Recent studies on obesity have come out with conclusive evidence to prove that hormones like leptin and insulin are more responsible for being overweight than calories.
The leptin hormone is the No. 1 reason for weight gain, especially in older people.
Health scientists researching obesity factors have verified a physical condition in which leptin loses effectiveness and becomes resistant to reciprocal communication with body cells and the hypothalamus in the brain. This hormone disorder is said to cause uncontrollable eating habits and weight gain.
Benefits And Risks Of Leptin Hormone
Leptin is a hormone that floats and flows in the bloodstream. It is made by adipose cells that help regulate energy balance by inhibiting hunger.
This protein-type hormone is precious to the body as it performs several essential functions to keep a person healthy and fit, especially in maintaining a healthy body weight.
The leptin hormone assesses the level of fat storage in the cells and reports the same to the brain. More leptin is made and released by fat cells as the amount of fat stored in the cells goes above average.
When the hypothalamus sees levels of this hormone in the blood are higher than they should be, it tells the brain to stop making you feel hungry.
Leptin synthesizes an appetite suppressant called melanocyte-stimulating hormone to maintain a healthy appetite mechanism in our bodies.
This hormone’s healthy functioning (with counteractive and stimulatory mechanisms) is essential for good appetite and metabolism in our body.
Leptin also modulates the size of the fatty tissues in our body.
Women with higher leptin levels reach puberty earlier than others. This hormone is also essential for healthy menstrual cycles and better fertility chances for women. A strong link between higher fat storage and good reproductive growth regulates reproduction.
It is the low levels of leptin in the blood that make a person feel hungry. As the person eats, its level quickly goes up, and when they reach the optimal level, the feeling of satiation sets in, and the appetite is entirely suppressed.
Without leptin, we would always feel hungry and never reach the satiation point. Our eating limit will be until there are no more places to fill.
What is Leptin Resistance?
The fat cells in the body (adipose tissues) produce more and more leptin as fat storage increases.
Obese people usually have very high leptin levels in their blood.
When leptin levels are high in the bloodstream, it signals the brain that these people should not eat until the level goes down. It is the right thing that generally occurs in every healthy person.
However, for some reason, the leptin signal to the brain stops working in some people. Despite the abnormally high amount of leptin floating in the blood, the brain does not “see” it.
This condition, usually found in most obese people, is known as “leptin resistance.” It is understood to be the No. 1 reason that makes most people obese.
The brain erroneously thinks that the body is starving, despite the massive amount of energy already stored in the fat cells.
Because of this, the hypothalamus can’t match how the body stores and uses energy with how it makes you feel hungry.
We can typically notice that most obese people have a hunger that makes them gorge on food very frequently. It is because of the LR in their bodies.
What Factors Influence Leptin Resistance?
There are several reasons for leptin resistance as per the different study results, and every other fresh study seems to suggest a new reason altogether.
Leptin loses its identity as it becomes intrinsically bound to proteins. Because of this, the brain cannot differentiate and identify the leptin in the bloodstream.
Any inflammatory signaling in the brain can be another reason the hypothalamus becomes insensitive to the leptin levels in the blood.
If there are a lot of free fatty acids in the blood, the hypothalamus might make more fat metabolites, which could eventually stop leptin from doing its job.
Elevated leptin levels in the bloodstream could cause leptin resistance. As leptin levels consistently remain high for an extended period, the person’s genetically set optimum leptin level may shift.
In rare cases, LR could be genetically inherited. According to feedback signaling laws, leptin produced by an ob gene mutation that is secreted but has poor signaling capacity could result in hyperleptinemia and LR.
It is also possible that leptin develops a self-regulation mode like the other biological signaling pathways. When leptin begins to activate its receptor and signal, it may promote pathological LR.
Many study results point out LR as the offspring of obesity. Obesity causes hyperleptinemia, which, in turn, could further obesity and leptin resistance.
Many studies’ results have suggested LR could be born out of limited tissue access, such as at the blood-brain barrier. The Ob-Ra transport mechanism in the blood is saturable, and it can limit leptin entry by creating a blood-brain barrier. This theory has yet to be fully proven because more in-depth experiments are needed to prove the same.
Cellular and circulating molecules can inhibit leptin from causing resistance. Extracellular circulating factors may bind leptin, altering its bioavailability and bioactivity.
What Causes Leptin Resistance By Stephan Guyenet, Ph.D
Dangers of Leptin Resistance
The direct impact of leptin resistance is chronic obesity and an increase in body fat.
No matter how hard you try or what weight loss supplement you use, losing weight on a lasting basis will become almost impossible.
