Leptin Resistance at Weight Gain
Leptin resistance is a very hot topic in the field of obesity. Fat cells secrete leptin to signal to your brain that you are FULL and your storage units (glycogen and fat) have reached capacity. If you have spent a lot of your life eating the standard American diet and gaining weight then there is a good chance your brain stopped listening to leptin as it was simply always around. Until this hormone is functioning optimally, your brain will not get the “I’m FULL” message!
Leptin is a hormone that is produced by your body’s fat cells. It is often referred to as the “satiety hormone” or the “starvation hormone.” Leptin’s primary target is in the brain — particularly an area called the hypothalamus. Leptin is supposed to tell your brain that — when you have enough fat stored — you don’t need to eat and can burn calories at a normal rate. It also has many other functions related to fertility, immunity and brain function. The leptin system evolved to keep humans from starving or over eating, both of which would have made you less likely to survive in the natural environment. Today, leptin is very effective at keeping us from starving, yet, something is broken in the mechanism that is supposed to prevent us from overeating.
At The Natural Path, we discuss the physiology of fat storage with all of our HCG Diet & weight loss patients — Leptin Resistance is a big topic of discussion!
What Happens with Leptin Resistance
When leptin is not recognized by your brain, you feel compelled to eat constantly. Your brain is perceiving the message that there is a deficit and increase your appetite. This signals a response to EAT!
People who are obese have a lot of body fat in their fat cells. Fat cells produce leptin in proportion to their size, people who are obese also have very high levels of leptin. Due to the way leptin is supposed to work, many obese people should naturally limit their food intake. In other words, their brains should know that they have plenty of fuel/energy stored.
However, their leptin signaling no longer functions and although lots of leptin may be present, the brain doesn’t acknowledge it. This condition is known as leptin resistance and is now believed to be one of the main contributors to obesity.
When your brain doesn’t receive the leptin signal, it erroneously thinks that your body is starving — even though it has more than enough energy stored. Your brain then encourages:
- Eating more: Your brain thinks that you must eat in order to prevent starvation.
- Reduced energy expenditure: In an effort to conserve energy, your brain decreases you energy levels and makes you burn fewer calories at rest.
This is a vicious cycle.
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