Leptin our Satiety Hormone

I'm actually amazed at how little our hormone Leptin is talked about especially when it comes to weight loss.

What is Leptin?

Well, it's one of the 7 main hormones I touched on in my blog '7 Hormones of Metabolism' In my research, I found these 7 hormones are the most important to help our metabolism burn calories. When they are not functioning correctly we can lose the battle with not only weight loss but hormone imbalance.

Leptin helps us feel full after eating, it signals the brain that we have sufficient body fat on board as fat cells release leptin in proportion to their number. The more fat cells we have. the more leptin we produce. If leptin levels are high, the brain reduces our appetite, and may also kick in processes that burn more calories. If levels are low, the reverse happens.

When working well this process keeps our body weight in check. The problem is the introduction to highly processed foods over the last few decades has left our Leptin hormone in a state of malfunction and we as humans are becoming leptin resistant!!

Research is ongoing into the exact mechanisms behind the development of Leptin resistance but eating too much processed food and its effect on inflammation is thought to be a key factor.

Let's look at someone who is struggling with obesity - they would have high levels of leptin in their blood as they have sufficient body fat so the brain should signal very little appetite. The problem is, the leptin is no longer effective. Their systems have become deaf to the message, they are now leptin resistant and therefore vulnerable to overeating

When your brain doesn’t receive the leptin signal, it erroneously thinks that your body is starving — even though it has more than enough energy stored.

This makes your brain change its behavior in order to regain body fat.

Your brain then encourages:

  • Eating more: Your brain thinks that you must eat in order to prevent starvation.

  • Reduced energy expenditure: In an effort to conserve energy, your brain decreases your energy levels and makes you burn fewer calories at rest.

Thus, eating more and exercising less is not the underlying cause of weight gain but rather a possible consequence of leptin resistance, a hormonal defect.

If you’re leptin-resistant, losing weight still reduces fat mass, which leads to a significant reduction in leptin levels — but your brain doesn’t necessarily reverse its leptin resistance.

When leptin goes down, this leads to hunger, increased appetite, reduced motivation to exercise and a decreased number of calories burned at rest (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).

Your brain then thinks that you are sta