Where Is Leptin Produced ? (and Other Things You Need to Know about Leptin)
Your body produces leptin, a hormone that helps control hunger and use of energy.
Leptin regulates the balance of energy, including the intake and use of energy. It influences how much fat is stored in the body.
Leptin helps the body speed up metabolism, burn calories, and stop storing fat.
It is a critical factor for effective weight management. It helps you fight obesity and lose excess weight.
Where is the hormone produced?
Leptin is produced by adipose tissue, or what is more commonly referred to as fat tissue.
Everybody produces leptin.
People with more adipose tissue have higher concentrations of leptin compared to lean people who have less fat tissue in their bodies.
Fat cells employ leptin to communicate to the brain the amount of body fat they have in store.
Elevated levels tell the brain that the body has a lot of fat stored.
Low leptin levels inform the brain that the body is short on fat and that it must eat to avoid starvation.
Leptin is also referred to as the “starvation” hormone.
How does leptin function?
Your adipose tissues secrete leptin.
Leptin is then carried by the blood to your brain where it tells the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that is in charge of telling the body when/how much to eat) that it has enough stored fat and that it should stop eating.
When you eat, you bring up your body fat.
Your leptin levels increase.
You eat less.
Your body expends more energy (burns more calories).
When you do not eat, you bring down your body fat.
Your leptin levels go down.
You consume more food.
Your body expends less energy (burns less calories).
How can it help you lose weight?
A high level of leptin is conducive to weight loss.
Leptin connects to leptin receptors in the brain to create signals that tell the body that it is full.
It tells the brain that the body has an adequate amount of fat stored and that it does not have to eat.
As a result, your appetite decreases.
This is why leptin is also called the “satiety hormone.”
The leptin also signals the other parts of the body to use up calories and burn more fat.
What is leptin resistance?
If a person is fat or obese, he will have more body fat in his fat cells.
His fat cells should be telling his brain that there is a lot of fat stored and that he should stop eating and start burning more calories.
A fat person should, therefore, find it easy to lose weight.
Why is this not true?
Fat or obese people have a problem with leptin sensitivity.
The leptin is there but the brain does not recognize this.
The brain fails to receive the right leptin signal.
Although the body has a lot of fat and energy stored, the brain thinks that the body is starving and needs food.
It tells the body to eat so that it can replenish the stores of fat that the brain thinks are missing.
Leptin resistance makes you feel hungry.
You tend to eat more in an effort to raise fat because your body thinks its stored fat is low.
It is difficult to use mere will power to control the urge to eat when that urge is a result of wrong leptin signals.
What is “yoyo dieting?”
When you start to lose weight, you also lose fat mass.
Your leptin levels go down.
The decrease in leptin leads the brain to believe that you are starving.
It starts to activate mechanisms so you can gain back the lost body fat.
You eat more.
You exercise less.
You do all these to protect the body from starving.
As a result, you regain the weight you have lost.
Dieters who are highly motivated to lose weight usually find it easy to do so in the beginning.
Once they lose body fat and reduce leptin levels, they feel compelled to eat – thus gaining back lost excess weight.
This phenomenon is responsible for what we know as the “yoyo dieting.”
You lose weight.
You gain it back.
You lose weight again.
And the cycle goes on.
How do you use your knowledge about leptin to become healthier and lose weight permanently?
Do not go on starvation diets.
A sudden significant decrease in calories (and the resulting dramatic loss of fat and weight) can make the body think and act as if it were starving.
You feel hungry all the time.
You get food cravings that you can’t seem to satisfy.
Your energy goes down.
You can correct leptin resistance by eating healthy and low calorie food.
Stay away from food (sugar and highly processed food in particular) that makes you less receptive to leptin.
Bulk up on food (food rich in lean protein and Omega-3 fatty acids – fish, nuts, and flaxseed) that heightens leptin production and leptin sensitivity.
Get enough sleep.
When you keep to a healthy routine (eat right, exercise regularly, and sleep well) you will have a balanced system that makes it possible to lose weight.
The immediate weight loss may not be dramatic.
It is, however, sustainable.
It makes losing weight – and keeping it off for good, possible.