If you are someone who struggles with your weight or with diabetes or even high blood sugars, the GLP-1 hormone may be at the heart of your issues. The body has several amazing ways of controlling appetite and managing blood glucose levels.

GLP-1 is a small peptide that tells your pancreas that you’ve just eaten and need insulin and signals your brain to stop eating.

GLP-1 has multiple actions, including promoting beta-cell growth, protecting beta-cell apoptosis, and reducing glucagon secretion from alpha-cells in the pancreas. In addition, GLP-1 demonstrates several extra-pancreatic actions, such as suppressing gastric emptying and food intake.

GLP-1 is a peptide hormone (a small protein molecule) that is released in the upper part of the intestinal tract when you eat carbohydrates or certain proteins. It is classified as an incretin, which helps regulate blood glucose levels.

The GLP-1 peptide hormone signals the body when food consumption occurs. The GLP-1 receptor (GLP1R), found in pancreatic beta cells, receives the signal triggering the release of insulin. It also targets other cells in the pancreas to stop the glucagon signal for generating glucose in the liver.

Additionally, GLP-1 is created in the brain and acts as a neuropeptide.

The GLP-1 hormone doesn’t stick around long. With a half-life of around 2 minutes, this quick signal is rapidly degraded by the protein DPP-4 (dipeptidyl peptidase 4).

Thus, only about 10-15% of released GLP-1 reaches the pancreas as a signal.

The GLP-1 that does reach the pancreas calls for the release of more insulin when food is being broken down and absorbed. Plus, it stops the production of glucagon, thus decreasing glucose from the liver.

The effects of GLP-1 are completed through its binding to the GLP-1 receptor (GLP1R).

Increasing GLP1 through binding to the GLP-1 receptor has been shown to slowly reduce weight in people who are obese.