Can you increase GLP-1 production naturally?

By Kristina Campbell, reviewed by Colleen Cutcliffe, PhD 


Ozempic® is the most famous in a group of medications called GLP-1 agonists. These medicines have taken the health world by storm over the past decade, helping millions of people with type 2 diabetes get their blood sugar and weight under control and helping many others shed pounds. 

These drugs have put one bodily chemical into the spotlight: glucagon-like peptide-1, or GLP-1. 

GLP-1 is naturally produced by your body when you eat. Ozempic® and similar drugs deliver a molecule that tricks the body into sensing GLP-1, triggering its beneficial effects for blood glucose and weight.

Yet if you don’t have type 2 diabetes, it’s also possible to hack your body’s GLP-1 levels just by changing what you eat or adjusting other aspects of your lifestyle. Boosting GLP-1 naturally can make you less hungry and stabilize your blood sugar, with the bonus of giving you better control over your weight.

What is GLP-1?

GLP-1 is a hormone your body produces in both your digestive tract and your brain when you consume food. 

The GLP-1 in your gut is produced by specialized cells at your intestinal lining. But this chemical messenger doesn’t stay confined to the gut. GLP-1 is released into your blood circulation, triggering effects throughout your body and helping you feel full.

Timing is everything with GLP-1 production. The hormone typically rises between 15 and 60 minutes after you eat, and if your body does not produce enough GLP-1, you may continue to eat because your body doesn’t receive the cue that you’re satisfied.

How GLP-1 affects blood sugar and weight management

GLP-1 works through your digestive organs and your brain to reduce food intake and stabilize blood sugar. 

Your body’s metabolism is incredibly complex, but GLP-1 is one of the hormones that plays a starring role in how your metabolism works. 

The GLP-1 produced in your gut is a multi-tasker, simultaneously signaling to three main organs at once:

  • Brain: GLP-1 stimulates nerves in your gut lining to tell your brain that you feel full, so you end up eating less overall.
  • Pancreas: GLP-1 signals to your pancreas to release insulin, which transports blood glucose into your body’s cells to balance your blood sugar levels. At the same time, it tells the pancreas to halt production of glucagon, a blood-sugar-increasing hormone.
  • Stomach: GLP-1 slows the passage of food from your stomach into your intestine, making you feel fuller more quickly when you take the first few bites of your food, and helping your feeling of fullness last longer.

Not only that, but GLP-1 also reduces inflammation in your gut and reduces the storage of fat in body tissues. Through all of these means, an increase in GLP-1 results in more stable blood sugar and better control of your appetite, often accompanied by weight loss.

Supplements that increase GLP-1 naturally

Scientists have found that some supplements such as berberine, ginseng, green tea extract, pomegranates resveratrol and specific microbiome strains can have the effect of increasing GLP-1 naturally. 

GLP-1 boosting probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that give you health benefits when taken in adequate amounts – and some probiotics are a natural way to boost GLP-1 in the gut. 

Because different bacteria have different functions, not all probiotics are equal. There are only 2 strains which have been published to date that have demonstrated the ability to increase GLP-1.  So make sure you look for the specific types of probiotics shown to increase GLP-1, including strains of Akkermansia muciniphila and Clostridium butyricum.

  • Akkermansia muciniphila

Studies have found that Akkermansia muciniphila directly triggers gut GLP-1 secretion

Akkermansia muciniphila secretes a protein called p9, which has been shown to increase GLP-1 secretion.

These bacteria normally live in the protective mucus layer in the intestines of people with good metabolic health, and they can also be taken deliberately as probiotics. 

  • Clostridium butyricum

Studies have shown that Clostridium butyricum directly triggers gut GLP-1 secretion.

This strain is a specialist in making the short-chain fatty acid butyrate, which kick-starts GLP-1 production. 

Scientists have also found that Clostridium butyricum increases the secondary bile acid UDCA, which assists with fat digestion and signals to ramp up GLP-1 production in the gut.

  • Bifidobacterium infantis

B. infantis works alongside Clostridium butyricum and other butyrate producing microbes to increase butyrate, which kick starts GLP-1 production.

