Leptin and Weight Control

leptin-woman-using-a-scaleHormones vs. Calories – For many who struggle with diet, weight loss and weight control, the problem is one of hormones rather than a simple calories in – calories out. Hormones control metabolism and one in particular, leptin, directly affects body fat storage and obesity. The more of this hormone your body produces, the more fat your body will burn.

Unfortunately, there are two distinct roadblocks in this simple leptin – fat burning path.

First, when you begin dieting, your body senses this decrease in calories as a threat, a potential starvation situation that requires the storing of fat as future fuel in order to make it through these lean times.

As a result, its levels drop by 50% in the first seven days of your diet and continues to decline. As a direct result, fat burning also decreases by 50% and continues to decline and appetite increases as there is no leptin signal indicating fullness.

Starving yourself increases hunger and cravings not only because you are literally hungry, but also because your brain is not receiving its leptin signal and signals you that you MUST eat to survive.

The second problem is leptin resistance which may be the leading cause of obesity over and above excess calories. Normally, it is released by fat cells and signals your brain at the hypothalamus that you are full, satisfied and not hungry.

It is referred to as the “satiety” hormone as it controls appetite, telling us we are or are not hungry. A person who is obese has large fat stores, and these large stores of fat cells release abnormally large amounts of this hormone, so much that the brain begins to ignore it and its “I’m full, not hungry” signals. Without that signal, you will be constantly hungry, eat more and store more fat.

A secondary cause of leptin resistance is a lifelong history of obesity or large fat deposits directly related to fast foods, junk foods, and fried processed flours and sugars. What leptin your body produces just can’t compete with your unhealthy dietary habits and simply can’t do its job as your body has grown resistant. This type of leptin resistance responds well to supplementation and the introduction of additional leptin into your system to correct the imbalance.

Leptin resistance is very similar to insulin resistance. Constantly high blood sugar leads to constantly high insulin levels; the insulin is no longer effective against the increasing sugar level, leading to even HIGHER sugar levels in the bloodstream.

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