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Over the last couple of years, Ozempic has become hugely popular as a weight loss medication. While designed to treat type 2 diabetes, Ozempic, along with its higher dose cousin Wegovy, is also prescribed to lose weight. The active ingredient in both medications is a GLP-1 receptor agonist called semaglutide.
While semaglutide does an effective job of supporting weight loss, it comes with a nasty side effect: nausea. About 20% of Ozempic and 44% of Wegovy takers will experience nausea. This article presents ten proven strategies to overcome semaglutide nausea.¹
It's likely that semaglutide's slowing effect on food emptying contributes to nausea. Staying well hydrated helps with the emptying of food from the stomach. Drinking plenty of water helps dilute the contents of your stomach. This will reduce the semaglutide concentration in your gut, potentially reducing its impact on the central nervous system.
Aim to drink half a gallon (just under 2 liters) of water daily. Rather than gulping it down, sip your water. This will help to prevent the feeling of fullness that results from semaglutide.
If you are experiencing nausea, you probably won't feel like eating. However, your body needs the nutrients from food. By eating smaller, more frequent meals, you'll be more likely to be able to handle your food when you're struggling with nausea.
Rather than having three large meals, eat 5-6 smaller meals. Spread them about three hours apart. This will stop your stomach from becoming overly full, which may be a cause of nausea. Smaller meals will be easier for your body to process and digest and will ensure a constant supply of energy to your body's cells.
Eating smaller meals also helps to control blood sugar levels. You will be less likely to have large fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Wild swings in blood sugar can cause cravings for sweet foods, leading to carb overload and even more blood glucose instability.
Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is especially important for people with diabetes.
Here's an extra tip: do not lie down immediately after eating. Doing so may upset your stomach acids and cause acid reflux.
When you consciously slow down your eating, you allow your digestive system to process your food more efficiently. This becomes even more important when you take semaglutide, which slows down stomach emptying.
Nausea can be caused by overeating. When you slow down, you allow your body to recognize when you are full. Here are five things you can do to make sure that you're not eating your food too quickly:
Fluctuations in blood sugar can contribute to feelings of nausea. Carbohydrates affect your blood sugar levels more than any other macronutrient. When you control the types and amounts of carbs you're eating, you're able to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Foods that are high on the glycemic index cause spikes in blood sugar levels. They should be avoided in favor of low glycemic foods, which release their carbs into the bloodstream more slowly.
Here are five high-glycemic foods to avoid:
Not only do high glycemic index foods like these spike your insulin levels, but they are also high in empty calories. So, removing them from your diet will help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Instead of sugary, high-calorie carbs, eat foods that are more bland and easier to digest, like rice crackers, whole wheat bread, and bananas.
You should eat bland foods, such as rice crackers, bananas, and whole wheat bread, as they are easier to digest.
We've already discussed the effect that semaglutide's ability to slow down stomach emptying may have on side effects like nausea. When you consume greasy, fatty foods, you'll slow down stomach emptying even further. That's not a good thing.
Greasy, fatty foods are hard work for your stomach to digest. They're also likely to cause gas, belching, and acid reflux. If you're already dealing with semaglutide-induced nausea, consuming greasy foods is like pouring fuel on a fire - don't do it!
You should also avoid spicy foods, which may further upset the digestive system. Eating lying down is another no-no.
Ginger root has been used throughout history as a natural remedy for nausea. Researchers have identified the active ingredient gingerol, which has been shown to have antiemetic effects. That means that it can alleviate nausea and vomiting.²
Ginger may soothe the gastrointestinal tract, helping to relax the muscles. It promotes a more comfortable digestive environment, reducing the severity of any nausea that a person may be experiencing.
Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help offset nausea.
Peppermint has effects similar to ginger on the digestive system. It has been shown to relax the gastrointestinal tract and generally soothe the stomach.³ This may help to prevent stomach spasms, making peppermint potentially effective for Ozempic nausea relief.
While the menthol in peppermint has the main soothing effect, the aroma can also be beneficial. By inhaling the scent of peppermint, you may be able to get rid of that feeling of queasiness that accompanies nausea.
