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Nutritional and Natural Alternatives to Ozempic for Prediabetes


a pharmaceutical injection



It's no secret that the U.S. is facing a major epidemic when it comes to weight issues. The stats on this are pretty eye-opening, with a significant portion of the population falling into the obese category. Nearly 1 in 3 adults (30.7%) are overweight and more than 2 in 5 adults (42.4%) are obese (including severe obesity).


And if that wasn't enough, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes have become all too common, adding another layer to this health crisis. Among U.S. adults ages 18 years or older, 97.6 million—more than 1 in 3—had prediabetes in 2021. And research shows that up to 70% of those with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes.


When it comes to shedding some pounds and managing pre- and type 2 diabetes, there are a few common routes people take. Some opt for pharmaceuticals to help, and these meds can be a game-changer for many. Then there's bariatric surgery - the big guns of weight loss intervention. It's like hitting the reset button on your stomach size and can have a profound impact on both weight loss and blood sugar control. And then of course there are diet and lifestyle modifications. Sometimes simple changes in what you eat and how you move can make all the difference in the world. It's important to consider the pros and cons of each option before jumping into a new approach.


The latest option that has everyone talking is a pharmaceutical that's administered as weekly injections. Let's take a look at the details as well as possible, more natural, alternatives .



The Emergence of Semaglutide and How it Works


Semaglutide is a medication used primarily in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Developed in 2012 and approved in 2017 to treat type 2 diabetes. it belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. Semaglutide is marketed under the brand names Ozempic, Rybelsus, and Wegovy, with Novo Nordisk's Ozempic commanding 55% of the market.


Here's how it works:


  1. GLP-1 Receptor Agonist: Semaglutide mimics the action of GLP-1, a natural hormone in the body that is released in response to food intake. GLP-1 helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas and reducing glucagon secretion (glucagon is a hormone that increases blood sugar levels).

  2. Slows Gastric Emptying: It slows down the rate at which the stomach empties its contents into the small intestine. This helps to reduce postprandial (after-meal) blood sugar spikes by delaying the absorption of glucose from the gut.

  3. Increases Satiety: Semaglutide also acts on the brain to increase feelings of fullness or satiety, which can lead to reduced food intake and weight loss.

  4. Improves Insulin Sensitivity: It can enhance the body's sensitivity to insulin, allowing it to work more effectively in lowering blood sugar levels.

  5. Potential Effects on Body Weight: While originally developed for diabetes management, semaglutide has also shown promise in aiding weight loss. Higher doses of semaglutide have been studied specifically for this purpose, and it's been found to be effective in helping people lose weight when used in combination with diet and exercise.



Side Effects and Downsides of Ozempic


While semaglutide is lauded by many as a wonder drug, it does have its downsides:


  1. Gastrointestinal Side Effects: Common side effects of semaglutide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. These symptoms usually improve over time for most people, but they can be bothersome, especially when starting the medication.

  2. Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Sugar): Semaglutide, like other GLP-1 receptor agonists, can lower blood sugar levels. When combined with other blood sugar-lowering medications such as insulin, it may increase the risk of hypoglycemia. It's important to monitor blood sugar levels closely and adjust other medications as needed under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

  3. Injection Site Reactions: Since semaglutide is administered by injection, it can cause injection site reactions such as redness, swelling, or itching.

  4. Pancreatitis: In rare cases, semaglutide has been associated with pancreatitis, which is inflammation of the pancreas. Symptoms of pancreatitis include severe abdominal pain that may radiate to the back, nausea, and vomiting. If you experience these symptoms, it's important to seek medical attention promptly.

  5. Thyroid Tumors: There have been reports of thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer, in animal studies with semaglutide. While the relevance of these findings to humans is not fully understood, it's something to consider, especially for individuals with a history of thyroid problems.

  6. Cost: Semaglutide can be expensive, especially for individuals without insurance coverage or with high copays. Cost can be a barrier to access for some people.

  7. Injection Requirement: Semaglutide is administered by subcutaneous injection, typically once weekly. Some individuals may find it inconvenient or uncomfortable to administer injections regularly.



Semaglutide Isn't the Only Way to Stimulate GLP-1


The primary mechanism behind semaglutide is the stimulation of GLP-1. But are there ways to stimulate GLP-1 without the expense and potential side effects of semaglutide? YES!


