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 increases insulin and decreases glucagon levels, which will result in decreased blood glucose [12].

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 [3].

GLP-1 receptor activators injected to different animals with diabetes improves the function of insulin-producing beta cells and is capable of regenerating these pancreatic cells [4, 5].

Fat muscle cells also increase glucose uptake when GLP-1 is increased [6].

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 [7].

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) [9].

2) GLP-1 Decreases Appetite

GLP-1 influences nervous system to decrease the appetite.

A study on fasted rats has shown that GLP-1 produces a feeling of satiety, so GLP-1 in hypothalamus reduces the food intake [10].

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 [11].

I’ve mentioned GLP-1 in the hormones that cause weight loss.

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 [12].

Administration of a GLP-1 activator in patients with Parkinson’s disease showed improvement compared to control patients. Side effects were weight loss and nausea [13].

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 [14].

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 [15].

GLP-1 activates orexin, which increases wakefulness.

Other Effects of GLP-1

GLP-1 causes:

  • Heart protection [6]
  • Vasodilation [6]
  • Excretion of sodium [6]

Negatives of GLP-1 Activation

Side effects of GLP-1 activators are weight loss and nausea [13].

GLP-1 can increase the stress response [16].

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 [17].

In animal models, GLP-1 has anxiety-inducing effects [15].

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.

  1. Resistant starch/prebiotics [18, 19] – Hi-maize Resistant Starch
  2. Butyrate [20]
  3. Modified Citrus Pectin
  4. Arabinogalactan
  5. Bile/TGR5 Agonists [21] – also Oleanolic acid/olive leaf, Betulinic acid/chaga.
  6. Olive oil/Oleic acid/MUFAs [22, 23]
  7. Cinnamon [24]
  8. Raw honey – Contains Fructose/Fructans [25, 26]+Glucose [27] – instead of other carbs
  9. Palatinose [28] – instead of other carbs
  10. Berry and Citrus
  11. Chlorogenic acid – very potent [29]
  12. Olive leaf extract [29]
  13. Grape Seed Extract [30]
  14. Berberine [31]
  15. Resveratrol [32]

Other natural GLP-1 increasers:

GLP-1 Activators (Drugs):

  • Exenatide (Byetta) [38]
  • Liraglutide (Victoza) [39]

DPP-4 Inhibitors (Drugs):

Another way to increase the effectiveness of GLP-1 is by reducing the function of DPP-4.

  • Sitagliptin (Januvia) [40]
  • Saxagliptin (Onglyza) [41]
  • Linagliptin (Tradjenta) [42]

Drugs may cause asymptomatic pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer [43].

Click here to subscribe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(16 votes, average: 3.69 out of 5)

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.