Stress has an effect on your digestive system. The more stressed you are, the less efficiently your gastrointestinal system is going to work. That's why chronically stressed people often experience nausea and diarrhea.
When you are stressed, you'll release more of a hormone called cortisol. This affects the balance of brain neurotransmitters, one of which is serotonin. Semaglutide interacts with serotonin, so fluctuations in its levels affect how your body will react to semaglutide.
Reducing stress will help to offset feelings of nausea. Another factor here is that stressed people are more likely to eat high-glycemic, fatty, and greasy foods. We've already seen how detrimental these foods are in terms of fighting nausea.
Here are five things you can do to help reduce stress:
Regular exercise helps to balance blood sugar levels. It also helps to improve insulin sensitivity so your body can better manage its glucose levels. Both of these factors are in harmony with semaglutide's purpose and may help reduce the effects of Ozempic nausea.
Exercising stimulates your digestive system, helping to make it more efficient. This may help to reduce digestive tract problems. As noted in the last section, exercise also acts as a natural stress reliever. When you work out, feel good endorphins are released that promote a positive feeling. This reduces feelings of stress, which may help reduce your nausea.
Regular exercise may result in a more efficient, faster metabolism. This may result in a more trouble-free response to semaglutide, potentially reducing side effects like nausea.
The importance of getting a good night's sleep every night will help your body perform better in all areas. It will also help offset the main side effects of semaglutide medication, including nausea.
Getting the amount of sleep your body needs helps to regulate the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. This helps reduce stress, which, as we've seen, contributes to gastrointestinal health.
Quality sleep also helps balance out all of your hormones. This includes those responsible for hunger and fullness. When your hormones are ideally balanced, your body will better respond to medications, including weight loss medications like Ozempic and Waygard. This will help relieve nausea.
While researchers don't have a conclusive answer to what semaglutide causes nausea, they do have some theories. The activation of GLP-1 receptors in the central nervous system may be a contributing factor. Semaglutide delays stomach emptying so that you feel fuller for longer.⁴ This can lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea.
Nausea is more severe when a person first takes Ozempic or Wegovy, suggesting that the body needs time to adapt to the effects of the medication. Higher doses are also likely to produce more severe effects.
If, after having tried each of the previous suggestions, your nausea persists, you might consider changing the dosage of your medication. However, this should only be done under the supervision of your healthcare provider.
Your doctor will be able to assess the severity of your nausea and check your overall health to see if there is any other underlying cause for the problem. He may decide to reduce the dosage to see whether the nausea goes away. The dosage can then be gradually increased as the body gets used to it.
It's important that your doctor regularly monitor your progress to make the needed adjustments. Regular blood tests should be taken to keep a check on blood glucose levels.
If the nausea does not go away, your doctor may consider using an alternative to semaglutide or combining semaglutide with another medication so that the dosage can be reduced.
For most people, nausea brought on by semaglutide will subside after two or three weeks. If your nausea persists after trying all of the above suggestions, we recommend seeing your doctor and suggesting that the dosage be adjusted.
There has been no identified specific part of the body to inject Ozempic that will reduce nausea. However, the best injection site appears to be around the belly button, where most people have the most subcutaneous fat. You should inject about two inches below the belly button.
There is no therapeutic benefit to taking Ozempic at night. Medical professionals typically prescribe treatment at the rate of one injection per week. There is no need to time your administration with your meals.
Some people find that taking Ozempic at night helps to deal with any nausea effects as they are sleeping for several hours after administration.
Semaglutide is generally well tolerated among most people. The main side effects relate to the digestive system and include nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. If you are combining semaglutide with other diabetes medication, there may be a risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Because semaglutide is administered by injection, some people may experience some injection site pain. There may also be swelling or redness at the injection site.
Although rare, pancreatitis has been connected to the use of GLP-1 receptors like semaglutide.
Ozempic and Weygard's popularity as weight loss treatments is soaring. A lot of people who are taking those medications are dealing with persistent nausea. If you're one of them, you've now got eleven tips to help overcome the problem.
Start implementing our tips straight away. If, after three weeks, your nausea hasn't gone away, make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss altering the dosage. This may provide more time for your body to adjust to semaglutide, after which you can go back to your previous dosage.
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