Metabolic Hormones 101: GLP-1

Glucagon-like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) is secreted by intestinal cells in response to the presence of nutrients (from eating or drinking). GLP-1 has powerful impacts on our health and weight:
  • Helps keep blood sugars from getting too high
  • Promotes insulin sensitivity/limits insulin resistance
  • Slows the movement of food out of the stomach, increasing feelings of satiety/fullness
  • Inhibits feelings of hunger, decreasing food consumption
  • Decreases the pleasure/reward response to food (so ideally, once you have eaten enough, the food doesn’t taste as good as when you’re body needed the fuel)
As you can see, having appropriate amounts of GLP-1 is important to good health. Research shows that certain groups of people are more likely to have low GLP-1 levels, including individuals who are overweight or obese, and those with type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Here are some things that have been shown to increase GLP-1 levels (1):
  • losing weight through healthy eating and exercise
  • eating meals that are balanced to contain some healthy fat, protein, and fiber from whole foods
  • chewing food thoroughly
  • taking a good quality probiotic daily
There are also medical interventions that can have positive impact on GLP-1 function, including certain medications, and the bariatric surgeries Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy.