Semaglutide Explained: Weight Loss Benefits, Risks, and How It Works

March 18, 2024

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Are you considering medication to support your weight loss journey? In my latest video, Dr. Joseph Ramos discuss Semaglutide – a new option that’s getting a lot of attention. We’ll cover how it works, the potential benefits, and what you should know before talking to your doctor.

Semaglutide belongs to a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists. Put simply, it mimics a naturally occurring hormone in our bodies that helps manage blood sugar levels and feelings of fullness after eating. This means Semaglutide can potentially reduce appetite and cravings, making it easier to stick to a healthier eating plan.

Studies suggest Semaglutide can lead to significant weight loss for some individuals. It’s important to remember that medication is just one tool, and the best results come when combined with lifestyle changes. Before considering Semaglutide, talk to your doctor. It has potential side effects and might not be the right choice for everyone. Your doctor can help you weigh the potential benefits against your individual health needs.

Semaglutide Key insights

  • Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. GLP-1 is a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels and appetite.
  • Semaglutide was originally developed as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.
  • It was later found to be effective for weight loss.
  • Semaglutide works by mimicking the effects of GLP-1, which tells the body that it is full and does not need more food.
  • It can also slow down the digestive system.
  • Semaglutide is available under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy.
  • It is a prescription medication and should only be taken under the supervision of a doctor.
  • There are some potential side effects of semaglutide, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • It is important to be aware of the risks and benefits of semaglutide before starting treatment.
  • If you are considering taking semaglutide, you should talk to your doctor about whether it is right for you.

Semaglutide, also known as Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, or Rybelus, is an injectable weight loss medication that can help with significant weight loss, but it comes with potential risks and requires careful consideration of the benefits and drawbacks before use.

  • 00:00 Semaglutide, also known as Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro, or Rybelus, is an injectable weight loss medication gaining popularity in the United States, and this episode explains its benefits and how it works.
    • Dr. Joseph Ramos, a medical doctor and attorney, discusses a medical topic he is excited about on the Difference Makers podcast.
    • Semaglutide, also known as OIC or wovi, is an injectable weight loss medication that is gaining popularity and is the base product for clarifications in the news.
    • Semaglutide, also known as Ozempic or Wegovy, is popular for weight loss in the United States, and this episode explains what it is and how it works.
  • 02:37 Semaglutide, originally for type 2 diabetes, has weight loss benefits and concerns about long-term use and potential weight regain, working as a glp1 receptor agonist to promote weight loss and reverse type 2 diabetes.
    • Semaglutide, originally developed for type 2 diabetes, has weight loss benefits and concerns about long-term use and potential weight regain.
    • Semaglutide was initially prescribed as a diabetes medication to stimulate the pancreas and improve glucose utilization, but it also led to weight loss in type 2 diabetics, resulting in improved insulin receptor function and resolution of diabetes.
    • Semaglutide is a weight loss medication that works as a glp1 receptor agonist, stimulating glucagon like peptides in the body to promote weight loss and reverse type 2 diabetes.
  • 05:38 Semaglutide signals the brain and body to feel full, reducing hunger and leading to weight loss benefits by mimicking the hormone glucagon-like peptide.
    • The body functions based on hormones, with the brain sending signals to the pituitary gland to regulate hormone production in response to the body’s needs, such as hunger.
    • Semaglutide works by signaling to the brain, stomach, and intestines that the body is full, reducing hunger and the desire to eat.
    • Semaglutide mimics the hormone glucagon-like peptide by sticking together amino acids to trick the body into feeling full, resulting in weight loss benefits.
  • 08:54 Semaglutide helps with weight loss by reducing calorie intake, improving glucose uptake, and promoting fat burning, but it’s important to monitor body composition and stay active.
    • Semaglutide acts like a hormone that helps you lose weight by reducing calorie intake and improving glucose uptake, and it is administered through small injections in the stomach.
    • Our body burns sugar and glycogen for energy before it starts burning fats and proteins for weight loss.
    • Semaglutide takes several weeks to work because it slowly builds up in the body due to its half-life, resulting in weight loss benefits.
    • Semaglutide helps reduce hunger, leading to weight loss by burning fat and protein, but it’s important to monitor body composition while taking the medication.
    • Semaglutide helps with weight loss by promoting fat burning and preserving muscle mass, but it’s important to stay active to maintain muscle tone and ensure that weight loss is primarily from fat.
  • 13:48 Semaglutide has gained popularity for significant weight loss benefits, but comes with potential risks such as pancreatitis and bowel obstruction if not used properly.
    • The Real Housewives have been accused of using semaglutide for weight loss.
    • Semaglutide has gained popularity for its weight loss benefits, with a study showing significant weight loss in over 2,000 people compared to diet and exercise alone.
    • Semaglutide, when added to diet and exercise, resulted in 15 to 20% weight loss, but it also comes with potential risks and should be obtained through proper medical channels.
    • Semaglutide can cause pancreatitis if used inappropriately, which can be deadly, so it should be taken seriously.
    • Semaglutide can slow bowel movement, leading to feeling full, but inappropriate dosing can cause bowel obstruction, requiring surgery.
  • 18:10 Semaglutide can lead to rare complications like retinal detachment and increased risks of certain cancers, so it’s important to carefully consider the risks and benefits before using it for weight loss.
    • Semaglutide can cause rare complications such as retinal detachment due to its effectiveness in removing sugars from the system, leading to rapid shifts in sugar levels and potential vision impairment.
    • Semaglutide can be dangerous if not managed properly, with increased risks of certain cancers in people with multiple endocrine neoplasia.
    • Semaglutide is easily accessible but the quality and medical management may vary, and it’s important to consider the risks and benefits before using it for weight loss.
  • 21:20 Semaglutide can help with 15-20% weight loss, but it’s important to maintain diet and exercise to prevent weight regain.
    • Newer medications like tirzepatide can be effective for weight loss in individuals for whom semaglutide does not work due to genetic factors or inadequate dosing.
    • Semaglutide can help with 15-20% weight loss, but it’s important to remember that stopping the medication can lead to weight regain, so diet and exercise are crucial for maintaining weight loss.
  • 23:40 Leave a review, feedback, and follow on social media to help others and make a difference.