When B. infantis break down fiber in the gut, they produce the short-chain fatty acids acetate and lactate, which are then devoured by other gut bacteria to create butyrate – a stimulator of GLP-1. B. infantis is a safe and widely used probiotic.


Berberine, a bitter-tasting chemical found in various plants such as goldenseal and barberry, recently became a popular topic on TikTok after being dubbed “Nature’s Ozempic”. 

In truth, the evidence on the weight loss effects of berberine are mixed, but the compound does seem to improve measures of blood sugar regulation in people with type 2 diabetes. 

Berberine works by preventing damage to the cells that secrete GLP-1 in the gut, and also by increasing the production of short-chain fatty acids that stimulate GLP-1.

Green tea extract

Green tea extract, a concentrated form of green tea, has beneficial effects on metabolism while specifically increasing GLP-1. Given its caffeine content, this supplement also gives you an energy boost.


Extracts from ginseng, a root used in traditional medicine, are shown in dozens of studies (some low-quality, some higher-quality) to improve glucose metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes. 

The way ginseng works is complicated, but as shown by animal studies, it seems to achieve its blood sugar regulating effects partly by increasing GLP-1.


Resveratrol is found in some plant foods such as grapes and berries, and can be taken in concentrated form as a supplement. 

In humans, resveratrol supplementation improves the body’s response to glucose, and animal studies show these effects may be achieved partly by increasing GLP-1 in the gut. 

Foods that increase GLP-1 naturally

You can increase your GLP-1 naturally through the types of foods you eat. Food consumption is the basic trigger for GLP-1 release, yet some foods stimulate it more readily than others. 

Remember, this isn’t a replacement for a GLP-1 agonist medication or a targeted probiotic – but it’s something you can do every day to encourage production of the hormone in your gut.

Consuming fermentable fibers

The most surefire way to increase your GLP-1 production through diet is to eat foods that are high in fermentable fibers. 

These fibers are commonly found in fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains—and rather than being digested by your own body, they reach the colon intact and are broken down by the microorganisms in your colon. 

When the bacteria digest these special types of fibers, they release molecules called short-chain fatty acids, which trigger the release of GLP-1, along with peptide YY (PYY), another hormone that helps you feel full. 

Some examples of foods containing fermentable fiber, leading to an increase in GLP-1 after consumption, are:

  • Sunchokes
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Artichokes
  • Onions
  • Asparagus

Foods high in polyphenols

Polyphenols are chemicals found naturally in a wide range of plant foods, including: 

    • Pomegranates
    • Berries
    • Mangoes
    • Green Tea
    • Coffee
    • Chestnuts
    • Cocoa
    • Kale
    • Spinach

    Polyphenols’ influence on your gut is twofold

    First, they directly target the L-cells of your gut to ramp up GLP-1 production, and second, they support growth of Akkermansia muciniphila which stimulate GLP-1 independently. 

    Here are some examples of foods that specifically increase GLP-1 through the polyphenols they contain:


    Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, a bright yellow spice that’s often used in cooking and has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. 

    Scientists today know that not only does curcumin increase GLP-1, but it also has anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body.


    Cinnamon is another spice high in polyphenols. One study showed that when people added cinnamon to their diets it stimulated GLP-1 and stabilized insulin, even though it didn’t dramatically affect blood sugar.


    The deep red seeds and juice of pomegranates,  and especially the peels, are rich in polyphenols. Consuming these pomegranate parts may increase GLP-1 and improve overall glycemic control.

    Green tea

    Feel free to grab an energizing cup of green tea, because it’s high in a polyphenol called epigallocatechin-gallate (EGCG) – another compound that supports GLP-1 production.


    For generally healthy people, coffee typically doesn’t affect blood sugar. 

    But scientists have tried to figure out whether a cup of java helps increase GLP-1 – and they’ve discovered that polyphenols in coffee called chlorogenic acid may indeed enhance GLP-1 in the gut.

    Yerba mate

    Yerba mate is a South American plant that can be used to make a bitter-tasting, caffeinated tea. This substance is shown to be beneficial for weight management and insulin resistance, while also increasing GLP-1 in the gut.

