Blog/How Do You Increase Your GLP-1 Naturally?
Jennie Stanford, MD | 6/13/2024 | 4 min read

How Do You Increase Your GLP-1 Naturally?

How natural approaches can benefit GLP1 levels.

woman buying tomatoes at a farmers market

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a neuroendocrine hormone that functions in appetite regulation, weight loss, insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. Some medications, called GLP-1 receptor agonists, act to increase the level of GLP-1 and enhance its activity. One popular question is, “Can you increase GLP-1 levels naturally?” There are, in fact, many effective ways to do this, and we will explore methods like dietary changes, supplements and lifestyle habits.

What is GLP-1?

GLP-1 is a neuroendocrine hormone that is made in the intestines in response to food intake. It helps lower blood glucose by directing it to organs and tissues to be used for energy. GLP-1 also slows gastric emptying, promotes fullness, decreases appetite and leads to a reduced calorie intake overall.

The benefits of GLP-1

Appetite regulation

GLP-1 helps reduce appetite by signaling the brain to lessen hunger and increase fullness. This promotes an overall lower intake of calories and makes it easier to stick with a healthy diet.

Weight loss

By lowering appetite, increasing fullness and leading to overall lower calorie intake, GLP-1 helps in weight loss and healthy weight maintenance. GLP-1 also promotes smaller meals, making it less likely you will overeat.

Insulin sensitivity

One of the main roles of GLP-1 is to promote insulin release from the pancreas in response to meals. In addition to promoting insulin release, GLP-1 also improves insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is a significant factor in weight gain, prediabetes, diabetes and obesity, so by improving insulin sensitivity, adequate GLP-1 is able to improve each of those conditions. Improved insulin sensitivity plays a huge role in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes.

Blood glucose control

By increasing insulin release from the pancreas and improving insulin sensitivity, GLP-1 helps maintain optimal blood sugar levels. This is why some of the newer diabetes treatments, like semaglutide, focus on increasing levels of GLP-1. Higher levels of GLP-1 help lower blood glucose and decrease the need for some patients to take insulin.

How to increase GLP-1 naturally

Food changes

Many dietary modifications are effective strategies to increase GLP-1 levels:

  • Dietary fiber is a prebiotic. Foods high in fiber act as food for the microbiota (good bacteria) living in the gut. As these microorganisms break down fiber, it releases short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which stimulate the production of GLP-1

  • Similarly, fermented foods contain probiotics, which are living microorganisms that become part of the gut microbiota. As these microorganisms break down food, SCFAs are released as a byproduct, which increases levels of GLP-1.

  • Healthy, polyunsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish and olive oil, have been shown to increase GLP-1 levels. Polyunsaturated fats have a number of other benefits, including lowering inflammation and helping to promote fullness, which aids in weight loss and maintenance and reduces the risk of insulin resistance in other ways.

  • Eating high-protein foods can increase GLP-1 secretion and promote fullness after eating. Prioritize lean proteins like chicken or turkey breast, fish, seafood, beans and tofu.  

Dietary pattern changes

Following a Mediterranean diet has been shown to increase levels of GLP-1 and oxyntomodulin. Both of these neuroendocrine hormones help reduce appetite and promote weight loss, making the Mediterranean diet a good choice to help increase GLP-1 levels naturally. Because some healthy fats are high in calories, in order for the Mediterranean diet to produce substantial weight loss, you should be mindful to control overall calorie intake.

Fasting, whether by intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding, has been shown to regulate insulin release from the pancreas, improve metabolism, and modulate levels of other neuroendocrine hormones that promote weight loss, like GLP-1, oxyntomodulin, peptide YY and others. 


Certain supplements may help boost GLP-1 levels naturally:

  • Berberine is a plant-based compound that alters the bacterial microbiota profile and increases the production of SCFAs, thus leading to GLP1 release from the intestinal cells.

  • Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric, and it has a number of beneficial properties for overall health. It promotes good circulation, lowers inflammation, and increases the release of GLP1. The effects of curcumin also lead to improved blood glucose control and help some patients lower the dosages of their diabetic medications.

  • Evidence suggests that ginseng supplements may increase GLP-1 levels. However, the recommended dosage and degree of potential benefits are not clear.

  • Resveratrol has been shown to decrease blood glucose levels and insulin resistance and to promote higher levels of GLP-1.

  • Similarly, probiotics have also demonstrated efficacy in lowering blood sugar levels, decreasing insulin resistance, and promoting the release of GLP-1 from the intestine.

  • In addition to incorporating omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, some individuals may benefit from an omega-3 fatty acid supplement for many help benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, and they have well-documented cardiovascular benefits. They also improve insulin sensitivity and increase levels of GLP-1.

Always discuss with your healthcare professional prior to adding, changing or stopping medications or supplements.

Lifestyle changes

In addition to dietary modifications and adding supplements, certain lifestyle practices can help boost GLP-1 levels:

  • Regular exercise: Regular physical activity of at least 150 minutes per week has been shown to increase GLP-1 secretion and improve insulin sensitivity. Evidence also illustrates the higher rate of weight loss success from exercise in combination with GLP-1 receptor agonists, as opposed to taking GLP-1 receptor agonists without regular exercise. Effective activities include walking, jogging, cycling and strength training.

  • Sufficient sleep: Poor sleep can lower GLP-1 levels and reduce insulin sensitivity. Evidence suggests that poor sleep negatively impacts insulin sensitivity, even short-term sleep restriction. On the other hand, good quality sleep for 7-9 hours per night helps support optimal metabolism, hormone levels, and overall health and wellbeing.

  • Managing stress: Chronic stress causes disruptions in hormone balance, including GLP1. It also increases appetite and cravings for less healthy foods. Adding in regular stress reduction and relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, spirituality, and hobbies can help manage chronic stress.

Start making a positive impact on your health today

Understanding how to increase GLP-1 naturally can help improve glucose control, metabolism and weight loss. This can also help increase the effectiveness of GLP-1 receptor agonists, like semaglutide. By focusing on dietary changes, adding supplements and implementing lifestyle modifications, you can increase your GLP-1 levels and better achieve your health goals.

However, if natural or lifestyle modifications aren’t giving you the results you want, it could be time to talk to your doctor about medicated treatment. At Agile, our licensed physicians meet with you, at no cost, for an initial virtual consultation to discuss health history, weight loss goals and address any questions. Then, if you decide to move forward, we’ll start your monthly subscription that includes medication, labs and visits. Unlike other companies, we don’t have any added costs, ever.

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