The condition in which the body does not responds to leptin hormone, which is known to control appetite, is known as leptin resistance. Find out more in this NutriNeat article.
Various hormones control the metabolic processes that take place in our body. The hormone leptin controls your appetite. When cells in the body do not respond to leptin, the condition is termed as leptin resistance. People diagnosed with this disorder find it difficult to lose weight. As the cells do not respond to leptin, the person tends to overeat and chances of gaining weight increase considerably. This sometimes results in excessive levels of male hormones in women. Here follows necessary information which can help break the vicious cycle of obesity and overeating, induced by low sensitivity to leptin.
What is Leptin and Where is it Produced
Scientists came to know about leptin in 1994. Leptin is a protein hormone that regulates your feeding behavior and hunger. It governs your daily calorie intake and energy expenditure. It controls your appetite through hypothalamus in the brain, and regulates body metabolism. Thus it regulates your weight. Leptin also plays an important role in fat metabolism, formation and growth of new blood cells, blood vessel formation and immune function. It is correctly termed as ‘master hormone’. Leptin, the master hormone, is secreted by the fatty tissue or adipose tissue. Fat cells from your body release leptin. It informs the brain about the degree of hunger and thus governs fat deposition.
What is Leptin Resistance and What are its Symptoms
Leptin reaches brain through bloodstream. There on it regulates the appetite by sending signals through specific neurons from the hypothalamus. It sends the signals and informs the body that currently there is no hunger and there is no need to eat. Thus leptin helps curb the physical desire for food. Leptin is the hormone which determines the rate and degree of hunger that you experience. If your body does not pay attention to the signals regarding hunger and intake of food, released by the hypothalamus, you are said to have developed ‘leptin resistance’. When cells stop accepting leptin messages, you experience excessive hunger pangs.
This leads to difficulty in losing weight. As explained above, leptin informs your brain that you are full. With more fat on your body, more will the leptin resist to tell your brain that you are satiated. The vicious cycle of obesity and leptin resistance is difficult to break. Increased fatigue, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), increased blood pressure levels, increasing waistline, weight gain, high body fat, excess abdominal fat, obesity, darkening of skin around the neck, armpits and folds, stretch marks, etc., are commonly noticed symptoms of affected leptin sensitivity. Women may notice symptoms like acne, infertility, abnormal menstrual cycles, and growth of facial hair. These symptoms in women resemble the symptoms of Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
Diagnoses and Effects
Various tests help diagnose low sensitivity to leptin. Fasting blood sugar test, AC1 test (average of blood sugar levels measured during three months), PAI-1 (Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1), CRP test (C-reactive Protein), urine test, TSH (thyroid hormone) test, measuring cholesterol levels, androgen levels, ultrasound checking of liver for fat deposition, etc., can help diagnose leptin resistance. Women with ovarian cysts and endometrium are likely to have decreased leptin sensitivity.
Loss of leptin sensitivity may lead to chronic inflammatory condition which may in turn increase the chances of developing diabetes and dementia. It can affect your heart health seriously. It can result in growth of cancer or one may suffer from strokes. It can cause life-threatening obesity, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases and fertility problems.
The treatment consists of specific diet and medications. Medications used to control type 2 diabetes (for example, Byetta and Symlin) are used to treat this condition. These medicines promote weight loss and help break the vicious cycle of obesity and low sensitivity to leptin. One should consult a physician for correct dosage, in order to avoid side effects of these medications. Extract of an African herb Irvingia gabonensis helps improve leptin sensitivity. The diet that is designed to get rid of the symptoms of this condition involves consumption of foods rich in ‘good fat’. Monounsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, olives and dark chocolate are listed under ‘good fat’ foods. People diagnosed with this disorder should strictly avoid high carb diet or foods high in saturated fat. Junk food, all types of sugars and sweets, breads, grains, cereals, starchy vegetables, pasta should not be included in the diet of leptin resistant people.
I hope that you found the above information on how leptin promotes lean body mass helpful. Leptin is necessary to maintain a lean body. If you are finding it difficult to lose weight, you should exercise regularly and should try to reduce body fat. You may consult your physician for improving leptin sensitivity.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.