Commonly Prescribed Weight-Loss Drug Targets Fat That Can Endanger Heart Health

Heart shape of ketogenic low carbs diet concept. Ingredients for healthy foods selection on white wooden background. Balanced healthy ingredients of unsaturated fats for the heart and blood vessels.A commonly prescribed weight-loss drug could help to target fat that has been found to put heart health in danger, according to researchers at UT Southwestern. The weight-loss drug called liraglutide is a once-daily shot that has been found to significantly lower two types of fat.

Adults who are overweight or obese and also have high cardiovascular risk may benefit from this drug combined with lifestyle interventions. It is believed that it could significantly lower two types of fat that have been associated with a risk to heart health: visceral fat and ectopic fat.


Ectopic fat is stored in tissues such as the liver, skeletal muscle, pancreas, and heart. Visceral fat is stored within the abdominal cavity around important internal organs such as the pancreas, liver, and intestines.

For this study, 185 participants were given a once-daily injection of liraglutide over 40 weeks. The effects of the drug on fat reduction were twofold greater in the abdominal tissues and sixfold greater in the liver compared to overall body weight.

It was also shown to reduce fasting blood glucose and inflammation in this population without diabetes, the majority of which had normal blood sugar levels at the start of the study.

Obesity affects an estimated 1 in every 4 adults and 1 in every 5 youths, which could lead to a substantial risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. Researchers say that an excess of visceral fat and ectopic is central to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


“Our study used the latest imaging technology to evaluate different fat components in the body. The main finding was a significant decrease in visceral fat in patients without diabetes but who were overweight or had obesity. These results show the potential of liraglutide treatment for significantly lowering the risk of chronic disease in this population,” said Parag Joshi, M.D., senior author of the study.

Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

In a previous 2016 study, UTSW investigators found that the occurrence of death from non-fatal myocardial infarction, cardiovascular causes, or non-fatal stroke among patients with type 2 diabetes were lower in those treated with liraglutide compared to those who were taking placebo.

Researchers believe this drug combined with lifestyle interventions could significantly lower the two types of fat, and offer benefits for those with type 2 diabetes and those without diabetes.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.