Will Leptin Help You Lose Weight?

Should you take a leptin supplement or try a leptin diet for weight loss?

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Leptin is a polypeptide hormone that is produced by adipose (fat) cells in your body. The leptin hormone sends signals to your brain to decrease your food intake and increase energy expenditure. Researchers are currently studying leptin and weight loss to understand how the hormone may help you to lose weight. 

Leptin: Definition and Uses for Weight Loss

Your body produces many hormones that help you to eat the right amount of food and maintain a healthy weight.

Leptin is one of them. The hormone leptin is produced by your fat cells. When you have more fat, you produce more leptin.

After your fat cells produce leptin, it travels through the bloodstream to the hypothalamus.  The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that regulates hunger, thirst, mood and many other physical functions. 

When leptin receptors in the hypothalamus interact with the hormone leptin, they send satiety signals to your brain that you have enough energy (fat) stored away. Energy stores are fat stores. Leptin is your body's way of telling your brain that you can stop eating because you have all the stored energy (fat) that you need. 

Leptin has other functions in your body, but most dieters and healthy eaters are most interested in leptin for weight loss. Researchers began studying leptin in the 1990s and continue to investigate ways that the hormone may help you to lose weight and keep the pounds off.

Leptin Resistance and Obesity

One important area of investigation that scientist have studied is leptin resistance. Some researchers believe that leptin resistance is the reason people who are obese have a harder time eating less and losing weight.

So how does leptin resistance work? Researchers aren't exactly certain, but they know that leptin levels are higher in people who are obese.

But despite the higher levels of the hormone, the satiety signals don't seem to work the same way they work in leaner people. In short, the messages that tell your brain to stop eating and start burning more calories don't work like they should even though your leptin levels are high.

But the idea of leptin resistance is controversial because scientists don't know exactly how the hormone interacts with other factors. There many other appetite and hunger hormones that play a role in what you eat and how much you eat. Researchers also know that there are other things that affect your food intake, like food smells, food flavors, habits, reward systems and even cultural traditions. So they can't say for certain that leptin resistance causes obesity.  

Leptin Supplements for Weight Loss

If you're trying to lose weight, you've certainly seen ads for leptin supplements online or in magazines. The ads claim to help you boost your leptin levels or fix your leptin resistance. But these pills don't contain the hormone leptin. Most of the diet pills simply contain trendy ingredients, like green tea or fiber, that may help you to feel full or burn more calories. 

So should you try a leptin supplement to lose weight?

Since researchers don't fully understand leptin and leptin resistance, it's unlikely that an online company has it figured out. If you suspect that your leptin levels are off or that you suffer from leptin resistance, your best bet is to talk to your doctor about hormonal tests or other treatments to help you lose weight.

The Leptin Diet to Lose Weight

Another popular trend is the leptin diet. Scientists have looked into different types of foods that might help you to control leptin to lose weight.  For example, one study showed that a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet increased leptin levels more than a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet.

But there is no evidence that a specific diet can help you make the right amount of leptin or cure leptin resistance.

Some experts suggest that you make small daily food and habit changes to boost leptin in your body. These changes may include:

Of course, there is no guarantee that this "leptin diet" will fix or change your leptin levels. And if it did, you may not even know about it. Leptin levels can only be measured in a lab with a blood test. But these healthy diet changes cost nothing, they have no negative side effects, and they provide other weight loss benefits. So, until researchers know more about the relationship between leptin and weight loss, they might be the best way to boost your body's potential to slim down.


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