Health & Nutrition : Do Leptin Supplements Work for Weight Loss?
Leptin Supplements for Weight Loss
Leptin is a hormone that is produced naturally in your body. Researchers are currently studying how the hormone may help you to lose weight. Many eager dieters are choosing to take leptin supplements or follow a leptin diet to make weight loss easier. But the science doesn't necessarily support these practices.
What Is Leptin?
Leptin is a polypeptide hormone that is produced by adipose (fat) cells in your body. Leptin sends signals to your brain to decrease your food intake and increase energy expenditure. When you have more fat, you produce more leptin.
After your fat cells produce leptin, it travels through the bloodstream to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the part of your brain that regulates hunger, thirst, mood, and many other physical functions.
When leptin receptors in the hypothalamus interact with the hormone leptin, they sendsatiety signalsto your brain that you have enough energy (fat) stored away. Energy stores are fat stores. Leptin is your body's way of telling your brain that you can stop eating because you have all the stored energy (fat) that you need.
Leptin has other functions in your body, but most dieters and healthy eaters are most interested in leptin for weight loss. Researchers began studying leptin in the 1990s and continue to investigate ways that the hormone may help you to lose weight and keep the pounds off.
Leptin and Obesity
One important area of investigation that scientists have studied is leptin resistance. Some researchers believe that leptin resistance is the reason people who are obese have a harder time eating less and losing weight.
But the idea of leptin resistance is controversial because scientists don't know exactly how the hormone interacts with other factors. There many other appetite and hunger hormones that play a role in what you eat and how much you eat. Researchers also know that there are other things that affect your food intake, like food smells, food flavors, habits, reward systems and even cultural traditions. So they can't say for certain that leptin resistance causes obesity.
If you're trying to lose weight, you've certainly seen ads for leptin supplements online or in magazines. The ads claim to help you boost your leptin levels or fix your leptin resistance. But these pills don't contain the hormone leptin. Most of the diet pills simply contain trendy ingredients, like green tea or fiber, that may help you to feel full or burn more calories.
The Leptin Diet
Another popular trend is the leptin diet. Scientists have looked into different types of foods that might help you to control leptin to lose weight. For example, one study showed that a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet increased leptin levels more than a high-fat, low carbohydrate diet. But there is no evidence that a specific diet can help you make the right amount of leptin or cure leptin resistance.
Some experts suggest that you make small daily food and habit changes to boost leptin in your body. These changes may include:
Of course, there is no guarantee that this "leptin diet" will fix or change your leptin levels. And if it did, you may not even know about it. Leptin levels can only be measured in a lab with a blood test. But these healthy diet changes cost nothing, they have no negative side effects, and they provide other weight loss benefits. So, until researchers know more about the relationship between leptin and weight loss, they might be the best way to boost your body's potential to slim down.
Video: Weight Loss and Leptin Resistance
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