Semaglutide is a medication that mimics the hormone GLP-1, helping regulate blood sugar and appetite. It’s used to manage type 2 diabetes (Ozempic, Rybelsus) and for weight loss (Wegovy). Semaglutide is found in injectable and oral forms. Its use is increasing rapidly due to its effectiveness in treating both diabetes and obesity.

Key Points:

  • Purpose: Regulates blood sugar, reduces appetite
  • Uses: Type 2 diabetes, weight loss
  • Forms: Injectable (Ozempic, Wegovy) and oral (Rybelsus)

Semaglutide mimics the hormone GLP-1, which helps your body manage blood sugar and appetite. It increases insulin production (which lowers blood sugar), slows down the release of sugar from the liver, and makes you feel full faster. This combination of effects helps control blood sugar levels and reduces food intake, leading to weight loss.

Key Points:

  • Mimics GLP-1 hormone: Regulates blood sugar and appetite
  • Boosts insulin: Helps the body use sugar for energy
  • Slows liver sugar release: Prevents blood sugar spikes
  • Increases fullness: Reduces overall food intake

Semaglutide helps with weight loss by regulating blood sugar and reducing appetite. It boosts insulin release (lowering blood sugar), prevents the liver from dumping excess sugar, and signals the brain to feel full. This combination of effects leads to eating less and supports weight loss efforts.

Key Points:

  • Blood sugar control: Prevents cravings caused by sugar spikes and crashes
  • Reduces appetite: Signals the brain to feel full, leading to eating less
  • Slows stomach emptying: Promotes longer-lasting fullness after meals
  • Best with lifestyle changes: Works alongside diet and exercise, not as a standalone solution

Yes, studies show semaglutide is highly effective for weight loss. In clinical trials, participants taking semaglutide lost an average of 15% of their body weight, compared to only 2.6% for those on a placebo. They also saw improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other health markers.

Key Points:

  • Significant weight loss: Average of 15% lost compared to 2.6% with placebo
  • Health improvements: Positive impact on blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.
  • Reduced diabetes risk: Helps those with prediabetes and prevents its development

Yes, semaglutide can cause side effects. The most common are mild and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and heartburn. Less frequently, semaglutide might cause serious side effects like pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, increased heart rate, kidney issues, or allergic reactions.

Key Points:

  • Common side effects: Usually mild digestive issues
  • Serious side effects: Possible but less frequent (pancreatitis, gallbladder problems etc.)
  • Talk to your doctor: Report any side effects, especially severe ones

Who should take semaglutide for weight loss?

The FDA has specifically approved semaglutide (Wegovy) for weight management in adults with a BMI of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or higher with at least one weight-related health condition (like high blood pressure). It’s also approved for adolescents 12 and older with a qualifying BMI. Semaglutide is usually given as an injection, but alternatives may be available for those uncomfortable with needles.

Key Points:

  • Approved for: Adults with specific BMI levels, sometimes teens
  • BMI requirements: 30+, or 27+ with health conditions
  • Health conditions: High blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
  • Injection-based: Alternatives may exist for needle-averse individuals

Semaglutide isn’t suitable for everyone. You should avoid semaglutide if you have a history of pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney disease, thyroid tumors (or family history of them), diabetic retinopathy, or certain digestive disorders. Additionally, it’s typically not prescribed for those who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

Key Points:

  • Existing conditions: Certain health issues make semaglutide risky
  • Thyroid tumors: Increases risk, especially with family history
  • Pregnancy/breastfeeding: May harm the baby
  • Always tell your doctor: They assess your full health picture

All three medications contain semaglutide, but they have different uses and forms. Rybelsus is a pill for blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is a weekly injection for blood sugar control in type 2 diabetes, and it aids weight loss. Wegovy is a weekly injection specifically for weight loss in people with or without diabetes.

Key Points:

  • Type 2 diabetes focus: Rybelsus and Ozempic
  • Weight loss focus: Wegovy
  • Form: Rybelsus (pill), Ozempic & Wegovy (injections)
  • Semaglutide ingredient: Present in all three medications

Relevant Research Papers:

1. Official FDA Resources:

2. Reputable Medical Journals:

3. PubMed:

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Jim Hoven

Director of Operations - Ramos Law

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Joseph Ramos, MD, JD


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