You are having a meal. How do you know you are full?
Leptin, also called a satiety hormone, is responsible for informing the brain about the available energy resources, it is also called the satiety hormone. The increase in its level due to food intake is a signal to the brain structure, called hypothalamus, that the body’s energy reserves are replenished, which results in a decrease in appetite.
Leptin regulates basal metabolic rate. Its lowered level is associated with an increased appetite and a slowed down metabolism. Its decrease is influenced by long-term, restrictive diets, fasting, low levels of body fat and sleep deprivation.
Leptin is produced mainly by adipocytes – cells of the fat tissue. The concentration of leptin in the body depends on the fat percentage. The higher the percentage, the greater the release of leptin to the bloodstream. Not necessarily it means that the obese people have a lower appetite and faster metabolism though.
It turns out that the increased level of leptin among people with excess body weight does not contribute to the reduction of appetite, and after eating a meal, the feeling of satiety and satisfaction with the meal is somehow low. This situation may suggest the phenomenon of leptin resistance – a state in which the receptors, despite the high level of leptin, do not receive the appropriate signals, and therefore its activity is impaired.
Leptin resistance to some extent resembles the mechanism of insulin resistance, in which tissues are no longer sensitive to insulin. Not only that, both of these phenomenons often go hand in hand, especially in obese people.
In addition, the appropriate concentration of leptin in the body is associated with the proper functioning of the immune system, thyroid gland, fertility and regenerative processes. Both too high and too low levels of this hormone have negative effects. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain its optimal level.
In order to maintain the optimal concentration of leptin in the body, first of all, you should take care of the right amount and quality of sleep, as well as follow the proper to our species circadian rhythms.
Another important issue is maintaining the optimal body fat content. The diet should be properly balanced, providing the right amount of energy depending on your needs and goals. In case of leptin resistance, a diet with a reduced glycemic load should be used. The increase in the proportion of fats in the diet, with a moderate supply of carbohydrates and protein, can also work here. During long-term weight reduction, it is worth taking breaks every 2-3 months. Let’s also not forget about regular physical activity.
There are indications of the influence of exposure to cold on the increase in sensitivity to leptin. In this case, cold showers or staying in cool rooms can be beneficial.
The following can also help to normalize the level and sensitivity to leptin: omega-3 acids, alpha-lipoic acid, L-glutamine or myo-inositol.
Coach Lucy, PhD
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Disclaimer: prior to making any changes to your diet discuss it with your dietitian or physician.
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