If you are considering a new weight loss drug like semaglutide, you probably want to hear some reviews of what people looked and felt like before and after treatment. This article will cover such reviews but also explain what semaglutide is, why you should use it for belly fat, and the results you can expect after six weeks of treatment.
We will look at a range of data, including results from long studies like clinical trials and personal experiences shared on the internet. There may be some mixed reviews, but it is important to think critically about why some people may have different experiences of a medication when taken for different lengths of time and at different dosages.
Where to Get Semaglutide
Third Avenue Semaglutide – Editor’s Choice
If you want to try semaglutide yourself, the next question is, where do you get it from? One provider we would recommend is Third Avenue. Third Avenue's semaglutide treatment is tailored for your specific needs, and also contains B12 which can help improve weight loss results.
Third Avenue is a telehealth company focusing on weight loss, with several board-certified experts and specialists on the team. In addition to having a range of medications available, Third Avenue also has a unique outlook on managing weight loss for health care.
Third Avenue recognizes that weight gain is not due to a personal failing but rather due to a combination of your biology and environment. Thus, they have a comprehensive, personalized program that takes into account important factors like age, sex, medical history, and personal preference.
This is essential for creating a weight loss program that works for you. They also have ongoing care, so you can check back in with the team any time and ask questions or receive guidance.
The most important takeaway from this article is that semaglutide may or may not be right for you, depending on your weight loss goals. It is most effective over a long period, so if you are specifically looking to lose belly fat in 6 weeks, there may be other medications you can look at.
However, suppose you are looking to improve your overall health and create healthier habits with the aid of medication until you are in the right place mentally, physically, and financially to go off the medication. In that case, semaglutide might be a good fit for you.
To find out, make an appointment with the specialists at Third Avenue today!
What Is Semaglutide?
Semaglutide is a weight loss drug. It was originally designed for the management of type two diabetes and is given to these patients as a second-line medication for when diet and exercise aren’t enough to control their blood glucose level.
However, during the clinical trial process, the researchers also noticed that semaglutide was very effective at causing weight loss in patients who were obese or overweight but did not have type two diabetes. So, it also has an “off-label” use as a weight loss drug in these patients.
Semaglutide is a form of medication called a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist. This means it mimics the naturally produced glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) within the body.
Semaglutide has been created as a chemical mimic because natural GLP-1 doesn’t last very long within the body. So, although GLP-1 is naturally produced and shares all the same functions as semaglutide, its short lifespan within the body means it can’t have the same effect.
Semaglutide has been very slightly modified chemically, so a few key parts of the protein structure are different from native GLP-1. This is so the breakdown machinery in the cells struggles to recognize and attach to semaglutide, which allows it to stick around for much longer.
Semaglutide is available as either an oral tablet or a subcutaneous injection. In this article, we will cover Ozempic, the injectable formula.
How Does Semaglutide Work?
Semaglutide works by mimicking the effect of native GLP-1. This is done by binding to the same receptors that GLP-1 naturally works on and activating them even without the usual stimulus for GLP-1 release. This is where the receptor agonist part of the name comes from.
You can think of a receptor like a lock, and native GLP-1 like the key. When the key enters the lock, the door is open. Semaglutide on the other hand is more like taking the door handle off. The receptor is always activated, so the effect is always happening.
Native GLP-1 helps control blood glucose levels after food has been eaten. Naturally, blood sugar levels spike when food is initially being digested, so GLP-1 directs insulin to be released.
Insulin can tell cells in the skeletal muscle, the fat, and the liver to take up the glucose from the blood and either use it or store it. The liver does this by turning glucose into unusable glycogen.
Normally, when the body has finished digesting and is entering a fasting state, a molecule known as glucagon gets released, this then stimulates the liver to take the glycogen and turn it into usable glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis.
However, in the presence of GLP-1, glucagon is inhibited. This means that when semaglutide is hanging around, this process is not able to occur, and the blood glucose level stays low.
Native GLP-1 also has another effect on the brain. It can activate parts of the brain known as the hindbrain and the hypothalamus. These regions are responsible for many things but also regulate the emotional response to eating food.
