Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) boosts insulin and lowers blood sugar. Discover the benefits, side effects, and how to increase it naturally.
What is GLP-1?
Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) is both a neuropeptide and an incretin.
A neuropeptide is an agent that has an effect on the nervous system. An incretin is a hormone that reduces glucose levels in the blood.
Benefits of GLP-1
1) GLP-1 Benefits Type 2 Diabetic Patients and Balance Blood Glucose
GLP-1 is found to delay the speed of digesting food, or stomach emptying. In this way, GLP-1 reduces the speed of glucose intake, making it easy for the body to maintain blood sugar level right after a meal until the next meal .
Fat muscle cells also increase glucose uptake when GLP-1 is increased .
Patients with type 2 diabetes produce low levels of GLP-1 and increasing GLP-1 levels can be a good way to treat type 2 diabetic patients .
A 6 weeks long administration of GLP-1 to type 2 diabetic patients resulted in weight loss, reduction in appetite, slowed stomach emptying, high sensitivity to insulin, and improved beta cells function with no other major side effects (8).
However, GLP-1 has a very short half-life of about 1.5 minutes and is rapidly suppressed by an enzyme called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) .
2) GLP-1 Decreases Appetite
GLP-1 influences nervous system to decrease the appetite.
In particular, a study using chocolate milk has shown that GLP-1 reduces the excitement of eating food, anticipatory food reward, which may result in a decrease in appetite and motivation toward food .
3) GLP-1 May Help Brain Function
A study on rats has shown that GLP-1R in hippocampus enhanced learning and memory, and also involved in protecting the brain from seizures and neuronal damage .
It has been proposed that the protective property of GLP-1 receptor activator may be used to improve patients with brain damage such as Alzheimer disease .
One immediate advantage of GLP-1 is the ability to reduce glucose levels in the blood.
In animal models, GLP-1 has anti-depressant effects .
Other Effects of GLP-1
Negatives of GLP-1 Activation
GLP-1 can increase the stress response .
A study has shown that GLP-1 and GLP-1R may be responsible for stress responses such as increased blood pressure and increased heart rate. This function of GLP-1 may be connected to maintaining the balance of energy usage .
In animal models, GLP-1 has anxiety-inducing effects .
How to Increase GLP-1
Sugar (both glucose and fructose) increases GLP-1 as a satiety signal.
The following are my preferred GLP-1 increasers:
I get the most benefits from the first 5 from this list.
- Resistant starch/prebiotics [18, 19] – Hi-maize Resistant Starch
- Butyrate 
- Modified Citrus Pectin
- Bile/TGR5 Agonists  – also Oleanolic acid/olive leaf, Betulinic acid/chaga.
- Olive oil/Oleic acid/MUFAs [22, 23]
- Cinnamon 
- Raw honey – Contains Fructose/Fructans [25, 26]+Glucose  – instead of other carbs
- Palatinose  – instead of other carbs
- Berry and Citrus
- Chlorogenic acid – very potent 
- Olive leaf extract 
- Grape Seed Extract 
- Berberine 
- Resveratrol 
Other natural GLP-1 increasers:
- Ginseng 
- Alpha-linolenic acid/Flax/Chia 
- Inulin/FOS 
- Guar Gum 
- Whey 
- Glutamine 
- Bitter melon 
- Quercetin 
- Sucralose/Splenda 
- Pea protein
GLP-1 Activators (Drugs):
DPP-4 Inhibitors (Drugs):
Another way to increase the effectiveness of GLP-1 is by reducing the function of DPP-4.
Drugs may cause asymptomatic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer .