GLP-1 receptor agonists do not affect sodium intake: Exploratory analyses from two randomized clinical trials

Mark M. Smits*, Jennifer S. ten Kulve, Liselotte van Bloemendaal, Lennart Tonneijck, Marcel H.A. Muskiet, Mark H.H. Kramer, Richard G. Ijzerman, Daniël H. van Raalte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Objectives: Excessive sodium intake, despite current dietary advice, remains a global issue with cardiovascular and renal consequences. The aim of this study was to determine whether glucagon-like peptide receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs), used as antihyperglycemic agents for type 2 diabetes (T2DM) management, may reduce salt cravings as they are known to reduce hedonic feeding behavior and are involved in sodium homeostasis by increasing renal sodium excretion. Methods: We performed exploratory analyses using data from two randomized, clinical crossover trials, which primarily aimed to assess the effects of GLP-1 RAs on central satiety and reward circuits and subsequent related feeding behavior. In study A, healthy, obese individuals and patients with T2DM were randomly assigned to receive intravenous administration of placebo or GLP-1 RA exenatide with or without concurrent GLP-1 receptor blockade, on separate testing days. In study B, individuals with T2DM randomly received GLP-1 RA liraglutide (titrated up to 1.8 mg daily) or titrated insulin glargine for 12 wk. In both studies, participants received an ad libitum mixed meal that served to calculate sodium intake. Moreover, salt craving was scored using a Likert scale. Results: In study A, acute exenatide, parallel to reduced total food intake, reduced sodium intake in all studied groups by up to 30%. In study B, prolonged liraglutide treatment did not affect sodium or total caloric intake. Neither acute exenatide nor prolonged liraglutide treatment affected salt craving as measured by the Likert scale. Conclusion: Acute exenatide reduced sodium intake in light of a generalized reduction in food ingestion, while prolonged intervention with liraglutide did not lower sodium intake. Neither intervention affected salt craving. Given the known effects of these drugs on renal sodium excretion, blood pressure, and renal and cardiovascular outcome, it seems plausible to perform dedicated mechanistic studies in humans to assess the effects of GLP-1 RA administration on sodium balance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110524
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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