The Gut Connection


The gut microbiome plays a key role in weight management and metabolic syndrome, and new discoveries and tools are now available to help people with these issues. GLP-1 is influenced by the microbiome, and understanding the gut-GLP-1 connection is crucial for addressing food cravings and mental well-being. Fecal transplants and novel microbes are showing promise in improving metabolism and managing type 2 diabetes through altering the microbiome.


GLP-1 production can be stimulated by specific bacterial strains in the microbiome, leading to reduced food cravings and weight loss. The three strains that support GLP-1 production include Akkermansia Municiniphila, Clostridium Butyricum, and Bifidobacteria Infantis. Pendulum is a microbiome company that has recently developed probiotic products specifically targeting GLP-1 production. Its GLP-1 Probiotic contains the three strains to help boost GLP-1.



Other Natural Supplements and Foods that are Alternatives to Ozempic


Berberine

Berberine is a compound found naturally in many plants. It activates an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), often referred to as a “metabolic master switch”. This activation plays a crucial role in regulating metabolism and is similar to how Ozempic works. One study noted that berberine works by stimulating the uptake of glucose into the cells, thus helping to lower blood sugar levels. This mechanism is similar to how Ozempic functions, but berberine does this through a natural process. In addition, berberine has positive effects on cholesterol levels and heart health.


Pomegranate

Pomegranate-- yes, that fruit with ruby seeds that cause sweet-tart explosions-- can help with blood sugar regulation and weight management. Recent research suggests that its rich antioxidant properties and bioactive compounds can play a role in stimulating the secretion of GLP-1, much like Ozempic. Pomegranate extract can also stimulate the secretion of GLP-1, aiding in blood sugar control and weight management. Even just drinking pomegranate juice can help improve insulin resistance. If you try this, make sure you choose a juice option without added sugar.


Konjac

Konjac is a root vegetable that has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries. It contains glucomannan, a soluble dietary fiber that may help lower blood sugar levels. Glucomannan may work by absorbing water to form a bulky fiber that treats constipation, and by slowing the absorption of sugar and cholesterol in the gut. This may help control sugar levels in people with prediabetes and diabetes and reduce cholesterol levels. While konjac doesn’t directly mimic the function of GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic, which stimulates insulin production, it does provide a natural way to control blood sugar levels through dietary means.



Get to the Root Cause


Whether you choose a pharmaceutical approach, supplements or food, it's important to understand the root cause of weight gain and blood sugar dysfunction.


Consider the following drivers:


  • Focus on a Whole Foods Diet: Avoid processed foods and focus on nutrient-dense options that include ample protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These help stabilize blood sugar levels and manage weight.

  • Physical Activity: Incorporate a mix of Zone 2 and strength training exercises into your routine. Regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity and helps in weight management.

  • Prioritize Sleep: Target enough sleep for your specific needs. Poor sleep can affect hormone balance, leading to increased appetite and weight gain.

  • Manage Stress: Chronic stress can lead to hormonal imbalances affecting both blood sugar and weight. Practices that rejuvenate you are very effective in calming stress hormones.

  • A Healthy Gut Matters: Research continues to show an important relationship between the gut and metabolic health. To support it, include probiotic and prebiotic foods in your diet such as fermented foods, garlic, and onions.



Consider Your Options


Prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and obesity are serious conditions that require action in order to avoid more debilitating diseases and complications such as heart disease, hypertension, and stroke. For many people, it can be a challenging processing that spans years and numerous approaches.


It can be tempting to jump at a pharmaceutical option to solve the problem, and it may be the right path for many people. But even for those who choose a GLP-1 agonist like Ozempic, doctors still urge a dual approach that includes lifestyle and nutrition changes.


Talk to your doctor about ALL your options, and consider the above alternatives as a first step. You may save yourself time and money as well as prevent unpleasant side effects.



 

Did you know that a steam sauna can improve blood sugar?


Yes, that’s right! And there are many other easy ways to improve blood sugar. Addressing prediabetes doesn’t have to be hard. Ready to improve your blood sugar without changing your diet? Sign up for my FREE mini course, 10 Ways to Improve Blood Sugar Without Changing Your Diet. It’s a free email course, and it’s a fast and easy way to learn 10 impactful tips to begin balancing your blood sugar TODAY! Learn more 

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