Eating highly sugary foods activates pleasure centers of the brain, which, over time, leads to a reward pathway being formed that causes you to crave sugary things. GLP-1 is able to activate the hindbrain and hypothalamus to disrupt this process.
Instead, the brain can be rewired, so instead of craving sugary things, feeling hungry, and having to fight off withdrawal symptoms to control your diet, you can just choose to eat healthier options without experiencing emotional distress.
With these biological processes in place, semaglutide helps to give you options over what you want to eat and how much you want to eat without the input of the reward pathways in your brain.
This helps people make healthier choices, leading to fewer calories. The basic principle of weight loss is that eating fewer calories and exercising more will create a caloric deficit, and you will lose weight.
Semaglutide helps to achieve weight loss by helping to modulate the amount of calories you want to eat, allowing you the freedom to make healthier choices, ultimately eating less and losing weight.
Belly Weight with Ozempic
So now we know how semaglutide works in general, we can explore how Ozempic can deal with belly weight in particular. Now, belly fat can be challenging to lose and is the area people are often most self-conscious of.
This can be due to clothing fashions, like crop tops or swimwear, which can feel very revealing when you aren’t happy with how your belly looks. But belly fat can also be a problem on a biological level for your overall health.
As far as fat goes, belly fat is one of the biggest problems. This is because the abdomen (belly region) is where all the important organs are, and high levels of fat in this region can impair organ processes and cause diseases.
Losing belly weight can, therefore, often be a specific goal of people looking to lose weight, and it can be very disheartening to work out often and not seem to be losing weight in that region specifically.
It is important to know that no matter what you do, you cannot control where fat is removed through exercise or medication. Weight loss is not a directable process that can selectively remove fat from one particular region.
If you need to lose belly weight quickly for your health, a surgical option like liposuction may be your best bet. However, if you just want to change how your belly looks, exercising the abdominal muscles will help those muscles shine through, making it look like you’ve lost belly weight specifically.
Weight loss always occurs across the entire body, but if you want a specific region to look toned or like you work out, you will need to exercise and train those muscles to make them look camera-ready. This has the added benefit of helping to create a caloric deficit, so you can also lose weight simultaneously.
Ozempic is a brand name for semaglutide, so it works in the same way we discussed earlier. This process cannot be directed to belly fat specifically but is more efficient than exercising and dieting alone.
Ozempic Efficiency for Weight Loss
Ozempic is one of the brand names for semaglutide and was approved in 2017 by the FDA for controlling blood glucose levels in type two diabetic patients. There are also benefits for weight loss from this medication.
It is important to note here that there are also other forms of semaglutide under other brand names like Wegovy that have higher dosages of semaglutide specifically in order to lose weight.
We recommend discussing the options with your primary care physician. Some options may be more accessible in your given location or if you have a specific health condition like type two diabetes.
Ozempic is available as a subcutaneous injection with a series of doses ranging from 0.5 mg to 2.0mg. Your doctor will be able to prescribe you a particular dosage schedule to get you all the appropriate benefits with the least amount of side effects. Still, we will walk you through the usual dosage schedule and the dosages with the best effects for weight loss in clinical trial data.
Usually, Ozempic is given in ever-increasing dosages over a series of weeks in order to control blood sugar for diabetic patients. Your physician may alter this dosage schedule if you are looking specifically for weight loss with this medication.
Ozempic is given in 0.25mg doses for the first four weeks to help your body acclimatize to the medication. This is not so much about helping to control blood sugar or losing weight, but rather making sure that you don’t have negative side effects later.
Depending on your goals and needs, your physician may decide to start you on a higher dosage, with the lower 0.25mg option available if you have serious or significant side effects. It is worth noting here that the side effects are usually gastrointestinal distress, like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
After those first four weeks to acclimatize to the medicine, your healthcare provider will increase the dosage to 0.5mg. This helps make the jump to the higher dosages more gradual, but it can also be given as an option for people with low risk of type two diabetes or looking for a small intervention to help control their blood sugar.
Your healthcare provider will then put you on the “normal” or maintenance dose of Ozempic, which is 1.0mg. This is given in a 1.0mg pen; you can continue to use this dosage for as long as you like.