If you already have insatiable, recurring hunger pangs, it is a symptom that leptin resistance has set in your body.
Here are some of the most common signs and effects of leptin response problems that will start to bother you:
- steady weight gain
- insatiable hunger and a constant craving for high-calorie foods
- constant feelings of tiredness and fatigue
- increase in blood pressure and blood sugar
- Insomnia and restlessness
- inability to lose weight, no matter how hard you exercise or what diet pills you take.
- Easily prone to anxiety attacks and irritability.
As obesity becomes chronic due to leptin resistance, a slew of related diseases emerges.
With this hormone disorder, heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and a rise in triglycerides levels. Also, other health problems are almost certain to happen at some point.
The levels of leptin in the blood can be used to identify any cardiometabolic health risks in an obese person.
Leptin disorder is also an indicator of LR and metabolic disorders a person is facing or could face.
As leptin resistance increases with steady weight gain, it is an ideal condition for cell-level inflammation that gives rise to arthritis and diabetes. Even certain cancers develop in some cases.
Another direct effect of leptin resistance is infertility, which can occur in women. This hormone disorder makes a person age physically faster; in some cases, the weight gain is irreversible with any treatment.
Leptin Diet Plan
As we’ve seen, leptin resistance is a severe health risk that must be dealt with immediately.
There are a few prescription pills that can help fix this hormone problem and get leptin to work typically again.
Most of the treatments available now are meant to help with the symptoms of this condition rather than get rid of it.
There is still a lot of research and study to find an effective medical way to completely fix this hormone disorder and get things back to normal.
Reducing diet-induced inflammation is key to preventing or reversing LR.
Sufficient physical exercise turns on your genes and facilitates healthy leptin function and metabolism. Besides adjusting your diet, it is crucial to have at least 40 minutes of active physical exercise every day.
The quality and type of the food you eat are important when you are trying to lose weight or balance serum leptin levels.
The leptin diet may also help you lose weight and reverse leptin resistance.
One of the practical solutions to counter this disorder is to avoid overeating. A good diet may weaken the effects of leptin disorder.
Rules of the Leptin Diet
- Stop having any food (dinner) three hours before going to bed,
- Limit your food intake to three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) a day with a 5-hour gap in between,
- Avoid snacks and fast foods in between meals,
- Do not eat after dinner, not even light snacks or fruit juices,
- Never eat large meals,
- Make sure to have a protein-rich breakfast with eggs or fish.
- Carbohydrate intake should be minimal;
- Only eat three meals, with more of vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish, and eggs.
- Avoid caloric beverages
- Maintain a 10- to 12-hour gap between your last meal and your day’s first meal.
Make sure each of your meals contains no more than 500 calories.
As you eat a healthy and satisfying meal, keep tabs on its contents and calories. Approximately, you could bifurcate the contents of your meals into 40% fat, 30% carbohydrates, and 30% protein.
As for the nutritional and vitamin requirements of the body, it is important to keep a variety of food options open on different days and for different meals.
Drink about eight glasses of water daily; the best thing is to have a glass of water every hour.
The food craving is better tackled with fiber- and high-protein foods. Generally, a high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite.
Type Of Foods And Drinks To Avoid In Leptin Diet
According to a 2021 study, fructose and sucrose, carbohydrates, fat, and low in protein are drivers of leptin resistance. Reducing calorie intake is necessary to reduce leptin imbalance.
Strictly avoid the following foods and beverages, especially, if you have high fasting leptin in your body:
- Fructose-rich drinks and juices
- Processed foods
- Soda pop, including diet sodas
- Soy foods/drinks
- Energy drinks
Changes In Food And Lifestyle Habits
- Eat soluble fiber-rich vegetables and fruits,
- More healthy protein (lean meat, eggs, fish, etc.),
- 7 hours of sleep,
- 40 minutes of active exercise.
If you notice, the leptin diet you need to follow to thwart the effects of leptin resistance is very similar to the diet everyone needs to follow for good health.
The easiest way to overcome obesity is simply through homemade food, sufficient exercise, good sleep, etc. It is easy to follow these diets with a little bit of conscious effort.
Just don’t buy packaged foods or soft drinks that are easy to find in stores and restaurants.
Always try to get and eat fresh, organic foods with high energy and nutritional value.
Lastly, don’t live to eat, but eat to live.
Regarding leptin resistance reversal, you may also try any good prescription supplement.
There are also a lot of leptin diet supplements available online for purchase. Do some research and decide for yourself if you ever need it. However, supplements are not a long-term option.
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