What Is Leptin Resistance And How To Reverse It?
Leptin is an appetite controlling hormone. It is produced by fat cells in the body and is believed by some to play a crucial role in weight management through the messages it sends in regards to hunger. So, what happens in the body when leptin resistance occurs? And, is leptin resistance the real reason behind common weight issues?
What Is Leptin Resistance?
Leptin sends a message to your brain that you have had enough to eat. The problem is that when leptin is constantly sending this message to your brain, the receptor can start to become resistant to the message. That makes it difficult for leptin to get the message across that you have had enough to eat. In short, overexposure to the message can cause resistance to receiving it.
When the message is ignored, but other messages, such as ghrelin’s message of hunger is not ignored, overeating and weight gain can occur.
What Causes Leptin Resistance?
Because leptin is produced by fat cells, an increase in the amount of fat cells in the body increases the amount of leptin. Constant production of leptin causes continuous messages to be sent and, eventually, resistance occurs. Therefore, weight gain and increased fat can cause leptin resistance.
Is Leptin Resistance Making You Fat?
Some experts believe that while leptin is definitely a hormone that could affect your ability to lose weight and keep it off, it is not the only hormone that affects fat loss. In fact, many experts believe that it may not even be close to the most important influence in weight loss.
For instance, adiponectin is a hormone that sends a message to your body to burn fat for fuel, and research is showing that low levels of adiponectin correlate to obesity. Higher levels of adiponectin seem to raise metabolism and help burn off more fat without having to decrease the appetite.
“When adiponectin, which is involved in glucose and lipid metabolism, was introduced into the cerebrospinal fluid of normal mice, they showed no changes in food intake, but their metabolism rose.” – University of Pennsylvania Health System
Moreover, insulin levels may have more of an effect on weight than leptin. When you have high blood sugar levels, your body can store fat instead of burning it off, which results in weight gain. And if your blood sugar levels are constantly high, there is a good chance that insulin resistance can occur, which further affects the way fat is stored in your body.
Other hormones, such as ghrelin could also play a role in obesity more than leptin. Ghrelin increases appetite, which cause the desire to overeat unhealthy foods. Therefore, while it is important to get leptin levels under control, it probably won’t make a huge difference in the amount of weight you lose or gain.
“As one of two ‘hunger hormones’ in the body, leptin works to decrease the appetite (its partner, ghrelin, increases appetite).” – Mail Online
How To Reverse Leptin Resistance
The best way to reverse leptin resistance is to stop the leptin surges that are causing the resistance. This can be done with lifestyle changes.
Exercise can have a big impact on leptin levels. A lack of exercise has been shown to increase leptin resistance, while exercise has shown to decrease resistance to leptin. This is one of the reasons that appetite decreases with constant physical activity.
Also, eating a diet that is conducive to good cell health, as well as hormone health, is important. At the basic level, this means a diet that is low in sugar and high in nutrients. Cutting out refined sugar and carbohydrates from your diet can have a huge impact on your overall health and the regulation of hormones in the body. It can result in weight loss and increase your sensitivity to leptin and other hormones.
It is important to note that reducing calories drastically can cause leptin levels to decrease, which could result in increased hunger. A normal leptin level can be achieved through healthy eating and maintaining a healthy weight.