This is the dosage that has been specifically designed to help manage blood glucose levels in type two diabetes and has been shown in clinical trials to be effective for this function.
However, your specific needs may change over time, and if you need to go up or down a dosage, having repeat consultations with your doctor can help ensure the appropriate dosage for you.
If you need a higher dosage for whatever reason, Ozempic also comes in 2.0mg dosages. This has been shown to be safe in clinical trials for Wegovy, the other brand name of semaglutide.
This dosage helps to give additional blood sugar control and will also be more effective for weight loss. However, this is not the usual maintenance dosage of Ozempic, so your doctor may consider switching to another medication or reviewing the dosage regularly if you need consistently higher doses of Ozempic.
Again, the 2.0mg dosage has been shown to be both safe and effective; it's just that newer medications have come out that give even higher dosages as maintenance doses, so your physician may look at those as alternatives if need be.
Clinical Trial Data for Weight Loss
Ozempic was not designed for weight loss, but in clinical trials for other brand names of semaglutide like Wegovy, the usual maintenance dosage of 1.0mg was tested against higher doses for weight loss purposes.
This was done in the clinical trial named STEP 2 as part of a series of trials testing the higher dosage of semaglutide.
This trial setup tested nearly 2000 patients with type 2 diabetes and tested the efficacy of semaglutide in a high dosage (2.4mgs) versus a low dosage (1.0mgs) versus a placebo injection (0.0mgs).
These injections were given once per week, and both researchers and patients were blinded to the results. There were also all sorts of statistical and mathematical safeguards to ensure that the results could be trusted.
The injections followed the same dosage schedule outlined above for the low dose of semaglutide, with the maximum dosage reached by week eight and maintained until week 68.
The higher dosage continued increasing in small steps, with 1.7mgs given from weeks 13-16 and the maximum dosage of 2.4mgs given at week 17 until the end of the trial at week 68. This means that the higher dosage was technically given for less time, but the dosage was always equal to or greater than the low dosage arm of the trial.
The results we are interested in is whether semaglutide in the higher dosage was able to give more benefits for weight loss than the lower dosage. The primary endpoint of this study was looking at this through lost body weight percentage.
This value is considered a mean value, so patients may have had vastly different experiences over the course of the trial. This trial also looked at giving patients a reduced caloric intake and an exercise regime, so results may be affected by how well the patients could adhere to this routine.
Semaglutide at the highest dose was able to give a reduction in body weight of 9.9%. Semaglutide in the lower dose was able to give a reduction in body weight of 7.2%. The placebo dosage gave a body weight reduction of 3.3%.
The results from this trial indicated that the higher dosage of semaglutide was more effective for weight loss than the lower dosage; however, both the higher and lower dosages of semaglutide were more effective than the placebo dosage.
It is worth noting that these clinical trials took place over 68 weeks, not the six weeks we are discussing in this article. In addition, the full dosage for Ozempic is not reached until week 8.
The higher dosage is also more effective, but only just. If you struggle with side effects, it may be worth staying on the lower dosage and considering working on the more traditional weight loss actions like diet and exercise to make up the difference.
This indicates that to get the best results, you should use Ozempic for much longer than six weeks. However, we will also look at some personal anecdotes and some before and after photos of patients who took Ozempic for six weeks to see the differences between adhering to the medication for a short period of time versus a long period.
Personal Experiences with Ozempic (Before and After)
Before jumping into this section, it is worth noting that the reviews are based on real-life experiences people have had with Ozempic. This may mean that they had variations in their lives or adherence to Ozempic that have not been controlled in the same way as the clinical trial data shown above.
However, these experiences can still give you a sense of belonging and motivate you to consult with your doctor about using Ozempic yourself, so we have included them. Just remember that the sites these stories and pictures come from do not have the same peer review process as clinical trials.
Danielle Payton took Ozempic when she was struggling with managing her weight. She shared her story with Marie Claire UK, cited here.
