Yay!! I’ve lost 25.6 pounds total so far with 54.4 pounds to go to reach my goal! My BMI has dropped from 36.9 to 33.1 and my goal BMI is 24.9.
Natural Weight Loss
Metabolic Hormone #11: Leptin
Scientists used to believe fat cells were just big blobs of yuck waiting to get bigger or smaller.
Now they know our fat is an enormous endocrine gland, actively producing and reacting to hormones.
While scientists continue to identify more and more fat cell hormones every day, perhaps the best studied of these hormones is leptin.
Where Leptin Is Produced: Fat cells.
Leptin is a protein, made by fat cells, that’s controlled by an influential gene called the ob gene.
Leptin works with other hormones – thyroid, cortisol, and insulin – to help your body figure out how hungry it is, how fast it’ll burn off the food you eat, and if it’ll hang on to (or let go of) weight.
How Leptin Impacts Metabolism: You have receptors for leptin scattered everywhere, but your brain is where this hormone is most active.
When you’ve eaten a meal, the fat cells throughout your body release this hormone.
Leptin travels to your hypothalamus, the part of your brain that helps regulate appetite, and bonds with leptin receptors there.
These receptors control the production of neuropeptides, small signaling proteins that switch our appetites on and off.
One of the most well known of these is neuropeptide Y, the peptide that turns on the appetite and turns down the metabolic rate.
Leptin switches off neuropeptide Y, switches on appetite-suppressing signals, and your body gets the message to stop being hungry and start burning more calories.
When it’s working the right way, leptin also helps your body tap in to longer-term fat stores and reduce them.
But when leptin signaling doesn’t work, you keep eating because you never feel like you’ve had enough food.
In addition to the leptin release you get after eating, your body also experiences a leptin surge overnight, while you sleep.
This leptin surge boosts your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone, which helps the thyroid release thyroxine.
How Leptin Gets Out of Whack: Leptin can go wrong in several ways.
One, you could be born with low levels of leptin.
Scientists have found a mutation of the ob gene hurts our leptin production; this mutation causes certain children to become severely obese.
Simple supplementation with leptin usually helps these children maintain a healthy weight.
This condition is extremely rare – you would definitely know by now if you had it.
Believe it or not, low levels are not our biggest leptin problem.
Researchers are finding many people who are overweight actually have very high levels of leptin.
How could this be?
Well, the more fat you have, the more leptin you produce.
And similar to what happens in insulin resistance, when your body continually cranks out excess levels of leptin – in response to overeating – the receptors for leptin can start to get worn out and no longer recognize it.
People with leptin resistance have high levels of circulating leptin, but their receptors can’t accept it, neuropeptide Y never gets shut off, they remain hungry, and their metabolism slows down.
This high level of neuropeptide Y also interferes with your T4 activity, further damaging your metabolism.
Leptin resistance and insulin resistance go hand in hand, but just like with insulin resistance, if you lose a bit of weight, your body will become more sensitive to leptin and it will start acting the way it was intended to – to help you push away from the table and say, “Enough!”
We’ll talk about ghrelin in the next post.
Come join me on my weight loss journey! I’d love to have you along!
Have an awesome day!
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If you’d like to read Jillian’s book, you can get it here: Master Your Metabolism: The 3 Diet Secrets to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones for a Hot and Healthy Body!
Dick and Lenay
email: Lenay@dickandlenay.com – 715-431-0657