When we say weight loss, you automatically start picturizing low calories, excessive workout, and high willpower. But most of us wouldn’t have even thought once, that weight loss may not only be about all this.
Can Weight Be Controlled By Manipulating Leptin Levels?
Modern obesity research says that in contrast to the generalized thinking of people about weight loss, a hormone called leptin plays an important role. To be more precise, scientists believe that the leading driver of fat gain and difficult weight loss in humans is due to leptin resistance, which is a condition in which your body is unable to properly respond to this hormone. Never heard of leptin before? No worries. We have explained all about the hormone here!
What is leptin?
Produced by the fat cells of your body, leptin is often referred to as the ‘satiety hormone’ or the ‘starvation hormone’ and is responsible for reducing appetite as well as to make you feel full. The primary target of leptin hormone is the brain or to be exact, an area of the brain called the hypothalamus which is responsible for regulating your appetite and food intake.
Leptin works as a signaling hormone whose role is to communicate with the hypothalamus. It informs the brain when you have enough fat stored and you need no more so that you can stop eating and burn calories at a normal rate. Other than this, leptin also has other functions associated with immunity, brain, and fertility. But mainly the leptin system evolves to prevent humans from overeating or starving.
What is leptin resistance?
Obese or overweight people often have unusually high levels of leptin in their blood. Sometimes the obese people can have 4 times leptin hormone in their blood in comparison to normal-weight people. Now you may be wondering that with the logic we told you earlier in which leptin reduces appetite, the obese who have high leptin levels should start eating less and hence lose weight. You are right in thinking this, but unfortunately, our body doesn’t work that way. Rather in obesity, the leptin system becomes faulty and doesn’t work the way it should.
This condition is known as leptin resistance. In leptin resistance, the leptin signaling gets impaired. Hence, your brain doesn’t get the message to stop eating, so it doesn’t realize that you have enough energy stored and continues eating. On the contrary, your brain thinks that you are still starving, so it will drive you to eat more. Hence, it is so difficult to lose weight and maintain it in the long term.
What causes leptin resistance?
There can be several potential mechanisms behind leptin resistance. However, most of these factors are amplified by weight gain or obesity. In short, you get trapped in a vicious cycle of weight gain and becoming leptin resistant gradually. Some of the causes are:
1. Inflammation: Inflammation signaling in your hypothalamus is an important cause of leptin resistance.
2. Free fatty acids: With the presence of elevated free fatty acids in your blood can increase fat metabolites in your brain, thereby interfering with leptin signaling.
3. High leptin levels: If you have elevated leptin levels, then this is the primary cause of leptin resistance.
How can we reverse leptin resistance?
Though there is no certain cure of how leptin resistance can be reversed, several researchers believe that following an overall healthy lifestyle and having a balanced diet can help. If you have a lot of body fat, especially in the belly area, then there are high chances that you are leptin resistant. Some things you can do are:
1. Avoid processed food: Highly processed food can be a cause for compromising the integrity of your gut and promoting inflammation.
2. Eat more of soluble fiber: Consumption of soluble fiber can improve your gut health and give you protection against obesity.
3. Do Proper exercise: You need to keep moving as physical activity can be one of the best ways of reversing leptin resistance.
4. Have a healthy sleeping schedule: Poor sleeping cycle can interfere with the proper functioning of leptin.
5. Reduce carb intake: Having a high carb intake can make you have high triglycerides which can further disrupt the transportation of leptin from your blood to the brain.
6. Promote protein in your diet: Eating protein-rich food will not only help in improving leptin resistance but will also help you feel full for longer and weight loss.
Making some healthy lifestyle and diet changes can help you manipulate leptin levels and experience weight loss!