Coping with GLP-1 Side Effects: Staying Healthy While Taking Diabetes & Weight Loss Medications

Must Try

Random Image Popup

You can hardly look at a TV, computer or smartphone screen these days without spotting an ad for injectable weight loss drugs with brand names like Mounjaro, Ozempic and Wegovy.

These prescription injectables, known as GLP-1 receptor agonist drugs, lead to a loss of body weight that generally ranges from 12% to 21%, depending on the product. Wegovy is strictly a weight loss drug, while Mounjaro and Ozempic are geared primarily toward diabetes treatment but also are prescribed for weight loss. As a drug targeted only at weight loss, Mounjaro is marketed as Zepbound.

Wegovy and similar injectables, normally taken once a week, help people lose weight by curbing hunger and slowing the emptying of the stomach (which means the feeling of fullness lasts longer). GLP-1, or glucagon-like peptide 1, is a gut hormone. Injectable weight loss drugs mimic the positive effects of GLP-1.

Woman on Couch Drinking Glass of Water to Help Cope With GLP-1 Side Effects

How effective are GLP-1 drugs?

Experts emphasize that people shouldn’t overuse GLP-1 drugs to achieve weight loss or view them as a “universal cure-all for obesity,” according to University of Chicago Medicine. However, doctors and researchers agree that these drugs can be “highly effective” for weight management, the organization says.

But in an online article, Chan-Su Yuan, the Cyrus Tang Professor of Anesthesia and Critical Care at the University of Chicago, cautions that the long-term side effects of GLP-1 drugs haven’t been closely studied yet.

“If large swathes of the general public start taking them off-label for weight loss and then we find out years later that there are bad side effects,” Yuan says, “it could be a real issue.”

Another drawback: These drugs are pricey, and many health insurers don’t cover the cost.

“While insurers receive rebates to offset some of their costs, the list prices of GLP-1 drugs are about $1,000 per month, and growing demand for these medications could put upward pressure on premiums,” says KFF, a nonprofit health policy research, polling and news organization.

What are the side effects of injectable weight loss drugs?

While the popularity of these injectables is rising — 12% of American adults say they’ve tried them, according to a 2024 poll by KFF — and many patients report success in shedding pounds, these drugs do cause side effects.

Mayo Clinic research presented in 2023 at the European Congress on Obesity showed that half of the 305 patients studied experienced side effects from taking semaglutide (branded as Wegovy). The most common side effects were nausea and diarrhea.

Other potential side effects of GLP-1 drugs include:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Upset stomach
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased metabolism
  • Lower muscle mass
  • Reduced bone density
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies

Among the less common side effects are:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Gallstone attacks
  • Bile duct blockage
  • Bowel obstruction

Harvard Health Publishing points out that most side effects of GLP-1 drugs aren’t serious. But you should seek medical attention right away if your side effects are severe.

What can help with GLP-1’s effectiveness and side effects?

An article published in 2021 by Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology suggested that when it comes to naturally supporting GLP-1 levels, berberine, cinnamon, curcumin, gardenia, resveratrol, soybeans, tea and wheat might be considered. However, these recommendations were made in the context of diabetes, not weight loss.

As for approaches to counteracting the side effects of GLP-1 drugs, it’s best to chat with a dietitian or health care provider before making any nutritional changes. But non-prescription products that might ease side temporary effects include:

  • Dietary supplements for vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Ginger, chamomile tea or apple cider vinegar for upset stomach
  • Probiotics for digestive support
  • Psyllium for digestive support
  • Ginseng for energy
  • Calcium supplements for bone density

Furthermore, you may want to add protein powder or shakes to your diet if you’re taking a GLP-1 drug and not consuming enough protein. A high-protein diet is essential to successfully following a GLP-1 regimen. Why? Because a lack of protein can cause issues such as nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss and a weakened immune system.

As a rule of thumb, someone using a GLP-1 drug should consume at least 1 gram of protein each day for every 2.2 pounds of body weight, according to Soylent, a maker of protein shakes. So, for somebody weighing 220 pounds, that would work out to 100 grams of protein per day.

It should come as no surprise that some companies are even marketing dietary supplements aimed at combating side effects caused by GLP-1 drugs. Targeted side effects include nausea, loss of muscle mass and fluctuating blood sugar levels.

But it remains to be seen whether these new supplements are effective, particularly given that the FDA doesn’t evaluate dietary supplements. Therefore, anyone considering supplements that are touted as remedies for GLP-1 side effects should consult a health care provider or dietitian before taking them.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Featured Products

Probiogen Weight Support Spore Probiotic

Codeage GLP-Harmony Companion+ GLP-1 Agonist Support

Sunwarrior Illumni8 Lean Meal Superfood Shake

The post Coping with GLP-1 Side Effects: Staying Healthy While Taking Diabetes & Weight Loss Medications first appeared on The Upside by


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Recipes

More Recipes Like This