Is leptin resistance stopping you from losing weight?

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Leptin is a hormone made by your fat cells that tells your brain when you have enough body fat. This is supposed to prevent overeating and help you maintain a healthy body weight. Leptin resistance is a condition where the brain no longer responds to   this signal, which may contribute to obesity. Weight gain and loss is about much more than calories, exercise and willpower. Leptin is a hormone with a powerful effect on appetite and weight loss. In fact, leptin resistance is now believed to be the leading driver of fat gain in humans.

Leptin is often referred to as the satiety hormone. Its primary target is an area of the brain called the hypothalamus. Leptin is supposed to tell your brain that you have enough fat stores on your body and you don’t need to eat any more food. In some overweight people, leptin has been so high for so long that the brain no longer responds to it. This is a problem because a person with leptin resistance can feel dissatisfied after a meal. They continue to feel hungry and would like to eat more.

Leptin is produced by your fat cells. The more body fat you carry, the more leptin you’ll produce, which you can eventually become resistant to. If copious amounts of leptin are present, the brain no longer notices it. When your brain doesn’t receive the leptin signal, it mistakenly thinks that your body is starving even though it has more than enough energy stored. This can increase hunger and cause a person to burn fewer calories when they exercise.

 What Causes Leptin Resistance?

One or more of the following factors may be responsible:

  • Eating more carbohydrate than your body can tolerate. Each person has a different carbohydrate tolerance level. It declines as we age, and particularly after menopause in women.
  • Chronic inflammation. This can be caused by autoimmune disease, elevated insulin, food intolerance and chronic injuries.
  • Sleep deprivation, either caused by insufficient quantity or poor quality sleep.
  • Disturbed circadian rhythm. This can be caused by insufficient time spent outdoors, looking at phone or computer screens late at night, and wearing sunglasses.

Most of these factors are amplified by being overweight.

 Strategies for reversing leptin resistance and losing weight

  • Avoid processed food as much as possible. Highly processed foods may compromise the integrity of your gut by causing leaky gut, and driving up inflammation. If you know you have gut health problems, Gut Health powder is specifically formulated to repair a leaky gut.
  • Exercise: Physical activity has been shown to help reverse leptin resistance.
  • Try to make sleep a priority. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep. If your sleep quality is poor, magnesium may help.
  • Keep your carb intake low and make sure you’re consuming adequate protein with each meal. Meat, seafood, poultry, eggs and watery vegetables are all low carb foods. Synd-X Protein powder is a delicious and convenient way to ensure you’re getting enough protein while busy.
  • If you are suffering with a health problem that raises inflammation in your body, try to address that. Inflammation can stand in the way of weight loss because it makes it harder for leptin and insulin to function properly. There is a great deal of helpful information in our book Healing Autoimmune Disease: A plan to help your immune system and reduce inflammation.
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