Leptin is the hormone that regulates hunger and satiety. It’s responsible for regulating energy intake and expenditure.
If leptin levels are too high, you’ll eat too much and gain weight; if leptin levels are too low, you’ll suffer from anorexia nervosa.
Many people struggle with their appetite, and the leptin hormone plays a crucial role in controlling this.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at leptin, its effects on appetite, and 13 great tips on how to increase leptin safely.
What is leptin?
Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells (adipose cells). It tells your brain when there’s enough food around for you to eat. When you have too much or not enough leptin, you get hungry again soon after eating.
The more weight you gain, the less leptin you produce. But if you lose weight, your body will start producing more leptin because you need more energy from food. This means that people who are overweight tend to feel hungrier than those with healthy body weight.
Why do you need leptin?
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to always be starving while others never seem to be hungry? We can go days without feeling any desire to eat anything. And then suddenly, out of nowhere, we find ourselves ravenous! Why does our metabolism change like this?
It’s simple; hunger hormones (aka satiety hormones) tell us what to eat but they don’t control whether or not we actually want to eat something. The reason is that one part of the brain controls appetite regulation and motivation. That is where the hypothalamus resides.
Leptin works exactly opposite to insulin. The action of Insulin is to make you store calories in your muscles and liver. The role of Leptin is to tell your brain to burn off stored fats and carbohydrates instead. When you stop taking in calories, your body starts burning up its own reserves. Your body doesn’t care whether you ate them or not, just that you stopped consuming them. As long as your body has no fuel left, it burns whatever it needs to keep itself alive.
In other words, it uses up everything inside your stomach first before moving on to use up the rest of your organs. This process takes place over several hours. During this period, your blood sugar levels drop down slowly until eventually, they reach zero. Once your glucose level drops below 100mg per deciliter, your pancreas releases another hormone called glucagon. Glucagon causes your liver to break down glycogen stores for energy.
How Is Leptin Produced?
Leptin is produced primarily in adipose tissue cells. The amount of leptin released into the bloodstream depends largely on the size of the person’s overall calorie intake. So, for example, someone who eats 1,000 calories per day will release roughly 10 times more leptin than someone who consumes 500 calories each day.
In addition, certain hormones can also affect leptin levels. For instance, thyroid hormones increase leptin secretion. Conversely, cortisol suppresses it.
The Role Of Leptin On Sleep Patterns
One interesting aspect of leptin’s relationship to sleep is that it seems to have opposite effects depending upon what time of day you’re measuring. Studies indicate that people tend to get more sleepy during the early morning hours than at night. This suggests that leptin levels are highest around midnight and lowest right before waking up.
On the flip side, leptin levels rise throughout the day, peaking near lunchtime. That means you’re likely to experience less drowsiness later in the afternoon.
Leptin and Melatonin
As far as sleeping goes, one theory holds that leptin helps keep us alert by suppressing melatonin secretion. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland located deep within the center of the skull. It promotes restful sleep by inhibiting wakefulness-promoting chemicals called histamines.
Melatonin is released at night, peaks between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., then drops again until dawn. But leptin suppresses melatonin release all day long. Since leptin rises steadily throughout the day, it keeps melatonin low even when you’re not sleeping.
Leptin and Ghrelin
That said, leptin itself doesn’t seem to promote sleep. Instead, it works indirectly through another hormone known as ghrelin. Ghrelin stimulates appetite and increases your desire to snack. When leptin levels drop, ghrelin surges, triggering cravings for food.
The combination of these two hormones makes sense because both help control body fat stores. As you start losing weight, leptin levels decrease, leading to increased ghrelin activity. In turn, ghrelin causes an increase in appetite.
What is leptin resistance?
When our bodies can no longer make up for the lack of leptin, they experience hunger pangs every time they eat something. That’s called “leptin resistance.” And while some people may just ignore their cravings, others find themselves bingeing on junk foods like ice cream and chips instead of healthy options such as fruits and vegetables.
Factors affecting leptin resistance
Leptin resistance could be due to many factors including genetics, lifestyle choices, diet, stress levels, sleep patterns, etc. The most common cause seems to be overeating. People who consume an unhealthy amount of calories often develop leptin resistance.
