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What’s the latest weight loss craze? It’s medication like semaglutide, which you might know as Ozempic or Wegovy. Though originally designed to help diabetics lower their blood sugar levels, it’s gained popularity due to its ability to suppress appetites and trigger hormones that make people feel full. However, using this drug can come with intense side effects.

For those who don’t want to suffer in the pursuit of weight loss, is there a milder or even more natural alternative? In the past, we’ve talked about how kelp dietary supplements work. How does a more natural substance compare to this trending pharmaceutical? Let’s take a look.

The Origins of Semaglutide

This trendsetting obesity medication stems from a strange source: Gila monster venom. But how do you make venom safe? You isolate and replicate the right hormones. One of the key chemicals in that toxic cocktail, exendin-4, also has the unexpected effect of regulating human blood sugar. When researchers recognized the potential, they tested the substance and conceived a synthetic alternative that was safe for human consumption (that’s semaglutide).

First, Ozempic was approved by the Federal Drug Administration to treat type 2 diabetes, but throughout trials, pharmaceutical companies identified a potential secondary use: obesity therapeutics. In June 2021, the FDA approved Wegovy for weight loss management, which caught the public attention, causing both drugs to fly off the shelves. 

And for many, the drugs work as advertised, allowing substantial weight loss with its weekly injection. Yet like all prescriptions, there are bound to be some side effects, and semaglutide’s tend to be of the gastrointestinal variety. In clinical studies, 72.9% of participants experienced adverse GI issues (nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, etc.) at least once per week. Others have reported headaches and fatigue, though far less frequently. Regardless, there’s a chance that the cure to obesity, though not worse than the disease, might be fairly unpleasant.

Finding Milder Alternatives

Those who suffer from the semaglutide’s side effects will have to continue to search for another plan, but the solution may be closer than they realize. What if there was a similarly surprising source of obesity treatments in the natural world without the intense side effects?

Some studies have shown that carotenoids found in some brown seaweeds might be able to help people shed weight, fight insulin resistance, and control cravings. Seaweed like Laminaria digitata, Fucus vesiculosus and Ascophyllum nodosum produce a pigment called fucoxanthin, which gives them their brown or olive-green appearance. Beyond coloration, this natural compound has the effect of increasing the metabolism of humans to help burn excessive fat and prevent the formation of new lipids.

All that said, does kelp help weight loss? A Japanese study of fucoxanthin supplements found demonstrable results in mildly obese subjects. Over the course of a four-week treatment, participants taking a 3mg daily dosage of fucoxanthin were able to reduce body weight, BMI and abdominal fats compared to those taking placebos. Considering that other studies have proven fucoxanthin has no common side effects – and they are easy to extract.


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Though semaglutide might provide marked results, there are clearly natural weight loss alternatives that can provide a gentler experience. Consumers still need to make sure they’re getting the right dosage, but the research shows fucoxanthin supplements are likely here to stay.

Looking for weight loss pills that work? Seaweed might offer an answer. If you’re interested in learning more, reach out to the Acadian SeaPlus™ team.


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