6 / MARCH / 2024

In the last 12 months we’ve seen a massive increase in weight loss medications, particularly from a peptide perspective – injectables that help regulate appetite and in many cases insulin sensitivity.

Among these are GLP-1 agonists—Ozempic, Liraglutide, Semaglutide (US names) These drugs are known for their impact on weight reduction, but concerns about their effects on gut health and potential promotion of bacterial overgrowth have raised questions.


A recent study delved into the risks associated with these medications. Researchers tracked 4,800 non-diabetic obese individuals using GLP-1 agonists and compared them to 650 obese individuals taking bupropion-naltrexone. Their one-year observation painted a troubling picture:

–  The GLP-1 group faced a 9.1 times higher risk of pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition affecting the pancreas.

–  The risk of bowel obstruction was 4.2 times higher in the same group.

–  Additionally, the GLP-1 users experienced a 3.7 times higher risk of gastroparesis, a condition causing delayed stomach emptying.

Combining the risks of pancreatitis and bowel obstruction in the GLP-1 group suggested that approximately 125 individuals might potentially develop these conditions within two years of starting treatment.

The study revealed a strong association between these conditions and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), an ailment where bacteria thrive in the small intestine, leading to gastrointestinal issues.

Of concern is the potential rise in SIBO cases among those using GLP-1 agonists. The elevated risks observed for pancreatitis, bowel obstruction, and gastroparesis indicate a higher likelihood of SIBO development, hinting at an alarming trend among individuals seeking weight loss through GLP-1 agonists.

These medications function as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, essentially working by stimulating insulin production to control blood sugar and regulate appetite. While their primary aim is weight loss, the significant side effects and potential influence on gut health raise a considerable concern.


The study’s revelations highlight the necessity for additional research to deepen our understanding of how these medications might alter the gut microbiome and contribute to increased risks of gastrointestinal complications. As more findings emerge, a critical evaluation of the risks associated with specific weight loss treatments becomes imperative.

Weight loss drugs have positively impacted health management for many. However, the study suggests the importance of ensuring that weight loss pursuits do not inadvertently lead to unforeseen health complications. An in-depth understanding of the broader impacts of these medications, including their role in altering the gut microbiome, is crucial to ensuring their safety and efficacy.

As the healthcare landscape evolves, it’s essential to comprehensively evaluate the implications and risks associated with weight loss medications, especially given their potential impact on gut health. The study’s findings underline the significance of further research to understand the nuances and potential health consequences of these weight loss treatments.