THE HORMONE LEPTIN AND THE OBESITY CONNECTION
LEPTIN RESISTANCE AND OBESITY
What does Leptin do in our Bodies?
Leptin is a cell-signaling hormone that plays an important role in the regulation of appetite, the intake of food and body composition. Studies have shown that an very low levels of leptin also known as “leptin resistance” can lead to over eating and weight gain.
Leptin in the blood stream binds to a specific leptin receptor in the hypothalamus of the brain. Once leptin binds to the receptor site, it signals a cellular pathway that leads to a down regulation of appetite. Higher leptin signals to the body that it is full or satiated. Studies show statistically significant correlations with leptin levels and body weight. The HCG Diet program is know to play a role on leptin levels!
LEPTIN RESISTANCE IN THE OBESITY CORRELATION
Leptin is known to bind with a specific receptor in our brains and in turn slows down appetite and food intake. When patients have elevated leptin and obesity, it is thought that their bodies have some level of leptin resistance. When overeating becomes a habit, leptin receptors may down regulate and therefore the sensitivity to leptin also becomes decreased. When leptin is low and leptin receptors are down regulated, we see subjects become increasingly hungry. This can increase the risk of becoming obese.
Leptin Resistance Mechanism of Action
There are many important genetic and environmental factors that have a strong influence on overall leptin production and our bodies overall sensitivity to the hormone. Here are a few of the possible underlying mechanisms of leptin resistance:
- Altered cell signaling pathways post leptin receptor binding
- Poor interactions between brain centers that control appetite and parts of our nervous system that regulate eating behavior
- Genetic mutations of the leptin gene that codes for the leptin hormone
Leptin plays an important role in the bodies signal to eat and to stop eating. We still have a lot more to learn about this hormone and the way it interacts in the body.