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  • Writer's pictureKaren Bobinski

Are you Leptin resistant ?

leptin resistance contributes to obesity

Are you struggling to lose you find you are hungrier ...having difficulty feeling satiated, and lacking the energy to work out?

This may be the result of a hormone called Leptin - and a condition known as "Leptin Resistance".

Leptin Resistance is a condition in which your body does not recognize or respond to this hormone - which is released from your "fat cells".

Leptin is a signaling system that targets the brain - particularly the hypothalamus. It is supposed to tell your brain that you have enough fat stored, and therefore do not have to consume more, and can burn calories at a normal rate.

It's main role is longterm energy regulation, by controlling the caloric intake and expenditure, as well as the amount of fat you store.

the leptin system evolved to keep our ancestors alive !

Typically, when you eat, your body fat goes up...leading your leptin levels to increase thus you eat less and burn more. In reverse, when you don't eat, your body fat goes down...dropping your leptin levels and signaling you to eat more and burn less.

Because Leptin is created in your fat cells, those with excess fat stores will have higher leptin levels. By nature - leptin - if working properly - should then signal your body to eat less, however, this is where leptin resistance comes in.

Copious leptin may be present - but the brain simply doesn't see it.

Leptin Resistance is now considered one of the main biological contributors to obesity. This causes your brain to signal change to regain the body fat it "thinks" it is missing due to it's inability to "see" the leptin.

This leptin "blindness" encourages your body to:

~ EAT MORE as your brain thinks it is starving.

~ CONSERVE ENERGY thereby decreasing your energy levels and amount of energy you burn at rest.

Leptin resistance is a HORMONAL DEFECT.

Leptin resistance - your brain becomes BLIND to leptin

Leptin resistance is one reason why diets fail to promote longterm weight loss, and leads to "yo-yo" dieting. Losing weight will reduce your fat mass, leading to lower leptin levels, however your brain may not reverse the leptin resistance. This initiates strong mechanisms such as an increase in appetite, reduced motivation to exercise and decrease the number of calories burned at rest. Hence the yo-yo effect.

Leptin resistance can be caused by systemic inflammation, elevated free fatty acids in your blood stream which increase fat metabolites in your brain, and having high leptin levels in the first place.

High triglyceride levels will prevent the transport of leptin from your blood to your brain.

A good indicator of leptin resistance is carrying excess weight, particularly in the belly region.

while avocados are "good fat", excess belly fat is not

So now that you have determined that you may have leptin resistance - how can you reverse it?

Ultimately - following an anti inflammatory, low carb diet, increasing soluble fiber, exercising, and improving sleep, will help reverse your leptin resistance.

Anti inflammatory diets will be different for everyone - as we each react differently to foods.

Common foods to avoid are processed/packaged foods, alcohol, sugar. You may also want to consider eliminating gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs, and nightshades which are all foods that for some people contribute to inflammation)

Concentrate on eating a lot of soluble fiber - LOTS of assorted vegetables ( think "eat the rainbow"), moderate amount of fruit ( focus on low glycemic fruits like berries) for good gut health, and good quality protein and some healthy fats for satiety (eg avocado, nuts, extra virgin olive oil).

Incorporate regular actvity into your week - even of its just a brisk 30 minute walk.

Focus on achieving a solid 7-8 hours of sleep every night , as poor sleep contributes to leptin resistance.

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