Leptin For Weight Loss?
Today the internet is loaded with sites selling leptin supplements touting as the key to make you loss weight. You may have heard it referred to as the “fat hormone, obesity hormone or starvation hormone.”
What is leptin?
In 1994 after scientists discovered the hormone leptin there was a lot of excitement about the potential use in weight loss treatment in obesity.
“Leptin is a protein that’s made in the fat cell, circulates in the blood stream, and goes to the brain. Leptin is the way your fat cells tell your brain that your energy thermostat is set right.” Leptin tells your brain there is enough energy in your fat cells to provide for normal activity. Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco and a member of the Endocrine Society’s Obesity Task Force referred to “leptin as our starvation hormone.”
When our leptin level is high it tells the brain to suppress our appetite because there is sufficient energy stored in fat cells. You may say this is great but the problem each of us individuals have different genetically set threshold. When your leptin level is above that threshold the your brain tell you have energy to do your normal activity and eat the right amount of food.
Effects of Starvation Diet on Leptin Levels
What happens when people go on a starvation diet is you loss some amount of fat cells and this in turn decreases one’s blood leptin level. The low Lustig says, depending on your leptin threshold it will give your brain a sense of starvation. Then your brain will stimulate your vagus nerve which goes to your abdomen to give you a feeling of hunger to create more fat cell to restore your leptin levels.
Why Do People Keep On Gaining Weight
If one has more fat cells it would result in higher leptin levels, why do we keep on gaining weight. It is true fat people have large amount of leptin in their blood but their brains are not getting the important message that one have enough energy and one don’t have to eat the much food. We call this resistance to leptin, according to Lustig. It is just like insulin resistance in type II diabetes. In type II diabetes one has high levels of insulin but cells are insensitive to insulin.
What this tells us is if you are thinking to spending money of on supplement for leptin it may just be as good as flushing your money down the drain because your level of leptin is in the first place maybe already high but you have leptin resistance. Beside leptin is a protein which is digested in the stomack and destroyed before it enters the blood stream. Yet now you see the internet selling these supplements for weight loss.
The tried and true approuch of increasing intake of soluble fibers have long been known give a sense of fullness after eating. This is why eating more unprocessed foods high on fiber such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, lentils and whole grains are recommended. The less the processing of food the lower the glycemic index. As a people we have been overdosed with sugar while the food industry is running away with our money to the bank. If we cut down our sugar intake it would dramatically reduce insulin resistance or type II diabetes.
Cutting of sugar intake reduces the blood triglyceride level. Too high triglycerides Lustig says interferes with the transport of leptin to the brain. I know of people with high triglyceride and cholesterol who went into a regular exercise program significantly reduced their level.
Another suggestion is drinking more water especially one hour before eating and when you feel hungry. Drinking water with or too close to a meal especially ice water or cold water hampers the process of digesting food as it causes your blood vessels to shrink. This can slow down the process of digestion and as the food is not digested properly so the nutrients are lost or not absorbed by the body.
“A study of overweight women examined the effects of increasing water intake to over 1 liter (34 oz) per day. They found that over a 12-month period, this resulted in an extra 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of weight loss. Since these women didn’t make any lifestyle changes except to drink more water, these results are very impressive.”
“Slow down, you’re eating too fast. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is officially “comfortable” and that you should stop eating. If you eat slowly, the brain has a chance to catch up with the stomach, and you’re less likely to overeat.”
Why not Leptin Supplements?
Honestly after reading so-called advertising promotions on leptin made in the form of health fitness advice from folks claiming to nutritional and health fitness experts I was tempted to try their products. Luckily I did some research and found that there claims were rather not evidence based so I decided sharing this information with you before someone convinces you that leptin is indeed the magic bullet to lose weight.
Leptin For Weight Loss? ‘Caveat Emptor’ or let the buyer beware.
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