To help with weight loss, many individuals turn to various strategies, including fad diets, intense exercise routines, and even supplements. However, one crucial factor often overlooked is the role of hormones in regulating appetite and metabolism. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that plays a significant role in satiety and glucose control. By increasing GLP-1 levels naturally, individuals can potentially enhance weight loss efforts (did you know Ozempic and Wegovy are not the only ways to do this!). Of course at STAT Wellness our goal is to uncover the root cause of your weight loss struggles; as a patient of STAT you will not get a blanket “you need to eat less and exercise more” mentality. So if the information in this article is not helpful, don’t settle until you have answers. We are complex beings and need to be treated that way. However the purpose of this article is to explore natural methods to boost GLP-1 levels and support weight loss efforts.
Consume Fiber-Rich Foods
Dietary fiber has long been recognized as an essential component of a healthy diet, but its role in weight loss is often underestimated. Fiber-rich foods, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes, not only provide satiety but also help increase GLP-1 secretion. When consumed, fiber slows down digestion and promotes the release of GLP-1 from the intestinal cells. Additionally, certain soluble fibers act as prebiotics, nourishing beneficial gut bacteria, which further enhances GLP-1 production. Including a variety of fiber-rich foods in your diet can support weight loss efforts by promoting feelings of fullness and regulating appetite. Looking for ways to get more fiber consider: acacia fiber, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, avocado, raspberries, cruciferous vegetables, lentils, beans, and zen basil seeds (which are also lectin free).
Optimize Protein Intake
Protein is an essential macronutrient known for its ability to enhance satiety and promote muscle growth. Interestingly, protein intake has also been linked to GLP-1 secretion. Consuming protein-rich foods triggers the release of GLP-1 and peptide YY (PYY), another satiety hormone. Including lean sources of protein, such as poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes, in your meals can help naturally increase GLP-1 levels, leading to improved appetite control and weight management.
Incorporate Healthy Fats
The message is becoming more and more understood but remember, not all fats are detrimental to weight loss. Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, can positively influence GLP-1 secretion. A study published in the journal “Diabetes Care” found that a high-fat meal rich in monounsaturated fats increased GLP-1 levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Incorporating moderate amounts of healthy fats into your diet can contribute to increased GLP-1 production, helping to regulate appetite and support weight loss.
Practice Mindful Eating
The manner in which we consume food can impact our hormonal response and, consequently, our weight. Mindful eating involves paying close attention to the sensory experience of eating, including the taste, texture, and aroma of food. Research suggests that mindful eating techniques, such as chewing slowly, savoring each bite, and avoiding distractions, can increase GLP-1 levels. By fostering a mindful eating practice, individuals can enhance the release of GLP-1, leading to better appetite regulation and improved weight management.
Engage in Regular Exercise
Physical activity is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, and it can also influence GLP-1 levels. Studies have shown that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can enhance GLP-1 secretion. Engaging in regular exercise promotes better glucose control and insulin sensitivity, factors that positively affect GLP-1 production. Aim for a combination of cardiovascular workouts and strength training exercises to maximize the benefits of exercise-induced GLP-1 release.
Prioritize Quality Sleep
Adequate sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being, and it turns out that it also affects weight regulation and GLP-1 levels. Sleep deprivation has been associated with hormonal imbalances, including reduced GLP-1 production. When we don’t get enough quality sleep, our body’s hormonal regulation becomes disrupted, leading to increased appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods.
To naturally increase GLP-1 levels and support weight loss, prioritize quality sleep by establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and optimizing your sleep environment. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to allow your body to replenish its hormone levels, including GLP-1.
Manage Stress Levels
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on our overall health, including weight management. When we’re under stress, our body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that can interfere with appetite regulation and promote weight gain. Moreover, cortisol has been found to reduce GLP-1 secretion.
Implement stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or engaging in activities you enjoy. Taking steps to reduce stress levels can help optimize hormonal balance, including GLP-1 production, and support weight loss efforts.
Consume Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, have been associated with numerous health benefits, including weight management. Research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids may increase GLP-1 production and enhance satiety.
Incorporate omega-3-rich foods into your diet or consider a high-quality fish oil supplement to ensure an adequate intake of these beneficial fats. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplementation regimen.
Proper hydration is often overlooked but plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and supporting weight loss efforts. Studies have shown that dehydration can reduce GLP-1 levels and increase feelings of hunger.
Make sure to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with you as a reminder to stay hydrated and aim for at least 8 cups (64 ounces) of water daily. Additionally, include hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables in your diet.
While natural methods like diet and lifestyle modifications are generally recommended for increasing GLP-1 levels, there are some supplements that may have the potential to influence GLP-1 secretion. It’s important to note that the effectiveness and safety of these supplements can vary, and it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before adding any new supplements to your regimen. Here are a few supplements that have been studied for their potential to increase GLP-1:
- Berberine is a compound found in several plants and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for its various health benefits. Studies suggest that berberine may increase GLP-1 levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and support weight loss. However, more research is needed to determine its precise mechanisms and optimal dosage.
- Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support gut health. Some strains of probiotics, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species, have shown potential in increasing GLP-1 levels. These probiotics may help enhance gut function and promote the production of GLP-1. However, the specific strains and dosages that have the most significant impact on GLP-1 secretion are still being investigated.
- Resveratrol is a natural compound found in grapes, red wine, and certain berries. It has been studied for its potential health benefits, including its impact on GLP-1 production. Research suggests that resveratrol may increase GLP-1 secretion and improve glucose metabolism. However, more studies are needed to fully understand its effects and determine appropriate dosages.
- Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in various physiological processes. Some studies suggest that magnesium supplementation may enhance GLP-1 secretion and improve insulin sensitivity. However, more research is required to establish a clear link between magnesium and GLP-1 levels.
**It’s crucial to remember that while these supplements may show promise in increasing GLP-1 levels, they should not be seen as standalone solutions for weight loss. They should be considered as part of an overall approach that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and lifestyle modifications. Additionally, individual responses to supplements can vary, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation regimen.**
In good health,
Kristin Oja, DNP, FNP-C, IFMCP