Peptides for Weight Loss: A Functional Medicine Guide

Peptides are a hot topic for weight loss, hailed by some as a promising tool in the fight against obesity. But what are peptides, and how do they really help with losing weight? This comprehensive guide unpacks the latest information on peptides designed to help you understand their role in weight management.

Whether you're considering adding peptides to your weight loss journey or merely looking to expand your knowledge, this post will provide you with everything you need to know.

Learn more about weight management at CentreSpringMD.

Understanding Peptides: The Building Blocks of Life

Peptides are short chains of amino acids, which are the fundamental building blocks of proteins. While proteins are larger and more complex, peptides are smaller and often easier for the body to absorb. 

In terms of promoting weight loss, peptides work their magic in various ways due to their role in cellular function. Some peptides have calorie-burning effects, while others boost the production of growth hormone, stimulating lean muscle.

How Peptides Work to Help You Lose Weight

Within the context of weight loss, certain peptides have been identified to influence key mechanisms in the body involved in metabolism & energy balance, such as (1):

  • Regulating appetite
  • Enhancing the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates
  • Preserving lean body mass

By targeting specific receptors and signaling pathways, weight loss peptides can initiate a cascade of biological events that promote a more effective approach to body fat reduction than traditional methods alone.

Related: The 10 Best Natural Weight Loss Supplements

Common Peptides for Weight Loss

There are numerous peptides under the spotlight for their potential to help patients lose weight. Each one has unique properties and most have additional benefits besides weight loss. 

Here are some of the most popular peptides for weight loss.


Also known as Ozempic or Wegovy, semaglutide was initially approved to treat type II diabetes. It has been studied and recently received FDA approval for treatment of type II diabetes and obesity.

Semaglutide works by mimicking the effects of the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1, which helps regulate appetite and food intake.

This weight loss drug is well tolerated by most people, and generally most effective in the first year of use. 

Read: Ozempic Alternatives to Lose Weight & Reverse Insulin Resistance


Tirzepatide is the first of its kind to act as a dual-acting glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. This peptide is especially effective for reducing HbA1c and body weight in patients with type 2 diabetes (2). Tirzepatide also appears to be more effective than semaglutide in lowering Hba1c and fasting blood glucose.

Patients using tirzepatide can experience an average body weight reduction of 20% or more (3).

Related: What’s Stopping You from Losing Weight

AOD 9604

AOD stands for anti-obesity drug and was originally developed to be used to burn fat and treat obesity.

AOD-9604 does not increase growth hormone levels, but instead mimics the way natural growth hormone regulates fat metabolism. AOD-9604 injection therapy is ideal for individuals whose main goal is fat loss, as it doesn’t increase hunger or raise cortisol levels (4). 


Tesamorelin can help reduce visceral fat tissue, leading to reduced belly size and waist circumference (5).

This peptide results in the pituitary gland releasing growth hormone at a rate similar to what's naturally occurring in the body.Then, it boosts metabolism and improves muscle growth, which helps to burn more calories and decrease body fat.

Tesamorelin can also help to increase insulin growth factor (IGF-1), which can help to lower glucose levels in the blood and further stimulate weight loss.

Read: 4 Big Benefits of Insulin Sensitivity & How to Improve Yours


As a mitochondrial-derived peptide, MOTS-c has been shown to improve glucose metabolism and has benefits for diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and aging.

Because it supports mitochondria health, which are the energy powerhouses inside each cell. Notably, MOTS-C is an exercise-mimetic peptide, meaning it mimics the metabolic effects of exercise (6).

It may be used to treat aging, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, and inflammation. It can improve diabetes and obesity while also enhancing performance and longevity. 


While not a peptide, tesofensine is useful for its ability to reduce appetite, making it a notable contender in this category. It acts as a serotonin–noradrenaline–dopamine reuptake inhibitor (SNDRI).

In one study involving 203 participants, 24-weeks' treatment with tesofensine resulted in a dose-dependent weight loss of 6.5–12% (7). In high-doses, tesofensine may increase blood pressure.

CJC-1295 Ipamorelin

CJC 1295 Ipamorelin is a combination of 2 peptides that work together to stimulate the production of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).

As a result, it can boost metabolism, improve lean muscle mass, decrease body fat, and aid in weight loss. It may also have benefits for improving sleep quality and cognitive function (8).

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Benefits of Peptides for Weight Loss

When used as a part of a comprehensive weight management plan, peptides can offer several potential benefits.

Increased Metabolism

Certain peptides can elevate the metabolic rate, leading to more calories burned at rest, which is essential for sustainable weight loss.

Appetite Suppression

By modulating key hunger hormones and satiety signals, some peptides can effectively reduce cravings and help in controlling appetite.

Fat Burning

Peptides that target fat cells can increase the breakdown of stored fat, leading to weight loss and a lower body fat percentage.

Muscle Preservation

Losing weight not only involves losing fat but also preserving muscle mass. Peptides may offer a protective effect on lean tissue when on a calorie-restricted diet, promoting a more favorable body composition change.

Read: Berberine for Weight Loss, Fertility, & Gut Health

Potential Side Effects

As with any bioactive compounds, peptides come with potential side effects. It’s essential to be aware of these before considering peptide use for weight loss.

Nausea and Gastrointestinal Issues

Peptides that act on the gut, such as GLP-1 analogs, can sometimes lead to nausea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal disturbances (9).


Peptides that lower blood sugar levels can increase the risk of hypoglycemia, especially in the context of diabetic management or alongside other glucose-lowering medications.

Insulin Resistance

Certain peptides may have implications for insulin sensitivity and resistance, which is a critical factor to consider in terms of weight gain after stopping a weight loss drug.

Allergic Reactions

While uncommon, allergic reactions are a potential risk with any peptide treatment, and they can range from mild to severe.

Choosing the Right Peptide for Your Weight Loss Journey

Deciding on which peptide to use for weight loss is a complex decision that should involve thorough consideration and possibly medical consultation.

Factors to Consider

Think about your unique health profile, weight loss goals, and any underlying medical conditions. It’s also important to weigh potential benefits against possible side effects and ensure that a chosen peptide is suited to your individual needs.

Do I Need a Prescription?

Yes, you will need a prescription for these peptides. They’re administered by injection or orally either daily or weekly.

A healthcare provider well-versed in integrative and holistic medicine can help guide you through the process of choosing the right peptide to help you lose weight, monitor your progress, and address any concerns or side effects.

Integrative and Holistic Medicine Approach

Peptides are only one piece of the weight loss puzzle when it comes to an integrative and holistic approach to health. This method involves considering the person as a whole and addressing all aspects of life that contribute to overall well-being.

Combining Peptides with Diet and Exercise

When paired with a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, stress management, and other supportive lifestyle choices, peptides can enhance the effectiveness of a holistic weight loss plan.

Read: Blood Sugar Testing: Rethinking the Norms with Functional Medicine 

The Peptide Paradox

While the allure of peptide therapy to help patients lose weight is undeniable, a word of caution is necessary. Peptides, like any treatment modality, are not a cure-all . They must be used judiciously, within the framework of a comprehensive health and wellness plan, and under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare professional.

Seeking professional advice before considering peptide use is the smart and responsible way forward for anyone pondering this avenue for weight loss.

In the end, the most sustainable weight loss journey is one that is both informed and personally tailored—whether peptides are involved or not. Remember, your health is your most valuable asset, and it’s worth investing in wisely.


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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.
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