In fact, studies show that obese women and men have higher amounts of leptin circulating in their bloodstream compared to leaner ones. Researchers believe that high concentrations of leptin trigger the production of ghrelin in the gut. Ghrelin stimulates the release of growth hormones that tell us how hungry we should be. The higher the Ghrelin levels, the hungrier you become.
But here’s where things get tricky: People with obesity have increased leptin levels and suppressed ghrelin secretion. Therefore, even though you might want to eat, you don’t actually feel hungry. Instead, you end up craving sugary snacks and fatty foods.
To avoid your cravings:
1. Eat smaller meals throughout the day.
2. Consume protein-rich foods at each meal. Protein helps stabilize blood sugars so you won’t crave sweets later. If you are unsure, you can consult a nutritionist for a simple diet plan.
3. Avoid processed carbs. These include white bread, pasta, rice cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries, soda, candy bars, doughnuts, muffins, bagels, pizza crust, potato chips, pretzels, corn flakes, granola bars, cake mixes, and frozen waffles. They spike your blood sugar quickly and leave you wanting more.
4. Drink plenty of water. Water keeps you hydrated and flushes toxins through your system. Plus, it boosts serotonin levels, making you happier overall.
5. Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity improves your mood and reduces anxiety. Even a simple exercise program can do wonders.
Can leptin resistance be reversed?
Yes! In fact, many people who have been overweight their entire lives are able to lose weight simply by following an exercise program. This includes those with type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary disease, and even obesity-related cancer.
The key here is that these patients’ bodies no longer produce excess amounts of leptin. As a result, they’re less likely to become resistant to its effects.
This means that when you start exercising regularly, you should see improvements in both your moods and appetite. You’ll probably notice that you don’t need nearly as much food at meals anymore. But more importantly, you’ll find yourself craving healthier options instead of junk food.
If you’d rather not rely solely on dieting to control your appetite, consider taking supplements designed specifically to boost leptin production.
Why Are Some People More Sensitive Than Others?
There are two main reasons why some individuals experience higher leptin levels than others. First, genetics play a role. If you inherit genes that cause increased leptin sensitivity, then you’ll naturally respond well to dietary changes. On the other hand, if you inherited genes that lead to decreased leptin sensitivity, then you might end up feeling hungrier after losing weight.
Second, lifestyle factors such as physical activity level and sleep patterns can influence leptin levels. In general, those with sedentary lifestyles tend to produce less leptin because they don’t burn many calories throughout the course of their daily lives.
Can You Over-Produce Leptin?
Yes! This happens when an overweight person loses significant amounts of body fat. As a result, his/her metabolism slows down significantly. Consequently, he/she produces fewer calories than normal.
Can You Under-Produce Leptin Levels?
No. It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes obese patients develop hypoleptinemia. Hypo-leptinemia occurs when a patient has lost large quantities of weight without reducing caloric intake.
Should I Be Concerned About Low Leptin Levels?
Most experts agree that most healthy adults should maintain between 5 and 15 ng/ml of serum leptin. Anything below 5 ng/ml indicates that you need to lose weight. But anything above 15 ng/ml suggests that you probably already have sufficient leptin circulating through your system.
Will Eating Too Much Cause Me To Lose Weight?
This isn’t necessarily true. While excessive food consumption certainly contributes to obesity, it won’t always trigger weight loss. Instead, it tends to slow metabolic rate.
Can Leptin Supplements Help You Lose Weight?
The best way to lose weight is by eating less than what you burn off during daily activities. This means cutting back on calorie intake or increasing your metabolism. But if you’re not sure which one works better for you, then consider trying out leptin supplements first.
A study published in Obesity Reviews found that overweight women taking 1 gram of synthetic human leptin lost about 2 pounds after 12 weeks. In addition, those participants experienced significant improvements in body composition and metabolic parameters.
Another study conducted by researchers from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine showed similar results when comparing two groups of men. One group took 3 grams of natural human leptin once a week; the other consumed placebo pills. After eight months, both groups had reduced their waist circumference by 5 inches but only the leptin users saw greater reductions in total body fat percentage.
So why does leptin work?
It turns out that leptin plays a key role in regulating appetite. When you take leptin supplements, your brain receives signals telling it that there isn’t enough food available. As a result, you start feeling full sooner and stop consuming unnecessary calories.
