Every primary function in the body is controlled by hormones. Whether it is breathing, sleeping or sex, hormones are essential components.
Today, we will be talking about an important hormone called leptin.
What exactly is leptin?
Its principal function is to send signals to the brain indicating that you are full; hence no more food should be ingested. This is why it is sometimes called the satiety hormone.
It acts in direct opposition to the hunger hormone ghrelin.
Because of its functions, leptin plays a vital role in obesity and weight loss.
Most people attempting to lose weight are unaware of how significant part this hormone plays in gaining or losing fat. By understanding how it works and can be controlled, you will see better results from your weight loss efforts.
Leptin’s Role On Your Metabolism And Appetite
Being a satiety hormone, leptin works to lower your appetite when it detects an imbalance in energy levels during a meal. It essentially tells your brain that the body has had enough food for its energy needs.
Consequently, it reduces your appetite, thus pushing away the feeling of hunger. This is why you stop feeling hungry after a meal.
If the hormone wasn’t present or was not functioning well (as we will see shortly), there is a tendency that you would overeat.
Leptin also regulates the rate of fat breakdown, a process referred to as metabolism.
When the level of leptin goes up, metabolism rises too. This means more fat is broken down, and you lose more weight.
If the opposite happens – the hormone level drops – metabolism slows down with it. More fat is stored in the body that is broken down. The end result is often weight gain and, in severe cases, obesity.
As we will see below, things can get dire if leptin levels go too high. At that point, weight loss becomes a more significant challenge.
About Leptin Resistance
Usually, an increase in leptin levels in the body leads to reduced appetite and higher metabolism.
Sometimes, however, things get out of control, and leptin rises beyond its normal limits. This often occurs when you start gaining weight.
The body responds by producing more leptin from fat cells to try and achieve energy homeostasis or balance.
With time, the brain may stop listening to leptin. It becomes immune to signals from this hormone, and thus, leptin resistance occurs. So even when you eat a lot of food, leptin cannot communicate that it is complete to your brain.
Without the satiated feeling we all rely on to stop eating, you will likely keep on ingesting food. Even when there is a lot of energy stored in the body in the form of fat cells, you still feel hungry and crave food, especially high-calorie foods.
Obesity is highly likely to be the resultant condition.
Researchers are still trying to figure out how exactly leptin resistance happens. It could be a problem with leptin receptors or a change in how the hormone crosses into the brain.
Junk food, poor sleeping habits, and lack of adequate exercise are widely considered contributing factors in leptin resistance development.
Whatever the cause, experts agree that leptin resistance is a major issue in obesity and weight loss.
How To Boost This Fat Burning Hormone
Leptin can be a big help when you want to lose weight. In the right amount, it triggers sustained high metabolism, leading to more and faster fat breakdown.
If you suspect you already have leptin resistance, the first step is to reverse it. Just like insulin resistance in Type 2 Diabetes, leptin resistance can be changed by a combination of diet and regular exercise.
The secret is to stop forcing fat cells to over-excrete this hormone.
Avoid foods high in empty calories as they tend to trigger the production of excess leptin. Focus mainly on a healthy diet and combine it with regular workouts, and you will soon have leptin back to normal levels.
The next and most crucial step is to keep using leptin to your advantage.
Remember, you want your metabolism to remain in high gear. A high – but not excessive – level of leptin in your body will help you achieve this, thus ensuring that you burn fat quickly.
Additionally, more leptin means less appetite. You are less likely to overeat or binge on empty-calorie foods.
Here are a few simple tips to help you keep leptin levels at the right level.
• Follow a healthy diet.
Eating the right foods triggers the body to ramp up its leptin production to just the proper levels.
One of these leptin-increasing foods is lean proteins. Eating fish, chicken breast, eggs, and other lean proteins keep you satiated for longer. This is because they trigger the body to produce more leptin.
In the case of fish such as salmon, it contains omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to improve your body’s sensitivity to leptin, something that can help reduce or prevent leptin resistance.
• Leafy greens and vegetables.
Eat plenty of them with your meals. They will keep you full for hours and help maintain a high level of leptin in the body.
The result is fewer calories going in, satiation through the day, and non-stop fat burning.
• Pack yourself full in fiber.
Fill your diet with high-fiber meals. Fiber travels through your digestive tract slowly, making you feel full for hours on end.
The body then sends signals to fat cells to produce more leptin to notify your brain that there is still no need for more food.
• Sleep well.
Sleep is crucial to keep your hormones from getting out of whack. It also helps lower stress levels, which is vital since having too much stress can cause hormonal imbalances.
• Exercise regularly.
This one is a no brainer. We all know that doing regular exercise is beneficial to your health and to your weight.
Regular exercise will not only boost your metabolism but will also keep your entire body, including hormones functioning smoothly.
Traditionally, weight gain has been linked only to exercise and diet. Over the years, however, researchers have discovered various other complex factors at play deep within your body.
Leptin is one such factor.
When you are trying to lose weight, you need all the help you can get to burn that stubborn fat. Leptin hormone can be a great aid when you use it correctly.
It is simple: keep your leptin levels, keep your appetite low, keep the fat burning and lose weight.