Scientists say ‘miracle’ weight loss and diabetes drugs could treat several other conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

DRUGS hailed a “miracle” in the fight against obesity and diabetes may have several new “superpowers”, scientists say.

As well as helping people lose weight and keep blood sugar levels under control, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) could also improve the health of millions in other ways, research shows.

Miracle weight loss and diabetes drugs could treat several other conditions

They appear to have potential to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as heart disease, fatty liver disease, and chronic kidney disease.

Patients with sleep apnoea, heart failure and alcohol addiction could also benefit.

Daniel Drucker, a professor in the department of medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada, who studies the “superpower” meds, said: “One of the really interesting things about the GLP-1 drugs is that beyond the control of blood sugar and body weight, they also seem to reduce the complications of chronic metabolic disease.

“We know from clinical studies that GLP-1 does all this amazing stuff in people, but we don’t fully know how it works.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Harshal Deshmukh, a consultant endocrinologist and senior clinical lecturer at the University of Hull, added: “Excessive weight has been identified as a significant risk factor for a range of comorbidities, including fatty liver, various cancers, dementia, and cardiovascular diseases.

“Given these associations, it’s not surprising that numerous clinical trials are currently investigating the potential impact of semaglutide on these health conditions.”

GLP-1 RAs like semaglutide and tirzepatide, sold under brand names such as Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro and Zepbound, were first used to treat type 2 diabetes.

They were found to effectively manage blood glucose levels by increasing levels of incretins – a hormone which helps the body produce more insulin when needed and reduce the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

But researchers soon found they suppress users’ appetites – mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1, which is usually released after eating.

As the medication makes people feel full, they tend to eat less and lose weight (around 10 per cent of their body weight).

Now, scientists have discovered several other potential wide-reaching uses.

Expanding the Benefits of GLP-1 RA Drugs

The recent advancements in the field of obesity and diabetes treatment have brought about a new wave of hope for millions of people worldwide. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) have been hailed as “miracle” drugs due to their ability to help individuals lose weight and control blood sugar levels. However, recent research suggests that these drugs may have several additional “superpowers” that could revolutionize the treatment of various health conditions.

According to scientists, GLP-1 RA drugs show potential in treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, heart disease, fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, sleep apnea, heart failure, and alcohol addiction. These drugs have demonstrated the ability to reduce the complications associated with chronic metabolic diseases, beyond their primary function of controlling blood sugar and body weight.

One of the most intriguing aspects of GLP-1 RA drugs is their impact on conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Researchers have found that these medications can address multiple aspects of the metabolic system affected by these diseases, including inflammation and the production of amyloid protein. By improving glucose utilization and reducing inflammation in the body, including the brain, GLP-1 RA drugs could potentially slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Furthermore, studies have shown an association between GLP-1 RA drugs and a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. People with diabetes, who are around 40% more likely to develop Parkinson’s, have seen their symptoms progress more rapidly. Early trial results suggest that GLP-1 RA drugs could slow the progression of Parkinson’s, offering hope for improved treatment options.

Another exciting area of research is the potential use of GLP-1 RA drugs in treating sleep apnea. This condition, characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, affects millions of people worldwide. Weight loss has been shown to alleviate symptoms, and researchers are now investigating whether GLP-1 RA drugs could have a similar effect. Initial trials with tirzepatide, one of the GLP-1 RA drugs, are currently underway, with the hope of finding a new treatment option for sleep apnea.

While the primary focus of GLP-1 RA drugs has been on diabetes and obesity, their potential to treat a wide range of conditions is becoming increasingly evident. These medications have already shown promise in treating fatty liver disease, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease. Ongoing clinical trials are exploring their impact on conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects fertility, and their potential to regulate hormones and reduce symptoms.

It is important to note that the mechanisms behind the “superpowers” of GLP-1 RA drugs are not yet fully understood. Researchers are still uncovering the precise ways in which these medications work and their impact on various health conditions. However, the potential benefits they offer are undeniable, and further research is underway to explore their full potential.

As we continue to learn more about the capabilities of GLP-1 RA drugs, it is clear that they have the potential to revolutionize the treatment of obesity, diabetes, and a range of other health conditions. The ability to address multiple aspects of metabolic diseases and offer new treatment options for conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and sleep apnea is truly remarkable. With ongoing research and advancements in this field, we can hope for even more breakthroughs in the future.