Leptin Supplements for Weight Loss

Or is a leptin diet helpful with weight loss?

Woman with bowl of high fiber cereal

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Leptin is a hormone produced naturally in your body. Researchers are currently studying how the hormone may help you lose weight. Many eager dieters are choosing to take leptin supplements or follow a leptin diet to make weight loss easier. But the science doesn't necessarily support these practices.

What Is Leptin?

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

Leptin is a polypeptide hormone produced by adipose (fat) cells in your body.

Leptin sends signals to your brain to decrease your food intake and increase energy expenditure.

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 and Obesity

One important area of investigation that scientists 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 as 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. Many other appetite and hunger hormones play a role in what you eat and how much you eat. 

Researchers also know that other things affect your food intake, like food smells, food flavors, habits, reward systems, and even cultural traditions. So researchers can't say for certain that leptin resistance causes obesity.

Leptin Supplements

If you're trying to lose weight, you've certainly seen ads for leptin supplements online or in magazines. The ads claim to 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 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

Another popular trend is the leptin diet. Scientists have investigated different types of foods that might help you 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:

  • Choosing foods that are low in sugar. Some scientists have found a link between insulin levels and leptin. You may be able to improve leptin levels in your body by controlling blood sugar and insulin. Choose foods that are minimally processed and contain less added sugar.
  • Decrease saturated fat intake. Researchers also think that high triglyceride levels might interfere with the healthy transport of leptin. So they suggest that you try to decrease your triglycerides by eating less saturated fat.
  • Eat foods that are high in fiber. Fiber is not known to have an impact on leptin levels, but fiber-rich foods have a similar effect. When you eat foods higher in fiber, the fiber helps you feel full faster and stay satisfied longer to eat less.
  • Sleep well. Studies have shown that getting a good night's sleep helps boost leptin levels. Make changes to your daily routine to rest well at night.

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.

Until researchers know more about the relationship between leptin and weight loss, healthy diet changes might be the best way to boost your body's potential to slim down.

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Article Sources
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