Glucagon, Goldilocks, and the Three Bears
To understand the role of the medication, Glucagon, one must understand how it figures in the grand scheme of things, and it all starts with eating. In healthy people, eating causes1
the intestines release two chemicals (peptides), GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide)—thank goodness for abbreviations!
the pancreas to release insulin and amylin.
The GLP-1 from the intestines and the amylin from the pancreas work together to:
inhibit stomach emptying, delaying food’s passing on into the intestines where sugar (glucose) is absorbed;
inhibit glucagon release (glucagon raises blood sugar);4
inhibit appetite (the “fed” signal to the brain).
The GLP-1 and the GIP from the intestines stimulate the secretion of insulin from the pancreas (called “the incretin effect”).
Therefore, a short su ...
A funny thing happened on the way to treating diabetes—a welcome side effect became evident: weight loss. The medication, liraglutide, was originally approved in 20101 for assisting in the management of Type 2 diabetes. This was due to something called the incretin effect, which is an increase in insulin when glucose rises—something that is natural in most people but is faulty in diabetics. (Insulin is the body’s way of taking sugar into the system for the creation of energy or energy storage.) The normal incretin effect is caused by the body’s GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide), which is the mechanism by which it helps control blood sugar. Liraglutide, which mimics the actions of GLP-1 (GLP-1 agonist), does the same thing, helping in the control of diabets.
GLP-1’s multitasking abilities
GLP-1, however, also serves as the body’s “fed” signal,2 which comes in handy before tackling the second half of that roast beef su ...