Semaglutide Peptides: What to Know Before Trying Them

March 23, 2024
A woman stepping on a scale.

Peptides are short chains of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. These tiny molecules play a crucial role in various bodily functions, including cell signaling, hormone regulation, and metabolic processes. While the body naturally produces a wide range of peptides, scientists have also developed synthetic peptides to target specific health concerns, including weight loss.

Key peptides that aid in weight loss are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), and human growth hormone (hGH). Scientists have developed synthetic forms of these peptides.

How Weight Loss (semaglutide) Peptides Work

Weight-loss peptides work through several mechanisms. They are similar in structure to naturally produced peptides. This means they can bind to the same receptors in your body and have the same impact. Medications that attach to the same receptor as a naturally produced protein are called receptor agonists.  

One important weight-loss peptide, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and its receptor agonists have been shown in clinical tests to reduce hunger, make people feel full, and increase insulin release. This combination can lead to a decrease in caloric intake and an increase in the body’s ability to utilize glucose effectively.

GLP-1 is produced in the gut after you eat and has the following roles in your body:1

  • Stimulates insulin release: Insulin helps reduce your blood sugar levels by ushering glucose from the bloodstream into the liver and body cells. GLP-1 receptor agonists are used to treat type 2 diabetes.
  • Inhibits glucagon secretion: Glucagon raises blood sugar levels, and GLP-1 suppresses glucagon release from the liver.
  • Slows stomach emptying: GLP-1 slows how fast food is moved from your stomach and through your intestines. This can help you feel full longer.
  • Reduces appetite: GLP-1 acts in the brain to reduce appetite and increase satiety.
  • Has cardiovascular benefits: Clinical studies suggest that GLP-1 reduces the risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
  • Decreases fat storage: GLP-1 reduces lipogenesis. This is when your body stores excess energy as fat.
  • Has neurologic benefits: GLP-1 protects neurons (brain cells).

Similar to GLP-1, another weight-loss peptide, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), is released from the gut after you eat. GIP has the following roles in the body:2,3

  • Stimulates insulin release
  • Decreases appetite
  • Increases satiety
  • Increases glucagon secretion
  • Protects the heart and blood vessels
  • Promotes fat storage

Growth hormone-releasing hormones (GHRH) are hormones that stimulate the release of growth hormones from the pituitary gland. Growth hormones increase lean body mass and decrease fat mass. Naturally produced growth hormones typically decrease with age.

Growth hormone secretagogues stimulate the release of growth hormone. They act within your body’s natural feedback loops. These controls help protect your body from the effects of excessive growth hormone release.

The Best Weight Loss Peptides

While there are many effective weight-loss medications, here are four of the top peptides for weight loss.

1. Semaglutide peptide (Ozempic/Wegovy)

Semaglutide peptide, marketed under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy, is a GLP-1 receptor agonist approved to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.

This once-weekly injectable medication has shown remarkable results in weight loss clinical trials, with participants experiencing an average of 15% weight loss.4  

Semaglutide peptide works by stimulating insulin release, reducing appetite, and promoting feelings of fullness, making it a potent tool for weight management. Besides promoting weight loss, semaglutide peptide can protect your brain and heart from damage due to inflammation.

2. Liraglutide peptide (Saxenda)

Another GLP-1 receptor agonist that has been approved to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity is liraglutide peptide, also known as Saxenda and Victoza.

Similar to semaglutide peptide, liraglutide helps reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness. Many people who take liraglutide say that it helps them develop a healthy relationship with food. Food cravings and obsessive thoughts about eating no longer control them.

Clinical studies have shown how effective liraglutide is in inducing weight loss. Participants taking liraglutide consumed about 16% fewer calories and lost an average of 11 pounds more than participants who were not taking liraglutide.5

Liraglutide is administered through a once-daily injection, making it a convenient option for individuals seeking sustainable weight loss.

3. Tirzepatide peptide (Mounjaro)

Tirzepatide peptide is a newer GLP-1 and GIP receptor agonist that has been approved to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity. Unlike semaglutide peptide and liraglutide, tirzepatide targets obesity in two ways: by the GLP-1 and GIP receptors, leading to even greater weight loss.

In clinical trials, individuals taking tirzepatide experienced substantial weight loss. Participants taking tirzepatide lost an average of 21% of their body weight over 72 weeks. In the second phase of the trial, they lost an additional 6.7% of their body weight, for a total of 26.6% body weight loss over 84 weeks.

4. Sermorelin peptide

Sermorelin is a growth hormone-releasing peptide (GHRP) that stimulates the production and release of growth hormone. While primarily used for its muscle-building properties, sermorelin has also shown potential for weight loss as it increases naturally produced growth hormone.

By increasing growth hormone levels, sermorelin enhances metabolism, promotes fat burning, and supports the development of lean muscle mass. Sermorelin is typically administered through subcutaneous injections.

Plan to give Sermorelin a four- to six-month trial to see its full effects. Besides weight loss, sermorelin has many other potential benefits for men and women.

semaglutide peptide is an effective weight-loss injectable

The Benefits of Peptides for Weight Loss

Peptides are small proteins that are designed to mimic the effects of proteins produced in your body. Sermorelin, semaglutide, liraglutide, and tirzepatide are all injectables. Like all medications, they have risks and benefits.

1. Better Blood Sugar Control

Semaglutide, liraglutide, and tirzepatide increase insulin release and regulate your blood sugar. This can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. Studies show that these peptides can also reduce inflammation and protect your heart and blood vessels.

foods, weights and a tape measure tools to use with weight loss peptides

2. Reduced Appetite and Cravings

Certain peptides, such as GLP-1 receptor agonists, can help curb appetite and reduce cravings, making it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan. When you aren’t hungry and you don’t have constant cravings for foods high in fat, sugar, and salt, you can lose weight and keep it off.

3. Improved Body Composition

Sermorelin and other growth hormone-releasing peptides can promote lean muscle mass development and fat cell breakdown. This can result in better body composition. After taking Sermorelin, you may be able to exercise longer and burn more calories.

4. Increased Energy and Fitness Performance

Peptides can enhance energy levels and improve physical performance, allowing you to engage in more vigorous exercise routines and burn more calories. By optimizing energy levels, peptides can support your weight loss journey and overall fitness goals.

lady with wrinkles

5. Anti-Aging Benefits

Besides weight loss, peptides have anti-aging properties that can improve skin elasticity, reduce wrinkles, and promote overall vitality. Peptide therapy can help you look and feel your best as you work towards your weight loss goals.

Semaglutide, liraglutide, tirzepatide, and sermorelin have risks and benefits and, therefore, are not ideal treatment options for everyone. Invigor Medical offers a wide range of weight-loss options. Your Invigor Medical healthcare provider will evaluate your medical history and determine whether you are a candidate for these weight-loss peptides.

Schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider at Invigor Medical to learn more about your options for weight-loss treatment.

Get started today with one of our weight loss peptides in our Weight Loss Treatment Plans.

Author: Leann Poston, M.D.
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