Home » Skin Blog » Body Contouring and Weight Loss » Understanding GLP-1: A Key Hormone in Obesity and Diabetes Management

Understanding GLP-1: A Key Hormone in Obesity and Diabetes Management


What is GLP-1 and Its Role in the Body?

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone secreted by the gut in response to food intake. It plays a vital role in regulating blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release and inhibiting glucagon secretion. GLP-1 also slows gastric emptying, promotes satiety, and helps regulate appetite, making it a crucial player in glucose homeostasis and energy balance.

Actions of GLP-1:

– Stimulating Insulin Release: GLP-1 enhances insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells, aiding in blood sugar level reduction.

– Inhibiting Glucagon Secretion: It suppresses glucagon release, preventing excess glucose production by the liver.

– Slowing Gastric Emptying: GLP-1 delays the emptying of food from the stomach, leading to a gradual release of nutrients into the bloodstream.

– Promoting Satiety: It acts on the brain to signal feelings of fullness, helping regulate food intake and body weight.

Peripheral Actions of GLP-1:

The peripheral actions of GLP-1 are significant in its potential for treating obesity and diabetes:

– Insulin Secretion Stimulation: Enhances glucose-dependent insulin secretion, improving glucose control.

– Glucagon Secretion Inhibition: Reduces glucagon levels, contributing to better glycemic control.

– Gastric Emptying Delay: Regulates postprandial glucose levels and promotes satiety, aiding in weight management.

– Appetite Regulation: Signals satiety and reduces food intake, potentially leading to weight loss.

– Metabolic Effects: Promotes energy expenditure, improves lipid metabolism, and may reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Therapeutic Implications of GLP-1:

Targeting GLP-1 in obesity and diabetes treatment offers several therapeutic benefits:

– Improved Glycemic Control: GLP-1 receptor agonists lower blood sugar levels, reducing diabetes complications risk.

– Weight Management: These agents promote weight loss by delaying gastric emptying and reducing food intake. One of the drugs registered in Hong Kong for weight management is Saxenda.

– Cardiovascular Benefits: Some GLP-1 receptor agonists have shown to reduce cardiovascular events in patients with established cardiovascular disease.

– Combination Therapy: GLP-1-based therapies can be combined with other antidiabetic medications for comprehensive diabetes management.

– Long-Acting Formulations: Extended duration of action improves treatment adherence and patient outcomes.

– Future Directions: Research is exploring novel GLP-1-based therapies, including dual agonists and gene therapy approaches.

GLP-1 plays a pivotal role in managing obesity and diabetes through its multifaceted actions on insulin secretion, appetite regulation, and metabolic effects. GLP-1-based therapies offer promising prospects for improving glycemic control, promoting weight loss, and reducing cardiovascular risks in patients with these conditions.