Leptin Resistance – Supplements, Treatments, Symptoms And Diet
There has been a lot of talk in the fitness industry about the hormone, leptin. The hormone is actually a relatively new discovery (late 1990’s) as far as science goes, but it is really starting to gain recognition.
What the scientists found was that this hormone is greatly responsible for weight gain, weight loss and appetite. It has even been dubbed the obesity, fat, hunger and starvation hormone.
Scientists have also found that depending on your diet and lifestyle, your body may be producing too much or too little leptin.
As a very general overview, if you have been dieting for any length of time chances are that your levels of leptin are very low. On the other side, if you are overweight it’s quite possible that your levels are very high – too high.
Bottom line, controlling your leptin is actually a pretty big deal. Here are a few things we’ll cover here:
- What is leptin?
- What is leptin resistance?
- What are leptin resistance symptoms?
- How do you treat leptin resistance?
- What are the best supplements to help leptin resistance?
What Is Leptin?
In simple terms (which I like) leptin is a communicator between your body and brain that suppresses appetite and burns fat.
“a peptide hormone that is produced by fat cells and plays a role in body weight regulation by acting on the hypothalamus to suppress appetite and burn fat stored in adipose tissue” – Merriam Webmaster Dictionary
Here are a few things you should know about leptin:
- Leptin is the key hormone that controls fullness and fat storage.
- Leptin production sends a signal to your brain to determine if you need more or less fat.
- The rate of leptin production in your body determines weight loss or weight gain.
When your fat stores are full they release an increased amount of leptin. The leptin then sends a signal to your brain to stop feeling hungry, to stop eating and to stop storing fat.
But when you go on a diet, your leptin levels can drop as much as 50% in just one week. And this is bad news when it comes to weight loss.
Your brain does not realize that you are intentionally eating less and trying to lose weight. As a survival reaction, your brain tells your body to hold on to any fat because there is not enough in the system – the low amount of leptin signals to the brain – and this can bring weight loss to a halt.
So, the more leptin you have, the more fat you burn, right?
more fat = more leptin = more fat burning
Not quite. According to this, if you are fat you should naturally be burning more fat and therefore you would not be fat. (yes, you may need to re-read that sentence.) 😉
This sounds good in theory but there’s a catch. Over time, your body becomes resistant to your #1 fat burning hormone.
So the real problem lies in maintaining your body’s sensitivity to leptin.
What Is Leptin Resistance?
Leptin resistance is what occurs when your body no longer reacts appropriately to the hormone. Unfortunately, this is fairly common in overweight individuals.
Instead of your brain (hypothalamus) reacting to the signal from the high amount of leptin in your body … it simply ignores it.
So the more weight you gain, the more leptin is released but the less your body responds to it.
The main cause of this is due to an intake of excess carbohydrates that break down into sugar too quickly. This causes your blood sugar to spike, much like insulin resistance.
If you eat a diet that is high in sugar (fructose), grains, and processed foods, the fat stored in your body is continually releasing leptn and your brain simply stops listening.
When your brain ignores this signal, it does NOT tell your body that you are full, have had enough food and that you do not need to eat anymore. You can see how this can quickly turn into uncontrollable weight gain.
If your body is working against you, you need to get it back on track before you make any progress, or worse yet, regress.
The Signs And Symptoms Of Leptin Resistance
Here are some of the commons signs and/or symptoms that you might notice if you are no longer sensitive to leptin.
- Excess abdominal fat
- Fatigue / low energy
- Hungry even after meals
- Crave high calorie foods (fast food, sweets, breads, pasta, etc.)
- Difficulty losing weight
- Difficulty keeping weight off
- Difficulty sleeping
- Need caffeine
- High blood pressure
- Easily get anxious
- Skin tags, stretch marks and/or acanthosis nigricans
Of course, these can be caused by other conditions as well. It is best to consult your physician since he can run blood, urine and other tests to verify.
Leptin Resistance Treatment
The only real way to treat leptin resistance is to prevent further surges of the hormone. And the best way to do this is by diet.
Note: this picture does not represent a good diet for combating leptin resistance. Sorry. 😉
By eating whole foods that are low in carbohydrates, high in proteins and high in fats you will be able to avoid the blood sugar spikes.
A good diet consists of:
- Limiting carbohydrates
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Getting adequate amounts of protein
- Eating adequate amounts of fats
In addition to your diet, lifestyle choices play a role as well:
- Avoid stress
- Get adequate amounts of sleep
- Exercise regularly
Another good idea is to familiarize yourself with the Glycemic Index and stick to foods below 40-50. There are foods other than “junk” foods that have a high GI rating, so pay attention to what you put in your mouth.
The Best Supplements To Help With Leptin Resistance
After you have gained control of your diet and lifestyle habits, you may consider looking at some leptin resistance supplements. To be honest, there really is only one leptin supplement out there that I recommend, Leptiburn®.
The reason I like it so much is because it is a quality supplement, made from a scientifically proven formula.
Here is a list of the ingredients:
- Irvingia Gabonensis
- Oleanolic Acid
- Panax Notoginseng
February 22, 2013 @ 8:08 pm
good article! low carbohydrates!