Discovering how to reverse leptin resistance could well be a major step on your path to better health.
Leptin, popularly known as the satiety hormone, is primarily produced by fat and adipose cells in the body.
However, this is not the only place where you can find leptin or use it for physiologic processes.
There is a lot more about this hormone that makes understanding it deeper an important weight loss strategy.
The word leptin originates from the Greek word ‘leptos’ which means ‘thin’. The term was suggested by Roger Guillemin to Jeffrey M. Friedman who discovered the hormone in 1994.
Leptin is the first hormone discovered that originates from fat cells.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, we find out that leptin is produced mainly by adipose tissues or fat cells in the body.
It is released in response to fluctuations in the body’s energy levels.
To maintain homeostasis, leptin works opposite the hunger hormone called ghrelin.
To illustrate: When you are hungry (hormone ghrelin is at work here), the body will use its energy reserves found in the body’s fat stores to maintain balance or homeostasis.
Since the hunger hormone ghrelin is at work, the body’s natural reaction is to eat more and replenish one’s energy stores.
Leptin is then released by fat cells into the bloodstream to signal the leptin receptors found in the hypothalamus that hunger has been addressed and it is now time for the brain and the body to feel full and stop eating.
Homeostasis is then achieved.
Numerous scientific studies found that obese individuals have elevated levels of leptin which could either by caused a functional leptin deficiency due to a genetic mutation or a resistance to leptin.
In most normal individuals, the release of leptin into the bloodstream will mean feeling full and stopping any form of food consumption.
However, there are cases where the body’s fat cells keeps on producing leptin since the leptin receptors in the hypothalamus does not identify the presence of leptin in the body.
This happens in most obese individuals and has led scientists to think that obesity is not at all about the lack of willpower and motivation to lose weight.
There is now a clear hormonal link that ties the physiologic changes found in obese persons to a deficiency in their leptin receptors.
This condition is called leptin resistance.
It is interesting to note that the problem does not lie in the production of leptin by adipose cells.
Instead, there is an issue in the leptin receptor pathway in the hypothalamus.
How to Reverse Leptin Resistance
Resistance to leptin occurs when the leptin receptors in the brain do not tell apart the increased levels of leptin in the bloodstream.
In turn, a person does not feel full and keeps on eating – adding up to the excessive fat stores in his or her body.
To remedy this problem, scientists have long experimented on the production of an analog version of the hormone leptin to artificially stimulate the leptin production in fat cells.
This approach may work for those who have congenital leptin deficiency.
But those with congenital or acquired leptin resistance are still only left with non-pharmacological approaches to help treat the condition.
It is important to remember that leptin resistance may be caused by a problem with the brain receptors to differentiate the presence of leptin from other hormones in the blood.
Any form of treatment that can reverse leptin resistance may work on fixing this issue with the leptin receptors.
Roundabout Ways to Reverse Leptin Resistance
In some cases, individuals with only mild to moderate leptin resistance can benefit from a change in diet and following a lifestyle modification plan.
Leptin resistance is often present with insulin resistance.
So it pays to follow a high protein, low fat, low sugar diet.
Obese individuals who follow strict forms of these diets often find themselves shedding off the pounds and having leptin levels in the normal threshold.
Exercise is another aspect that you should look into to help reverse leptin resistance.
When fat stores are reduced and when your body engages in healthy ways to expend energy, a decrease in leptin resistance will follow.
Diet and exercise alone does not constitute a healthy lifestyle modification plan.
You should also pair it with ample sleep, rest, and maybe meditation.
Once leptin levels in the body are normalized by following a healthy diet, exercise and sleep routine, the normal hormonal feedback pathway in your body will also align.
It is in this hope that your leptin sensitivity will also be improved.