The Hidden Risk of GLP-1 Medications: Muscle Loss and How to Combat It


Weight loss is hard. As anyone who’s struggled with weight knows, it’s often a frustrating endeavor, navigating a world that falsely promises quick fixes with fad diets. Despite the well-studied methods of cutting calories and increasing activity, these behaviors often fall short in the real world, creating a need for more tools to manage weight.

We’ve now entered a new era of weight loss: one with a novel class of medications that offers optimistic results for those struggling with obesity. This new class of medications, known as GP1-inhibitors, is rapidly growing to be a leading solution for weight management.

However, these powerful medications come with several side effects and potential risks. One often overlooked risk is the significant loss of muscle or lean body mass (LBD), which can have profound implications for metabolic health and longevity.

Whether you are a patient or healthcare provider trying to navigate the complexity of these new medications, nutrition companion products like Mitopure (Urolithin A) from Timeline offers a unique way to support muscle health.

Read on to learn more about the impact GLPs have on muscle health and how Mitopure can help.

Understanding the Obesity Epidemic

Obesity is a global epidemic affecting millions, with 1 in 8 adults worldwide classified as obese. This chronic condition results from a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, poor dietary habits, sedentary lifestyles, and environmental influences.

We all know that the overabundance of addictive, ultra-processed foods with little to no nutritional value and the sedentary lifestyle we live significantly contribute to the problem. This makes it even more challenging for people to maintain a healthy weight in the modern world.

The risks associated with obesity are severe, ranging from chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease to increased mortality rates. Additionally, obesity can lead to significant psychosocial issues, including stigma, psychological illness, and reduced quality of life.

With such a devastating and widespread issue, it's no surprise that GLP-1 medications are rapidly gaining popularity, with endorsements from doctors and celebrities alike.

Understanding GLP-1 Inhibitors

By now, most of us are familiar with GLP-1 medications like Ozempic (semaglutide), Wegovy (semaglutide), and Monjourno (tirzepatide), commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes and now weight loss.  They’ve shown remarkable efficacy in helping people lose significant amounts of weight in a short amount of time.

They work by enhancing insulin secretion, slowing gastric emptying, and diminishing appetite and cravings. This makes them very effective at promoting weight loss by helping individuals feel full longer and reducing their overall caloric intake.

While these medications can help many people manage their weight, they also come with some significant concerns.  There are several known side effects, including nausea, gastrointestinal distress, and in some cases, an increased risk of pancreatitis. However, a less-discussed concern is the loss of muscle, which is equally as concerning, so let’s dive into that here.

What Happens to Muscles with GLP1’s

Muscle is not just important for mobility and strength; it plays a crucial role in overall health, metabolism, and even lifespan. It’s well established that muscle health is a key predictor of longevity, and muscle preservation should be a strategy we all focus on as we try to optimize our health. While everyone will start to lose some skeletal muscle around age 30, these weight-loss medications can accelerate this at alarming rates.


GLP-1’s are extremely effective for weight loss, however, the weight that is lost does not come exclusively from fat (adipose) tissue. Muscle mass is lost as well. In fact, a study looking at people who used semaglutide showed that lost up to 7 kg or 15 lbs of muscle mass over the course of treatment!

This is especially concerning for people who are already challenged with maintaining muscle health, namely postmenopausal women, older adults, or anyone who has not been focused on muscle health.


Strategies for Preserving Muscle Health

A holistic approach involving nutrition, exercise, and dietary supplements is needed to combat muscle loss while using GLP-1s.


Studies suggest that high-protein diets can minimize muscle loss associated with weight loss. 1.0 - 1.2 grams of protein per kg of body weight is generally recommended, and a good rule of thumb is 20-30 grams of protein per meal. 

High-quality protein like whey protein may be more effective in maintaining muscle protein synthesis during weight loss compared to other protein sources

Strength training:

Strength training exercises are crucial as they help mitigate muscle loss. Research suggests that three sessions a week are best to help preserve lean body mass during weight loss.

Dietary supplements:

Dietary supplements can strategically be used to help support diet and exercise in maintaining muscle health. The postbiotic molecule Urolithin A is especially suited to be a nutritional companion product based on its unique way of targeting muscle tissue. 

What is Mitopure® (Urolithin A)

Mitopure® has emerged as a significant ally for muscle health while using GLP1 medications. Mitopure is the first Urolithin A supplement clinically proven to improve muscle strength and endurance. 

If this is your first time hearing about Mitopure, let’s give a brief overview of what it is and how it works. Mitopure’s patented Urolithin A targets our cells' energy generators—the mitochondria. As we age, our mitochondrial function declines, leaving our cells with less energy to do their job. That’s where Mitopure steps in.

Mitopure triggers a mitochondrial recycling process called mitophagy. By regenerating the powerhouse of our cells, our cells have more energy to do their jobs.

Mitopure for healthier muscles

Mitopure® represents a cutting-edge solution to muscle health backed by 15 years of clinical research. It supports the cellular mechanisms fundamental to energizing our muscles, offering a proactive strategy to counteract the negative effects of GLP-1 inhibitors.

Mitopure is clinically proven to increase cellular energy, resulting in a:

Mitopure® offers a scientifically backed method for maintaining muscle integrity and function, which is crucial for longevity and quality of life.

Timeline is offering our community a special discount to support your muscle health and longevity journey.  Use code “WILLCOLE” at checkout and receive 10% off their products.

Start Your Health Journey Today


The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Our content may include products that have been independently chosen and recommended by Dr. Will Cole and our editors. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.



Evidence-based reviewed article

Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is also the host of the popular The Art of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, Gut Feelings, and The Inflammation Spectrum.

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