Danielle had struggled with her weight for a long time, heading to college in the US at 145 pounds and leaving at 160. However, by the time she moved overseas, worked on her career, and returned to America two years later, she was 209 pounds. This weight created uncomfortable heaviness, particularly in regards to breast size, which often leads to back pain and other chronic issues.
Danielle decided to try medication for weight loss because of ongoing issues with her menstrual cycle, her weight, and her blood sugar level. She was first prescribed liraglutide, which was the earlier formulation of semaglutide.
She was eventually prescribed Ozempic because she had polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This is a disease that many women struggle with and one that is often underrecognized and underdiagnosed.
PCOS can cause blood sugar spikes, so a doctor prescribed Danielle Ozempic to control those spikes. Danielle decided to try taking Ozempic to control her blood sugar levels, not just her weight.
This helped to reduce the risk of getting chronic conditions like diabetes, as well as having benefits for cardiovascular conditions or renal failure. Weight loss was not the original goal of her treatment.
However, four years later, she had lost over 80 pounds. This was because she had changes in her appetite, resulting in eating different foods and having fewer calories daily. Notably, once she stopped taking Ozempic, the weight did begin to come back on.
She now stresses that it is important to leave these medications for the people who really need them, noting that as the weight loss craze hit, Ozempic became unavailable to her for managing her pre-diabetic condition and PCOS.
She is now back on Ozempic and taking the drug to maintain her health.
For Danielle, it is worth remembering that she had some underlying metabolic conditions that may also have changed how well or how long the effect of weight loss would stick. Below is her after picture!
Another Ozempic user was given Wegovy initially and found both the cost of the medication and access to the medication difficult to maintain. Now, she gets her Ozempic medication from a friend in Brazil.
Nicole took Ozempic and Wegovy for the sole purpose of losing weight, as she had a high BMI and a family history of severe type two diabetes. Despite not being diabetic, Nicole is very nervous about having a high BMI, increasing her risk of diabetes, so she decided to take fate into her own hands.
Nicole mainly noticed benefits in maintaining healthy portion sizes and appetite regulation. She had enough of an appetite to maintain healthy food practices, stressing that she was not starving herself.
She now feels full faster, without having the same hunger or desperation that caused her to gain weight in the first place. She believes that taking Ozempic has made her practice healthier food practices, so she believes that when she comes off Ozempic, she will be able to keep the weight off.
She has also noticed benefits for her mental health, so she wants to stress that the current craze around people taking Ozempic and being shamed for it seems unfair. In her words, “There are things that work for people and things that don’t.”
There are so many reasons why someone would be unable to regulate their own weight without medication, including biological, socioeconomic, or psychological complications. We don’t yet understand obesity fully, so shaming someone for using a weight loss drug is completely unacceptable.
The before and after pictures are below:
Remi has been open with her experiences of Ozempic being negative. The main difference here is that Remi was focused on taking the medication for a short period, which is very different from both Nicole and Danielle above.
Remi found that when she stopped taking Ozempic, she regained double the weight she had lost. This was because the medication could no longer regulate her food consumption, so she still had binge eating issues.
Remi’s experience is certainly not uncommon, and she focused on ensuring she didn’t get “obsessed” with taking Ozempic long-term. For Remi, the best choice was to go off the medication and try something else.
Remi’s story shows how people can have different reactions to some medications. Ozempic was not right for her. This is why it is important to have good communication with your healthcare provider.
The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. It is not intended to replace consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. You should always consult with your doctor or a licensed healthcare provider before taking any medication or making decisions regarding your health.
Medications discussed herein are prescription medications, and it should only be used under the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. You should not use prescription medications without a valid prescription from a licensed healthcare provider.
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Individual Results May Vary:
Please be aware that individual experiences with medications like these may vary. The effectiveness and safety of Viagra depend on various factors, including an individual's health, medical history, and adherence to prescribed dosages. Consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and recommendations.
Semaglutide is the base molecule found in the trademarked Ozempic, a product owned by Novo Nordisk. Medications sold on affiliate sites include products that are not ozempic, but are compounded in accordance with FDA guidelines. When Ozempic is referenced, it is referring to the genuine ozempic product, and is noted that this trademark belongs to Novo Nordisk.