If you’ve been struggling to shed excess pounds, you’ll probably agree that losing weight requires a lot of willpower. However, research shows that supplementing your diet with leptin will help boost self-control because it makes you feel fuller faster. Leptin also has an effect on sleep patterns. A recent study revealed that obese individuals who were given 10 milligrams of leptin before bedtime reported fewer nighttime awakenings compared to those who didn’t receive any treatment. The same dose was shown to reduce daytime naps as well.
In fact, leptin may be responsible for some of our most basic instincts like hunger and thirst. For example, scientists believe that this hormone regulates how much fluid we drink. And since dehydration leads to fatigue, leptin could play a part in determining whether you fall asleep easily or struggle to stay awake.
Why Are Some People More Obese Than Others?
There are several reasons why some individuals become more prone to gaining extra pounds over others. Genetics plays a role here. For example, if one parent was extremely heavy while another was lean, then chances are good that offspring will inherit traits associated with both parents. Also, certain diseases, medications, and other health conditions can cause someone to gain weight easily.
How To Increase Leptin – 13 Ways To Control Hunger
It is important to increase leptin sensitivity because it is a key player in weight loss. The work of adiponectin and leptin are important factors to consider when trying to increase your leptin levels.
- Get enough sleep: Studies have shown that insufficient sleep leads to a drop in leptin levels and increased appetite
- Manage Stress: Avoid stress whenever possible. Stress causes cortisol to rise, which leads to lower leptin levels.
- Exercise: Exercise does seem to raise leptin levels temporarily. Studies show that exercise boosts leptin production by approximately 50 percent. However, once you stop exercising, leptin levels drop back to baseline.
- Adopt portion-controlled eating methods. This method involves measuring portions sizes so that you know exactly what you’re putting into your mouth. It’s not just about counting calories anymore! You should eat until you are satisfied rather than overeating.
- Avoid food with high-sugar content. If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, you might want to try avoiding foods with added sugar. Sugar triggers the release of insulin, which increases fat storage.
- Say no to simple carbs. Simple carbohydrates include white bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc. These types of foods trigger the body to store energy instead of burning them off.
- Avoid inflammatory foods. Limit foods that cause inflammation, especially sugary drinks and trans fats.
- Eat foods rich in protein generally boost leptin levels. Protein foods include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, beans, nuts, seeds, soybeans, tofu, lentils, peas, etc.
- Leptin Supplement: In one study, women on a weight-loss diet who took alpha-lipoic acid and fish oil lost more weight and had a smaller decrease in leptin than those in a control group
- Avoid severe calorie restriction/calorie deficit. In fact, leptin may be responsible for some of our most basic instincts like hunger and thirst. For example, scientists believe that this hormone regulates how much fluid we drink. And since dehydration leads to fatigue, leptin could play a part in regulating our desire to stay hydrated.
- Lower your triglycerides. Triglyceride levels are often elevated in people with obesity or diabetes. TG levels also tend to go up as blood glucose goes down during fasting. High TGs lead to low HDL cholesterol, which makes heart disease riskier.
- Don’t yo-yo diet. When you start losing weight, don’t immediately put yourself right back on track with an extreme diet. Instead, gradually ease back into healthier habits. Increase fiber intake. Fiber helps keep us feeling full longer after meals.
- Consider taking medication. Symlin and Byetta are both designed to help with the control of the resistance that comes with type 2 diabetes. If you have one of these two, you may have the other because they have the added benefit of boosting leptin sensitivity. If you want to know if one of these medications is the right one for you, you should talk to your doctor. Your doctor can determine leptin levels. They will be able to see it if something is off. The first thing they will tell you is to work on your diet and lifestyle; there is no easy way out when it comes to regulating leptin, and medication is not an easy way out.
If you think you have leptin resistance, you need to see a doctor. If you exceed 300 pounds in weight, you may have leptin resistance, so you have to see your doctor.
Section 3: Conclusion
Leptin is a key component in managing the energy stores in the body, but it is not the sole factor in influencing your appetite and how much energy is stored in the body.
Incorporating healthy habits into your life can make a big difference in the leptin balance in your life. Eating a wide range of healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and surrounding yourself with a supportive community may be included.