The Facts

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that play a crucial role in regulating our energy balance and metabolism. When we consume more calories than we burn, our body stores surplus energy as fat, which causes an increase in leptin levels. The increase in leptin signals our brain that we have eaten enough or should be burning off this excess energy through exercise or other activities like sleeping. On the other hand, when we restrict ourselves from overeating food by dieting or starving ourselves, our body produces less leptin because it doesn’t need as much since there isn’t enough extra energy stored away in fat cells – then signals to our brain that it needs more fuel since there aren’t any reserves left over. The effects of leptin resistance are wide-ranging and affect virtually every aspect of human health, including sleep patterns, immune function, libido levels, and cognitive function, among many others.

The Science Behind Leptin

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that travel from the blood to the brain. When leptin levels are high, it tells the hypothalamus (the part of your brain that controls hunger) to stop eating. But if you have too much body fat and lots of leptin floating around in your bloodstream, your brain stops listening to it, the reason why researchers believe this happens during obesity. When leptin levels get too high, your body no longer responds appropriately.

Leptin resistance occurs when someone’s body stops responding to leptin signals from fat cells due to excess weight gain or high levels of circulating insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. After meals, insulin helps break down sugar into stored energy for future use as fuel by cells throughout the body. In turn, it can lead people to overeat without feeling full or sleepy after eating because they aren’t getting enough sleep at night.

What is Leptin?

Leptin is a hormone that is secreted by fat cells. It acts as an appetite suppressant and helps to regulate body weight. In addition, leptin regulates energy intake and expenditure, reproduction, immune function, and neuroendocrine function.
Leptin is secreted from fat cells and produced in the stomach and intestines. In addition to regulating food intake, leptin has been found to play a role in other processes like blood pressure regulation, bone formation, and muscle growth—even mood regulation!

Other functions of leptin

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells and released into the bloodstream. It helps regulate metabolism, feeding habits, and body temperature.
In response to fat storage in fat cells, leptin releases into the bloodstream, which travels to the brain. Leptin acts as a messenger that tells you when it’s time to eat (so you don’t get too hungry), how much food you need to stay full (so you don’t overeat), and how many calories should be burned during physical activity (so your body burns more calories than it stores).

How Does Leptin Affect Weight?

It’s released when you eat and tells the brain that you are full. Leptin also acts on receptors in the hypothalamus to slow down how quickly your metabolism burns calories.
So, when your body has more leptin circulating, it burns more energy at rest. But if this process gets out of whack as it does with resistance, it can be hard to lose weight or maintain that loss because even though leptin tells our bodies, they’re full after eating and should stop eating so much food, our bodies won’t listen!

How Leptin Resistance Turns On Hunger Signals

Leptin resistance is a condition in which the body cannot respond to the hormone leptin. Leptin plays a role in regulating metabolism and appetite, so when it’s not working correctly, you may experience weight gain or difficulty losing weight.
Leptin secretes by fat cells and acts as an appetite suppressant; it signals to your brain that you are full. So the more fat you have—especially around your middle—the more leptin will be secreted into your bloodstream, triggering satiety (feeling full). The problem with leptin resistance is that even though there is plenty of leptin available for the body to use, something prevents it from doing so effectively.

Helpful Ways to Prevent Leptin Resistance

To help prevent leptin resistance, you can:
Eat a diet that’s rich in healthy fats. Healthy fats include:
Coconut oil (coconut butter, coconut milk)
Olive oil
Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, chia seeds)

Ghrelin: “Leptin’s Hunger Partner”

The other important factor to remember is ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger. Like leptin, ghrelin levels rise before meals and fall after meals. But unlike leptin, which is lower in overweight people than lean individuals, ghrelin levels tend to be higher in obese people. So, obese people feel hungrier than lean ones even when they’re not—especially at night!

Quick Tip: Decrease Triglyceride Levels and Increase Protein Intake

Decrease triglyceride levels by eating more protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Adding more protein to your diet is a great way to increase satiety and trigger leptin release. Eating more fiber can also help improve leptin sensitivity, reducing your overall hunger and leading to weight loss. Healthy fats—like nuts, avocado, and fish oil supplements—help balance blood sugar levels so that you feel less hungry between meals while also improving metabolism, which allows you to burn fat faster.

Exercise regularly. Regular exercise helps build muscle mass while also improving insulin sensitivity and reducing inflammation throughout the body (including in the brain), all of which support healthy leptin production.

Take Away

While it may seem like a lot of work to keep your leptin levels in check and prevent leptin resistance, the payoff is worth it. Maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent many conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. If you’re having trouble losing weight but don’t want to go under the knife or take medication, consider trying some of these methods first!

I would love to hear your thoughts, so feel free to add your comments below.

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I am Mary, the founder of The Menopause Sisterhood. I have supported midlife women by sharing hard-earned learnings from her experience. To advance my knowledge, I have put a lot of time and effort into understanding the spectrum of women’s health. I am constantly researching the physical, mental and emotional aspects of menopause. I believe in the life-changing power of healthy, holistic living — this is where I anchor the message to all women. Learn more about my mission on the page, About Mary Santander.



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