There are so many factors that affect metabolism and one’s ability to lose weight. Over the years I’ve discovered perimenopausal and postmenopausal weight loss is one of the hardest things to treat. For those of you who struggle with your weight, to most empower you, I wanted to review all the factors so you understand why it’s such a challenge to maintain sustained weight loss.
Here is the list I use with my patients when assessing for potential contributing factors – and I emphasize… It’s rarely just one problem. This is usually an issue with multiple underlying causes.
- Blood sugar dysregulation or insulin resistance (pre-diabetes)
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Adrenal dysfunction (too high or too low cortisol)
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Ovarian or testicular dysfunction (low estrogen/testosterone)
- Macronutrient ratio imbalance (protein:carb:fiber:fats)
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Sleep dysregulation
- Environmental exposures/toxicity/poor detoxification function
- Estrogen dominance
- Daily habit imbalance (water/movement/joy/nature)
- Food sensitivities/leaky gut/gut dysbiosis
The key to being successful on your weight loss journey is knowing which of these factors you are struggling with – hence lab testing is imperative. There are specific tests for each of the above dysfunctions.
- Blood sugar labs like – fasting glucose and insulin, HbA1c, GGT
- Thyroid dysfunction labs like – TSH, FreeT3, Free T4, reverse T3
- Adrenal dysfunction labs like – cortisol-am, DHEA-sulfate, pregnenolone
- Mitochondrial function tests like the Organic Acid Urine Metabolite test (OAT test)
- Ovarian or testicular labs like – estradiol, estrone, testosterone, DHEA-sulfate
- Macronutrient assessment – diet trackers or food journals
- Nutrient deficiencies tests
- Sleep study to assess for sleep apnea
- Detoxification efficiency testing like the Organic Acid Urine Metabolite test (OAT test)
- Estrogen dominance
- Daily habit journal
- Food sensitivity blood testing
- Gut dysbiosis stool panels
Once the underlying contributing factors have been identified your efforts can be directed intentionally and you’re much more likely to reach your goal. That being said, having helped hundreds of patients lose weight over the years I have to mention the use of semaglutide now being used for weight loss.
Semaglutide for Weight Loss
Peptides are becoming more popular though they have been used for over a decade for anti-aging, tissue repair, athletic injuries, hair growth and weight loss. One such peptide that has hit the news is Semaglutide. Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist which works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). It is an FDA approved peptide that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake.
Semaglutide helps to control your blood sugar by stimulating your pancreas to release insulin which in turn puts the sugar from your blood and into your cells for energy. Stay tuned for another newsletter later this year about the peptides we are now offering at Living Wellness. If you are interested, speak with your Living Wellness physician for more info.
Semaglutide has some side effects so the dose must start low and slowly increase over the first few months of use. The most common side effects are nausea and acid reflux. However there are some tricks to lessening these, like weaning up slowly or splitting the dose into twice weekly rather than the usual once weekly injection. As your dose increases over time to your target dose – your weight loss usually also increases. Weight loss is significantly more effective when combined with a healthy diet and exercise regimens. Sometimes the medication doesn’t work or the side effects prevent reaching the target dose and hence there is minimal weight loss.
Benefits of the semaglutide peptide:
- Promotes major lipolysis
- Lowers BMI and accelerates fat loss
- Reduces inflammation promotes gut health
- Lowers A1C
- Improves insulin resistance
- Plaque hemorrhage is reduced
- Helps pancreatic insulin release to lower glucose levels in the bloodstream
- Cardiovascular benefits – lower risks of cardio events
- Improve glycemic control
- Help control food cravings / reduce appetite
- Lower BP
Before starting semaglutide you will want baseline labs and to review the risks and benefits of the medication. It is not for everyone. It is a medication and once discontinued there is the potential to gain the weight back. This is where optimal nutrition, diet education and lifestyle habits are key – that is how you KEEP IT OFF.
Some folks were surprised to discover I’m using this medication with my patients. I’m a Naturopathic Doctor – doesn’t that mean I only use herbs and a pendulum to reverse chronic disease? It’s not that easy. There are patients for whom we have optimized their thyroid function, their other hormones, their diet, and their exercise regimens, and still – no drop in weight. For them, it’s much harder to lose the weight, which is why I am trying another approach – using semaglutide with patients who have also adopted healthy dietary and nutritional habits. I trust that if they can make the changes to keep it off, then using semaglutide when indicated is safe and effective. But it’s up to them to maintain the healthy habits we create to then maintain the weight.
Without a doubt, weight loss is multifactorial. There are other causes we didn’t review like eating disorders, auto-immunity, chronic pain disorders, anxiety, and depression. It’s important to be aware of the contributing factors so the plan can be customized for optimized efficacy. Work with your Living Wellness physician to design your weight loss journey!
Studies on Semaglutide
The USDA approved Wegovy for chronic weight management in 2021. The medication has become wildly popular since, with celebrities touting its benefits. Studies support the hype, indicating that Semaglutide is indeed an effective medication for weight loss. In one trial involving adults with diabetes and an average body weight of 231 pounds, participants using Wegovy lost 12.4% more of their initial body weight on average compared to those taking the placebo. In another study, where the average body weight was 220 pounds, participants lost 6.2% more of their body weight on Wegovy compared to the placebo.
Yet another clinical trial backs up this evidence. In a study involving 1,961 participants with Body Mass Index (BMI) values of 30 or more or a BMI of 27 or more with another weight-related condition, the success rates were remarkable. All participants engaged in lifestyle modifications over the 68-week trial period. Of the 1,306 participants who received Semaglutide, 86.4% lost more than 5% of their body weight. Meanwhile, only 31.1% of the 655 participants on the placebo enjoyed the same results.
While a 5% weight loss was the target for this trial, 70% of the patients lost at least 10% of their body weight. The average weight loss for patients on Wegovy was 14.9% compared to just 1.4% for those who used only lifestyle modifications and received the placebo.
Effective and Permanent Weight Loss Is Achievable.
You Can Start Today!
Call 480-588-6856 to schedule a FREE brief meet and greet with a naturopathic doctor.
Learn more about your weight loss options: https://livingwellnessmedicalcenter.com/weight-loss/