What is leptin and what does it do?
Most people have never heard about leptin, but the more you know about leptin the better you will be able to lose weight. Leptin is a hormone made by your fat cells. It used to be called the anti-obesity hormone. But now we know that leptin affects much more than weight loss or weight gain including: the brain and spinal cord, blood making cells, the immune system as well as affecting reproduction, blood pressure, and bone mass. So leptin does a lot inside your body.
However leptin has a special role with regard to your fat cells. Because, when fat cells release leptin, it tells your brain about your energy reserves and that affects your metabolism. When your leptin levels are normal leptin tells your brain that you are not hungry. When your leptin levels are wrong it tells your brain that you are hungry. So leptin can make you feel hungry at times or it can make you feel full and tell you that you don’t need to eat. It is a pretty important hormone to have working at just the right level for you. If your leptin levels are off you may suffer unhealthy weight loss or weight gain.
This is because a common problem for many people who are overweight is that they have made too much leptin. If this goes on for too long, your cells become resistant to leptin; like the boy who cried wolf too often. When your cells become leptin resistant they don’t respond to leptin when they should. This makes you still feel hungry when you don’t need to be hungry; so you gain more weight because your brain still feels hungry. If you are overweight and full of food you should not feel hungry, but leptin resistance makes you still feel hungry.
Things that cause leptin resistance and thus weight gain include high fructose corn syrup, high stress levels, and high triglycerides.
So how do you reset your body’s systems to react to its leptin so you can lose weight?
- Eat and sleep according to your natural circadian rhythm. Night shift workers and frequent flyers who suffer jet lag are at greater risk for obesity and metabolic disease because they are active and eating when they should be sleeping.
- Too little light during the day and too much light at night can disrupt your daily (circadian) rhythm.
- Eating after 8 pm is associated with weight gain. Also if you are eating just before bed, you are not burning off as many calories. Research has shown that meals eaten at night do not stimulate the feeling of being full compared to meals eaten earlier in the day. So you tend to eat more at night than at other meal times. Overeating leads to even higher levels of leptin that then contributes to more leptin resistance. Then it is harder to lose the weight because you have now changed your ability to burn the calories.
- If you stop eating for 12 hours, you may reset your sensitivity to your leptin. You do this by not eating after 6 pm or before 6 am.
- Eating too many calories can increase inflammation in your body, which worsens obesity as well as joint and muscle pains and brain fog. So decreasing the size of your meals can be helpful.
- Cut out sugar and processed saturated fat. A diet high in sugar and processed saturated fats increases leptin resistance and obesity. Eating too much fats and carbs increases the triglycerides in your blood that worsens the leptin resistance. So reducing your carbs can reduce triglycerides and improve your leptin response.
- Exercise burns calories, and improves leptin sensitivity
- Eat more protein and fewer carbs. Also decreasing foods containing wheat helps.
- Get adequate sleep.
You can read more on this topic here: https://selfhacked.com…/the-root-causes-of-leptin-resistance-and-12-ways-to-reverse-