    Increasing protein intake

    Protein-rich foods tend to satisfy you – and they do this in several ways, including by increasing your GLP-1 levels in a timely manner. 

    So whether you’re an egg enthusiast or whether you’re partial to fish or tofu, ensure you have lean sources of protein in each meal to help manage your appetite. 

    Interestingly, the combination of protein and calcium together can have a potent GLP-boosting effect – so don’t be afraid to add a small piece of cheese or a glass of milk to your meal to help your fullness last for longer.

    Incorporating healthy fats

    Fats are an important component of your diet – so what kind is best for boosting GLP-1?

    Multiple studies show that olive oil, high in monounsaturated fats, increases GLP-1 levels after a meal. These healthy fats are also found in foods such as avocados, peanuts, and almonds.

    Lifestyle factors that increase GLP-1 naturally

    Regular exercise

    You can really boost your GLP-1 levels by getting off the couch and movingbecause in several studies, researchers have found that medium- or high-intensity exercise increased the hormone’s production. 

    The key to receiving these benefits over a longer term is to make the exercise a regular part of your routine.

    Stress management 

    Stress prompts the release of cortisol, which reduces GLP-1 production. When you’re stressed out, the functions of the digestive tract including hormone secretion also tend to slow down because your body spends its resources on overcoming the threatwhether it’s a difficult exam or worrying about a sick family member. It’s best to manage your stress to the extent you can, to keep your body tuned in to its satiety cues and avoid overeating.

    Prioritizing sleep

    By studying night-shift workers and people with jet lag, researchers have established that sleep deprivation messes with appetite and leads to cravings for fatty and sugary foods.  

    GLP-1 might be a part of this phenomenon: one study showed that when healthy people were sleep deprived, the spike in GLP-1 after a meal was delayed, preventing them from feeling the normal satiety cues.

    Mindful eating

    Mindful eating is a practice of paying attention to your food as you eat.

    So rather than wolfing down a bowl of tomato soup, you eat slowly and pay attention to its creamy texture, pleasing acidity, and the steam drifting off the bowl. 

    Even though it’s not certain that mindful eating itself increases GLP-1, slowing down and savoring your food allows more time for receptors in your gut to sense the nutrients and lets you tune in to your natural satiety cues after a meal.

    Overall with mindful eating, you’re less likely to be guided by automatic food intake so your blood glucose remains steadier.

    It also pays to be mindful of the order in which you eat your foods. Choosing to start with the foods that are high in soluble fiber, such as mixed vegetables or a slice of wholegrain bread, will help you feel satisfied sooner because they expand to fill your belly.

    How to keep your GLP-1 levels up

    GLP-1 can be a loyal helper when it comes to controlling your food intake and blood sugar stability. 

    Here are some tips to follow if you aim to naturally boost your GLP-1 levels:

    Keeping hydrated

    Make sure you drink plenty of water and other fluids when trying to increase your GLP-1 levels.

    Staying consistent with GLP-1 boosting habits

    Consistency is key when you adopt natural ways of increasing GLP-1 in your body. 

    Because GLP-1 levels are dynamic, the benefits of any GLP-boosting strategy are temporary—only when you keep up these habits will they support the long-term control of your blood sugar and weight.

    Monitoring and adjusting your GLP-1 strategies

    Pay attention to how you feel when you’re figuring out how to adjust your GLP-1 naturally. 

    Do you tend to feel satisfied after drinking yerba mate, but hungry after a cup of coffee? Do you notice your cravings are curbed when you take a probiotic that targets GLP-1? 

    Not every GLP-1 booster works for everyone, so go with the strategy that works to keep your hunger levels at bay.

    Most natural GLP-1 boosters need to be consumed for a period of time before their benefits are observed. 

    Final thoughts

    GLP-1 agonist medications aren’t the only game in town when it comes to increasing GLP-1 and supporting better blood sugar control and weight loss. 

    Some moderate benefits may be achievable on your own. 

    Armed with a little knowledge on how to increase GLP-1 naturally, you can harness the power of what you eat and what you do every day to improve your metabolic health.


    Content is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. Statements and products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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