What Is Leptin?
Leptin is a protein comprised of 167 amino acids. The word “leptin” originates from the Greek word “Leptos” which translates to “thin.” Leptin plays a huge role within the body in regards to hunger and appetite. Leptin is know as the second of the hunger hormones and is essential in behavior, metabolism, and energy expenditure and intake. All this makes it one of the most vital hormones derived from adipose tissue (one of the main types of connective tissue or body fat).
Leptin has been given credit as the first fat cell-derived hormone to be discovered.
What Does Leptin Do?
In simple terms, leptin is the hormone that says “stop eating; I’m full”. This hormone acts on the brain and is directly connected with body weight and with the regulation of our food intake.
Fat tissue within the body is responsible for producing the leptin hormone. Since leptin is secreted by fat cells, it would be easy to assume that the more overweight a person is, the more leptin they have available to tell their body they are full and to stop eating. You would also assume their weight would normalize with leptin sending those messages.
This is a wonderful theory! However, when dealing with damaged endocrine and metabolism pathways, it becomes more involved. The leptin is there; it just isn’t doing what it is supposed to do.
Leptin is the hormone that produces a feeling of satiety or fullness and signals the body when it has eaten enough food. When functioning optimally, this hormone may make it easier to resist the temptation to eating high calorie foods.
Leptin circulates within the bloodstream, relaying messages to the brain regarding energy storage. This is how it operates in regulating metabolism and appetite.
A percentage of people suffer severe obesity due to a leptin hormone imbalance. Due to this imbalance, they continually want to consume more and more food. There have been numerous studies and trials for treating the imbalance and therefore the obesity problem. The people who were the most overweight were treated. They did show some signs of weight loss. However, the results from the studies have been inconclusive, and the studies and research continue.
Studies show that due to the poor solubility, low potency and low circulating half-life of leptin, frequent and large doses of leptin are needed in hormone therapy.
Leptin is linked directly to insulin levels. Leptin resistance is a condition experienced by many people today. The body actually perceives leptin resistance as starvation, so this results in activating multiple mechanisms to increase fat stores rather than burning them.
The body releases leptin as it should, but the brain does not correctly respond to the leptin trigger. Simply put, the brain does not realize the stomach is full, so appetite is not suppressed. This condition is characterized by obesity, blood-sugar issues, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease.
Elevated leptin levels experienced with leptin resistance may also cause you to age faster than normal, may decrease fertility and may be a significant contributing factor to obesity. Signs of leptin resistance can include having difficulty sticking to changes in your health regimen and difficulty in taking steps to improve a health issue or to lose weight.
Leptin resistance is a complex situation involving the endocrine system. The good news is that you can make lasting changes! To reverse insulin and leptin resistance:
- Avoid, sugar, fructose, grains, and processed foods
- Eat a healthful diet of whole foods (preferably organic), which include low to moderate amounts of protein and healthy fat such as avocados, nuts, and coconut oil.
Helping You Live Healthier in a Major Way!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC