How do GLP-1, L-cells and PGX help in promoting satiety?

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Michael T. Murray, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
An emerging mechanism further explaining the effects of PolyGlycopleX (PGX) on satiety and blood sugar control involves a hormone secreted in the small intestine and colon known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This important hormone is secreted by L-cells in the small intestine and colon in response to food intake. GLP-1 exerts multiple effects as it has been shown to:
  • Improve blood sugar control
  • Promote satiety, leading to reduction of food intake
  • Regulate the rate of gastric emptying, thereby reducing after-meal glucose levels
A synthetic form of GLP-1 is an approved drug in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but, like insulin, it must be injected twice daily. The drug, called Byetta (exenatide), often produces significant weight loss as it makes most feel full, leading to reduced food intake.

PGX has been shown to raise GLP-1 levels naturally and does not have to be administered by injection. This effect is two-fold. First, the release of GLP-1 is in direct response to PGX. Second, the PGX may increase the number of L-cells that produce GLP-1 in the small intestine and colon.

What appears to make PGX more effective than other fiber sources maybe that it leads to pulses of GLP-1 release into the bloodstream as it passes throughout the entire digestive tract. Since naturally produced GLP-1 is broken down by the body within two minutes after it is formed, repeated pulses of release would be necessary to produce a prolonged effect. The prolonged effect of PGX on satiety would support this mechanism.
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