What in the Lords name is Leptin?
The word Leptin comes from the Greek word “Leptos” and translates to “Thin”. Leptin – which is known in the nutrition world as the “satiety hormone”, is a hormone made by fat cells which regulates the amount of fat stored in the body. It does this by adjusting both the sensation of hunger, and adjusting energy expenditures.
A leptin system that is working properly improves brain fitness, mental sharpness, increases memory, and enhances your mood.
What controls Leptin…who’s in charge? I want answers and wish to speak to this unknown hormones boss.
The hypothalamus! Quiz night tonight. The hypothalamus is comprised of a system of leptin receptors. When leptin levels increase, leptin attaches to leptin receptors in the hypothalamus, and your brain sends a signal that you are full. Your metabolic rate will increase as a result of this signal. When leptin levels decrease, the brain thinks you are no longer full. Consequently, your brain sends a message that you are hungry, and your metabolic rate decreases.
I’ll quit with the science lessons and get to the nuts and bolts…
Essentially you need leptin levels to be in order if you want to be or stay lean, think clearly and be in a good mood. The longer your body is in a calorie deficit the lower your leptin levels and metabolic rate become. As your metabolism slows down it becomes extremely hard to lose that last bit of fat.
Also, hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you constantly eat excessively above maintenance levels, then your body can become leptin resistant. What this means is your body cannot distinguish that your body fat levels are too high, and leptin receptors are desensitized. The more leptin resistant the body becomes, the more the body tends to sway towards hoarding fat.
Also, toxins or other stressors in our body can result in leptin resistance. These can range from anything from our diet to lack of sleep.
How do I keep control over my leptin levels?
- Don’t go often overboard on carbs. Large amounts of carbs result in insulin spikes, which in turn raises leptin production. Avoid excessive amounts of sugary foods, high fructose corn syrup, or any foods that are high on the GI scale. Go for low GI carbs. Keep it green, keep it lean!
- Get your sleep. A recent study just showed those who didn’t get a good night’s rest had a 15% lower leptin level than those who got enough sleep, since leptin levels typically rise during the sleep cycle. Aim to be in bed for 10:30pm. Not only will you feel rested, your body will have repaired during the full sleep wake cycle
- Perform high-intensity exercise for short stints. This will stimulate large secretions of human growth hormone, which boost fat-burning mechanisms and help to regulate leptin levels. A good form of this type of exercise is H.I.I.T. (high intensity interval training) or Tabata Training (featured in an earlier blog)
Health experts are deeming Leptin as the NUMBER ONE weight loss hormone!