What Causes Leptin Resistance And How To Reverse Its Effects
Many of our bodily functions are regulated by one hormone or another. So you may find it interesting that leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells, plays a key role in the regulation of energy intake and expenditure by telling your brain that you’re full. If a person gains too much weight in the form of fat, they start producing more leptin.
But rather than suppress your appetite and help burn more energy, leptin resistance can develop over time. It often does. If you eat too much and continue to gain weight, the body starts ignoring the signals that leptin sends to the brain because there’s just too much of it floating around. The effect is similar to the kind of tolerance to specific drugs that people develop when they keep taking too much of them.
What Causes Leptin Resistance?
There isn’t actually any single cause of leptin resistance. Many people simply live lifestyles where a number of factors contribute to leptin resistance and eventual weight gain.
“Most modern humans, having strayed far from their evolutionary diets, are metabolically deranged, with misguided or disrupted leptin pathways.” – Mark’s Daily Apple
Many of us consume a lot of simple carbohydrates and other highly processed foods that trigger the overproduction of leptin and dull the body’s sensitivity to it. High fructose foods are especially something you should avoid.
“Eating too much fructose can induce leptin resistance, a condition that can easily lead to becoming overweight when combined with a high-fat, high-calorie diet, according to a new study with rats. Although previous studies have shown that being leptin resistant can lead to rapid weight gain on a high-fat, high-calorie diet, this is the first study to show that leptin resistance can develop as a result of high fructose consumption. The study also showed for the first time that leptin resistance can develop silently, that is, with little indication that it is happening.” – Medical News Today:
But that’s not all.
“As leptin resistance increases so does insulin resistance. Blood sugar levels spike as over consumption becomes commonplace, causing increased insulin production which is a perfect setup for diabetes. In addition to simple carbs and over consumption, chronic stress and sedentary lifestyles also increase resistance to leptin.” – Natural News
Effects of Leptin Resistance
Leptin helps regulate satiety and energy intake, but it also regulates other things.
“Leptin was the first fat cell-derived hormone to be discovered. Subsequent studies confirmed that the db gene encodes the leptin receptor and that it is expressed in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain known to regulate the sensation of hunger and body weight.” – Wikipedia
This can explain why heavier children tend to reach puberty earlier than those who are leaner and why men and women with lower leptin levels both lose their sex drive earlier than those with more body fat.
How to Reverse or Prevent Leptin Resistance
Today’s lifestyle’s are typically sedentary, and with so much time spent at work, on commutes, and the family, the average person can rarely find time to exercise and just be active in general. Yet this is exactly what the body needs to counteract the effects of leptin resistance.
“A key factor for positive long-term health outcomes is to get moving and keep moving. A lack of physical activity increases the likelihood of leptin resistance as cortisol levels rise. Exercise helps to mitigate the effects cortisol has on the body and decrease resistance to leptin. This is why over time appetites decrease with routine moderate physical activity.” – Natural News
Start out by simply raising your activity levels. Don’t start working out right away as this will just put too much stress on the body. Instead, just try walking more. Park farther away in the parking lot from the entrance than you usually do. Walk rather than drive for those small errands. Make sure your body heals enough that it can handle the extra exertion the next time you go out to exercise. Once you’ve gotten used to the extra activity, start focusing on sprinting and weight-lifting so you can get the hormone benefits of more strenuous workouts. You’ll also want to work out at night so your hormone levels don’t get messed up.
In addition to defining and following a consistent workout plan, it is also be a good idea to to consider supplements. There are many, including including the Leptiburn supplement by BioTrust that can aid in getting your hormones on tract and working efficiently. Even still though, supplements should only be considered AFTER you are already working out and eating right.
Another thing you need to do to prevent leptin resistance is eliminate simple starches, refined foods and sugars from your diet. High fructose, sucrose, and other sugars should be avoided, not to mention anything that ends in -syrup. Needless to say, an ingredient like high fructose corn syrup should be avoided like the plague.
To help promote satiety, or that feeling of being full, consume a lot of proteins in the morning at breakfast. Proteins take longer to break down and they also provide the body with the building blocks it needs to make hormones.
“My go-to is a large scramble with 2-3 eggs, vegetables and leftover meat from the night before cooked in coconut oil.” – Wellness Mama
While eating healthy and exercising sounds easy enough, making them a habit can be difficult with as many unhealthy options as there are available to us, not to mention the limitations to our lifestyle. Fast food is ultra-accessible and inexpensive and we sit 8-9 hours at our desks and another couple of hours commuting to and from work on top of that. It requires a lot of discipline to be able to reduce sugar intake and burn what sugar and calories we do take in because many of our food options are abundant in sugar.
While leptin resistance is a complex problem, it’s not something that can’t be prevented or reversed. Awareness is certainly key, but discipline is especially more so. There are ways to tinker with your dietary intake so that even when you do get the urge to eat, you can make sure you are eating healthy.