Weight Loss Hormone In Focus: Leptin

August 10, 2015

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Have you ever wondered how your body knows that it???s full and time to stop eating? You can thank leptin for that.

Leptin is a hormone produced in fat cells that serves as a communicator to the brain, letting it know if your body???s fat cells are at sufficient levels to support energy expenditure. If your fat percentage goes down, leptin???s job is to alert your brain that you are ???starving??? and need to eat. That sets a host of other biological processes into motion related to your body???s metabolic system, meaning you eat, feel full, and then wait for nature to take its course so you can do it all over again in a few hours.

In a healthy weight body, this process is pretty efficient. But for someone who is overweight or suffers from obesity, leptin can play a nightmarish role in the vicious cycle of weight gain.

Research has shown that in obese patients, there is a high probability of developing leptin resistance. This happens when your brain doesn???t properly receive the signal from leptin that you are full. This may or may not be related to faulty leptin brain receptors. Regardless of the cause, to satisfy the brain???s hunger, your body produces greater amount of the hormone, and you keep eating until it hears your stomach loud and clear. As a result, you wind up overeating and probably consuming more calories than your metabolism can handle for healthy weight management. In short, you???ve gained weight.

The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent or event reverse leptin resistance to get your body into proper balance. Here are some tips:

Eat more fiber. High-fiber foods such as whole-grains, fruits, and vegetables increase the feeling of fullness.

Avoid inflammatory foods. High-fat, fried, and sugary foods, refined grains, and processed meats increase inflammation, which disrupt leptin???s ability to function properly.

Consume more Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help reduce inflammation. Fish, flax seeds, walnuts, and beans are a good source of these fatty acids.

Drink more water. Keeping hydrated with water also helps to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.

Get more sleep. A study published in the PLOS Medicine found that those who got less than eight hours of sleep produced about 15% less leptin than those who slept for eight hours or more.

At the end of the day, all the body wants to do is feel like it???s doing the best job it can for you in the most efficient way possible. By becoming aware of how leptin can be your friend or foe, you can take the necessary steps to achieve that efficiency, which includes thriving each day at a healthy weight.

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