Hunger Hormones – Leptin

Leptin resistance can lead to poor food choicesLeptin and Obesity

Leptin is what some experts refer to as the “master” hormone for regulating weight loss and controlling obesity. This hormone was only discovered in 1994; in fact, you may not have even heard of it until now.

The Role of Leptin in the Body

Leptin is responsible for regulating energy intake and expenditure, but it also controls appetite and hunger! Leptin travels through your bloodstream in order to reach the hypothalamus in your brain. It then tells your hypothalamus how much fat you already have in your body, and it sends messages when you are full and it wants you to stop eating.

Balanced leptin levels are key if we are to be successful in our efforts against weight gain and obesity.

There’s a wonderful book by Dr. Sara Gottfried that includes reset programs for hormones including one for leptin.  I have the book and love it!  It’s The Hormone Reset Diet.

Leptin Treatment for Obesity

Researcher’s studies and experiments with rodents showed that reduced leptin levels caused an increase in weight, and increased levels caused a decrease in weight.

Based on these studies, they began treating obese people with leptin believing this might put an end to their constant cravings for food and might promote feelings of satiety. However, this form of treatment did not work for obese people, and they were not able to achieve the same results as researchers had achieved in the experiments with rodents. Why? One reason is that rodents are naturally born without leptin, so their bodies responded once they were given leptin hormones.

If you have high levels of leptin, you will be less likely to feel hungry, your metabolism will speed up, your body can recognize that you’ve already eaten enough and it will have the ability to burn fat efficiently. However, the problem with overweight and obese people is that their brain refuses to listen to their leptin signals. As the brain becomes oblivious to any leptin signals, health problems increase and the onset of obesity is a distinct possibility.

Excessive Intake of Calories, Leptin Resistance and Obesity

As leptin interacts with its receptors, it becomes capable of preventing an individual from eating excessively. This particular role of leptin is what leads many experts to believe that obesity is very possibly linked to being leptin resistant.

Studies have shown leptin resistance occurs from overeating, and that this overeating interferes with the body’s ability to recognize and respond to leptin. This result will certainly increase the risk of obesity. When an individual persistently overeats, leptin levels will become very high resulting in the down regulation of leptin receptors along with a reduced level of sensitivity to the hormone. This unfortunately results in continued patterns of unhealthy over-eating patterns including binge-eating.

Feeling continually hungry most often results in poorer choices of food types. This is because the brain is fooled into believing the body is starving or is energy-deficient. High-energy (which translates as high-calorie) foods are targeted. This desire is triggered at a subconscious level.

Rational and conscious control is required to overcome the primitive, yet natural response to leptin resistance. Each of us has the ability to make these choices on behalf of our own body, and to choose to take the path to better health and healthier eating.

Helping You Live Healthier in a Major Way!

Cheryl A Major, CNWC

Cheryl A Major, Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant






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