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Weight Loss Benefits — and Side Effects — of Semaglutide and Ozempic

By |2024-02-28T20:40:54-05:00February 28th, 2024|Categories: Semaglutide|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

In recent years, medical researchers and pharmaceutical companies have made remarkable progress in the area of diabetes management. Specifically, semaglutide (sold under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus, and others) has proven to be effective in helping people with Type 2 diabetes regulate their blood glucose (sugar) levels.

As an added bonus, semaglutide has also proven to be effective in promoting weight loss for many people. Likely you’ve heard or read all about that by now. And you certainly wouldn’t be the first to wonder if semaglutide could work that magic on you.

Here at PROVOKE Health, we too have observed some amazing results in our functional medicine and integrative health clinic, with people who have struggled for years to lose weight suddenly shedding pounds, feeling great, and looking better than they had in years.

However, recent reports of adverse side effects have begun to emerge — side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, fatigue, malnutrition, and “Ozempic face” (the rapid loss of facial fat, which can make the face look gaunt or droopy).

Scale and semaglutide


In this blog post, we review some of the arguments for and against semaglutide. But first, let’s take a look at what this medication is, how it works (its mechanism of action), and some of its common adverse side effects.

What Is Semaglutide?

Semaglutide is the generic name for a group of antidiabetic medications classified as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists. Some GLP-1R agonists, including Ozempic, can also be very effective in promoting weight loss and treating obesity. (For more about this, read our previous blog post, “Ozempic for Weight Loss: Too Good to Be True or an Effective Treatment,” here on the PROVOKE Health blog.)

Most of the medications in this class are injectable, meaning you inject a liquid form of the medication using a needle and syringe. Injections are delivered to the fatty tissues beneath the skin in certain areas of the body, including the belly, outer thighs, and upper buttocks.

Semaglutide has earned a great deal of positive press for its promising benefits, especially in respect to weight loss. However, like any medication, this class of medications carries potentially negative side effects. Prior to taking semaglutide or any of its brand-name equivalents, it is important to weigh the potential benefits against the possible adverse side effects before adding these medications to your diabetes management or weight loss plan.

How Semaglutide Works

Two thirds of people in the United States suffer, to some degree, from insulin resistance. That means their cells don’t respond properly to insulin — a hormone the body produces to stimulate the metabolism of sugar. Over time, the insulin receptors on cells become less and less responsive to insulin, especially when subjected to a high-sugar diet. So, even if your body produces a normal amount of insulin, it may not be enough to metabolize the amount of sugar in your diet. As a result, instead of burning off the sugar and using it as energy, the sugar is converted to fat and stored in the body.

Semaglutide launches a three-pronged attack to improve and restore healthy sugar metabolism, burn fat, and curb diet:

  • First, it stimulates insulin production to help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Next, it inhibits the release of glucagon, slowing the release of sugar into the blood, which makes the body burn more fat.
  • Finally it reduces appetite by slowing the movement of food through the digestive system, so that you feel full longer.

Possible Negative Side Effects of Semaglutide

Conventional wisdom tells us any drug that’s effective in treating a health condition has the potential for causing negative side effects, and this is true for GLP-1R agonists like semaglutide, as well. Possible adverse side effects include the following: Continue reading…

We’re Now Offering IV Nutrient Therapy in Tampa, Florida

PROVOKE Health (formally Functional Healthcare Group, and still Dr. Matt Lewis’ healthcare practice)  is now offering medically supervised IV nutrient therapy for its patients and select walk-ins in Tampa / South Central Florida. But what does that mean exactly? Let’s unpack that statement to find out.

Functional medicine is a patient-centered healthcare model that seeks to identify and treat the root cause(s) of chronic illness all the way down to the cellular level. Medically supervised IV nutrient therapy delivers vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients directly through the bloodstream to cells throughout the body to optimize their health and function.

Graphic for Tampa IV Therapy

Delivering nutrients via IV drip allows them to travel directly to the cells so  that nothing is lost in the digestive process. As a result, your body gets more nutrients faster.

By improving and then leveraging your body’s natural ability to fend off illness and repair health, we’re able to successfully treat a variety of health conditions that other doctors’ offices choose to ignore, don’t test for, or don’t know how to treat. IV nutrient therapy, when incorporated into a handcrafted plan of care, plays a key role in restoring health by providing the body the essential micronutrients it requires for optimal function.

When you’re grappling with acute or chronic illness, the efficiency of a nutrient-packed IV may turbocharge the healing process. By directly targeting the affected cells with a concentrated blend that addresses your specific needs, we jumpstart the healing process, enabling your body to respond promptly to treatment. Each IV is carefully formulated to address your health history, symptoms, and desired health and fitness objectives.

Our IV Nutrient Therapies

Currently, we are offering the following IV nutrient therapies: Continue reading…

Feeling Your Best During Perimenopause and Beyond

By |2024-02-01T16:40:26-05:00December 20th, 2023|Categories: Hormones|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Despite popular narratives, perimenopause isn’t just about hot flashes, night sweats, sex hormones, ovulation, and the natural transition to menopause. It extends beyond hormones to impact muscle mass, bone density, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, mood, skin health, sex, and more.

Perimenopause of course is a natural phase before menopause when a woman’s body starts shifting, causing irregular periods, mood swings, and other changes due to fluctuating hormone levels, marking the transition to the end of reproductive years. It’s like a rollercoaster ride for the body, with ups and downs, as it prepares for the next stage of life.

Hormone Imbalance Symptoms Graphic

In this post, I call attention to how low estrogen caused by perimenopause can negatively impact your health, and what you can do to slow and even reverse the progression of health conditions related to declining estrogen.

Addressing Muscle Loss

Muscle loss for women typically begins in one’s 30s or 40s and becomes more pronounced with aging. It’s a gradual process, and its progression can vary among individuals in response to numerous factors, including the person’s health history, genetics, exercise regimen, diet, and stress. A decline in estrogen levels during menopause (usually occurring in the late 40s or 50s) can contribute to the acceleration of muscle loss in women.

One important aspect of healthy aging is to avoid the loss of muscle mass or, even better, build muscle mass as you age. This is entirely possible to accomplish with the right combination of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), exercise, proper diet, and medication to stimulate growth hormone.

It’s no secret that as we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, but muscle is more than what meets the eye. It has a range of impacts on the body, including functional strength and independence, metabolic and hormonal health, bone health and prevention of chronic disease. Here are a few ways that muscle health impacts overall health: Continue reading…