Ozempic with a target on it on a red background

Semaglutide May Have A Longevity-Boosting Off-Label Use

The drug gives “Natural Killer Cells” a boost

If you were on the fence about hopping on the semaglutide train, experts have identified another potential longevity-boosting benefit that might convince you.

Semaglutide is part of a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor antagonists. The meds fuel weight loss by slowing down your digestion and suppressing your appetite. Originally developed and FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes, doctors started prescribing them off-label when they realized they could help people lose weight. 

Now, research shows that semaglutide drugs, like Ozempic and Wegovy, may have another off-label use. According to a small study published in the journal Obesity, Semaglutide may be able to restore immune-supporting “Natural Killer” cells in obese patients, improving their  immune system and helping them fight against diseases like cancer (1). 

What Are Natural Killer Cells? 

Many immune cells need to encounter an infected cell (think vaccines) in order to attack. Natural Killer cells can spot and kill abnormal or mutated cells without prior exposure to them. 

Obesity may disrupt the function of Natural Killer cells, which may put overweight guys at a higher risk of cancer (2).

What Did the Research Show?

The study, which was conducted by researchers at Maynooth University in Ireland, followed 20 obese patients on once-weekly semaglutide treatments. At the end of six months, the participants had improved Natural Killer cell function. The improvement in Natural Killer cells appeared to be “independent of weight loss” on semaglutide.

“We are finally reaching the point where medical treatments for the disease of obesity are being shown to prevent the complications of obesity,” Donal O’Shea, M.D, one of the principal investigators in the study, said in a statement. “The current findings represent very positive news for people living with obesity on GLP-1 therapy and suggest the benefits of this family of treatments may extend to a reduction in cancer risk.”