. It's easy fat to burn, and cold plunging does that too. So cold shower makes a big. , I just have to shout out on sleep and stress because if you're not sleeping well, that is the [00:13:00] fastest way you become insulin resistant.
If you're not sleeping well, you will have struggles with your weight. And of course, stress plays right into that. Often messes up your sleep too, makes you crave more sugar, breaks down muscle, and makes leaky gut. I think that you're always. Get a lot more help if you're in a community. In fact, they did a study where they showed that weight loss was contagious.
You caught it from your friends. I'm saying find a supportive, fitter community to hang out with and ideally hire a coach so that you really have someone to keep you accountable, and you have a group to keep you accountable. So here's the basic action plan, right? But remember underneath it all your hunger and fullness hormones are made in your gut.
And that GLP one release to balance your blood sugar comes from. So you gotta make sure that your gut health is an optimal shape so you can create these long-term sustainable weight changes. I have got something great for you. Next, you're gonna wanna watch this next video on how to speed heal your gut for fast lasting weight loss.[00:14:00]
For more info on this and other health topics I cover, or to rate and review, find me on Instagram, Facebook, and my website jjvirgin.com, and don't forget to subscribe to my show so you won't miss a single episode. Go to subscribetojj.com. Thanks again for being with me this week.