Semaglutide, GLP-1, short for glucagon-like peptide-1 is short, naturally occurring peptide hormone just 30-31 amino acids in length. It’s primary physiologic function is to lower blood sugar levels by naturally enhancing insulin secretion. It also plays roles in protection beta cell insulin stores by promoting insulin gene transcription and has been linked with neurotrophic effects in the brain and central nervous system. In the GI System, GLP-1 has been shown to significantly decrease appetite by delaying gastric emptying and reducing intestinal motility. Preliminary research has show impacts of GLP-1 in the heart, fat, muscles, bones, liver, lungs, and kidneys as well.
The primary focus of GLP-1 research has been in the realm of diabetes treatment/prevention as well as appetite suppression. Secondary research focuses on the potential cardiovascular benefits of the peptide. More recent, and thus less robust, research focuses on the ability of GLP-1 to stave off neurodegenerative disease. Though this latter area of research is newest, it is also the fast-growing are of GLP-1 study now that the peptide have been revealed to slow or prevent the accumulation of amyloid beta plaques in the setting of Alzheimer’s disease