Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1)

Last Updated: December 18, 2023

GLP-1 is a peptide hormone produced in the gut after a meal. It stimulates insulin secretion, helps maintain blood glucose homeostasis, and promotes satiety.

What is GLP-1?

When you eat a meal, your body needs to prepare to put the nutrients you just ingested to use. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a hormone which helps in this process.

GLP-1 is from the family of hormones called incretins, which include GLP-1 as well as another hormone called glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP). These hormones are released by the gut in response to a meal, and help increase insulin secretion after eating, which helps the body regulate blood sugar levels.[1]

In addition, GLP-1 also slows gastric emptying and increases satiety, leading to decreased food intake. This property of GLP-1 has led to the use of a class of drugs that mimic GLP-1 (e.g., semaglutide, whose brand names include Wegovy and Ozempic) for weight loss.[2]

GLP-1 is made by cells in the brain as well as in the gut. Also, GLP-1’s receptor can be found in parts of the brain that are involved with eating behavior and hunger. This partially explains why drugs like semaglutide can help people lose weight.[3]

What supplements affect GLP-1 levels?

A small handful of test tube and animal studies suggest that supplements such as yerba mate tea,[4] Momordica charantia extract,[5] berberine,[6] resveratrol,[7] curcumin,[8][9] and Ginseng[10][11] could boost GLP-1 levels.

However, the few randomized controlled trials that have looked at supplements’ impact on GLP-1 have yielded negative results: Green tea extract,[12] resveratrol,[13] and green-plant membranes[14] all don’t seem to boost GLP-1 levels.

What lifestyle interventions affect GLP-1 levels?

The macronutrient content of a meal affects the amount of GLP-1 that’s released. GLP-1 is released mainly in response to the carbohydrates and fats in a meal. Protein stimulates GLP-1 release to a lesser extent.[15] This should not be interpreted as a license to eat large amounts of fat and carbs in order to boost your GLP-1 levels, though! A more promising way to healthily boost your GLP-1 levels is through exercise. GLP-1 seems to rise immediately after exercise, and baseline levels of GLP-1 in people who exercise remain elevated in the medium term, too.[16] Not only that, but exercise may help decrease GLP-1 resistance in people with type 2 diabetes and may make medications like semaglutide even more effective.[17]

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Update History
2023-12-18 00:30:02

Full page update


We added a number of FAQs to this page, in light of it's increasing relevance to weight-loss drugs.

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  1. ^Campbell JE, Drucker DJPharmacology, physiology, and mechanisms of incretin hormone action.Cell Metab.(2013-Jun-04)
  2. ^Singh G, Krauthamer M, Bjalme-Evans MWegovy (semaglutide): a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management.J Investig Med.(2022-Jan)
  3. ^Drucker DJGLP-1 physiology informs the pharmacotherapy of obesity.Mol Metab.(2022-Mar)
  4. ^Hussein GM, Matsuda H, Nakamura S, Hamao M, Akiyama T, Tamura K, Yoshikawa MMate tea (Ilex paraguariensis) promotes satiety and body weight lowering in mice: involvement of glucagon-like peptide-1.Biol Pharm Bull.(2011)
  5. ^Bhat GA, Khan HA, Alhomida AS, Sharma P, Singh R, Paray BAGLP-I secretion in healthy and diabetic Wistar rats in response to aqueous extract of Momordica charantia.BMC Complement Altern Med.(2018-May-18)
  6. ^Yu Y, Liu L, Wang X, Liu X, Liu X, Xie L, Wang GModulation of glucagon-like peptide-1 release by berberine: in vivo and in vitro studies.Biochem Pharmacol.(2010-Apr-01)
  7. ^Thi-Mai Anh Dao, Aurélie Waget, Pascale Klopp, Matteo Serino, Christelle Vachoux, Laurent Pechere, Daniel J Drucker, Serge Champion, Sylvain Barthélemy, Yves Barra, Rémy Burcelin, Eric SéréeResveratrol increases glucose induced GLP-1 secretion in mice: a mechanism which contributes to the glycemic controlPLoS One.(2011)
  8. ^Kato M, Nishikawa S, Ikehata A, Dochi K, Tani T, Takahashi T, Imaizumi A, Tsuda TCurcumin improves glucose tolerance via stimulation of glucagon-like peptide-1 secretion.Mol Nutr Food Res.(2017-Mar)
  9. ^Takikawa M, Kurimoto Y, Tsuda TCurcumin stimulates glucagon-like peptide-1 secretion in GLUTag cells via Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II activation.Biochem Biophys Res Commun.(2013-May-31)
  10. ^Kim K, Park M, Lee YM, Rhyu MR, Kim HYGinsenoside metabolite compound K stimulates glucagon-like peptide-1 secretion in NCI-H716 cells via bile acid receptor activation.Arch Pharm Res.(2014)
  11. ^Liu C, Hu MY, Zhang M, Li F, Li J, Zhang J, Li Y, Guo HF, Xu P, Liu L, Liu XDAssociation of GLP-1 secretion with anti-hyperlipidemic effect of ginsenosides in high-fat diet fed rats.Metabolism.(2014-Oct)
  12. ^Chia-Yu Liu, Chien-Jung Huang, Lin-Huang Huang, I-Ju Chen, Jung-Peng Chiu, Chung-Hua HsuEffects of green tea extract on insulin resistance and glucagon-like peptide 1 in patients with type 2 diabetes and lipid abnormalities: a randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled trialPLoS One.(2014 Mar 10)
  13. ^Sony S Thazhath, Tongzhi Wu, Michelle J Bound, Helen L Checklin, Scott Standfield, Karen L Jones, Michael Horowitz, Christopher K RaynerAdministration of resveratrol for 5 wk has no effect on glucagon-like peptide 1 secretion, gastric emptying, or glycemic control in type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trialAm J Clin Nutr.(2016 Jan)
  14. ^Caroline Montelius, Daniel Erlandsson, Egzona Vitija, Eva-Lena Stenblom, Emil Egecioglu, Charlotte Erlanson-AlbertssonBody weight loss, reduced urge for palatable food and increased release of GLP-1 through daily supplementation with green-plant membranes for three months in overweight womenAppetite.(2014 Oct)
  15. ^Parker HE, Reimann F, Gribble FMMolecular mechanisms underlying nutrient-stimulated incretin secretion.Expert Rev Mol Med.(2010-Jan-05)
  16. ^Ueda, S-Y, et al.Effects of exercise on glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)J Phys Fitness Sports Med.(2013 Jun 21)
  17. ^Hamasaki HExercise and glucagon-like peptide-1: Does exercise potentiate the effect of treatment?World J Diabetes.(2018-Aug-15)
Examine Database References
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