In the maintenance of body weight involved different factors that are not in sight, ie, external factors of the environment and internal factors within each human organism. Thus, many hormones participate in the regulation of energy consumed and spent and one of them is leptin that can help you lose weight if we control it properly for that purpose.
What is leptin and what is it used for?
The leptin is a protein which was identified approximately 20 years ago, but discovered years ago when a mutation in rodents caused hyperphagia (good appetite), lethargy, and mild hyperglycemia obesity because of the lack of this hormone was observed.
Its name derives from the Greek “leptos” which means thin because initially it was considered an antiobesity hormone, but nowadays it is known that it has many other functions in our body and that it is not only released in the adipose tissue but it is its main place of production, but also originates in placenta and stomach.
The amount of leptin in our body is proportional to that of our adipose tissue, that is, to more fat and body weight plus circulating leptin, and also, more leptin in women than in men.
Leptin circulates bound to a protein and acts at the brain level indicating with its presence about the state of nutrients and energy of our body and developing mainly the following functions that can help control weight:
- Inhibits brain and other tissues production of neurotransmitters and hormones that signal hunger or increase appetite and desire to eat, for example, its presence inhibits the release of ghrelin, the hormone that encourages us to eat.
- It favors satiety and reduces the desire to eat by stimulating the production of peptides that signal satiety or absence of hunger and by reducing pleasure in response to food.
- It favors the expenditure of energy and the elevation of metabolismby its participation in the release of thyroid hormones that regulate it and by stimulation via the sympathetic nervous system of thermogenesis, that is, the production of heat that requires calories.
For these three major functions, leptin is considered an adipostate or a hormone that indicates what is the nutritional status of the body warning the brain when it is lacking energy or when it is too much for it to react in different ways and involving glands and various organs in its response.
It is a complex hormone that can help us lose weight as long as we do not suffer a resistance to its action as it occurs in many obese people who have high levels of circulating leptin but do not respond to its effect as they should, as indicated in a study published in the journal Nature Medicine.
Five ways to activate the presence of leptin in our body to lose weight
Since leptin is a hormone with a complex action, centrally or from the brain and also peripheral tissues, if we do not have resistance to leptin we must consider that there are different ways to activate its presence to lose weight or at least, not to encourage his fall that would hinder our attempts to lose weight.
Avoid strict diets and fasts
Since leptin is released as a function of the presence of nutrients and energy, signaling the body’s energy reserves, strict or very low calorie diets for a long time can cause a fall in levels in the body, this being one of the factors that intervene in the metabolic adaptation.
A study published in the journal Diabetes demonstrated that leptin levels begin to decline after 12 hours of fasting and reach minimum 36 hours of the same, whereas when normal power is resumed 24 hours required for leptin scope its basal levels.
Therefore, we must avoid prolonged fasting (over 12 hours) as well as very low calorie diets that can significantly reduce leptin levels and far from helping us lose weight, hinder long term weight loss as well as maintenance of lost weight.
Regular and long-term exercise
Although exercise produces caloric expenditure and can reduce the amount of fat in our body being this a trigger of leptin falls, in the long term training does not generate such effects, although the fat mass in the body is reduced.
On the other hand, a regular exercise showed in rodents to improve the sensitivity to leptin, something that could be helpful in obese people with resistance to the action of this hormone or that could promote the “anti-obesity” effects of leptin in our body while We try to lose weight.
The stress fat producing different changes in our body and one of them is mediated by hormones such as leptin which there is intense relationship as has concluded a study published in Biological Psychology as the circulating cortisol can reduce the release of leptin and vice versa.
Also, different stress signals could damage the functioning of the cells and eventually lead to resistance to leptin, hence if we want to lose weight while maintaining the presence of the hormone “anti-obesity” par excellence in adequate levels, reduce stress should be a priority
Avoid alcohol is something that can help us in different ways to lose weight, because not only provides empty calories that can reduce fat burning but also stimulates food intake by producing changes in the hormones that regulate eating behavior and energy balance as suggested by research published in 2011.
Among these hormones that alter the intake of alcohol is leptin and ghrelin, which are reduced and increased respectively after consumption. Therefore, if we want to activate the presence of leptin to lose weight, it is better to avoid alcohol whenever possible in the diet.
Sleep well every night
A study published in Plos Medicine indicates that sleeping little during the night can be cause of a hormonal alteration that stimulates us to eat more and reduces the satiety, that is to say, that it diminishes the leptin levelsand increases the ghrelin levels.
Likewise, an inadequate sleep increases the levels of cortisol and favors the stress that as we said before, is an enemy of good levels of leptin in the organism. Also, in people with sleep apnea it has been shown that leptin levels increase independently of the fat mass, which suggests that a bad rest could favor the resistance to the action of this hormone.
Knowing a little what leptin is and what it is for, as well as the behaviors that can help us control its levels in our body, can be key when losing weight and reducing the risk of having a rebound effect after achieving the weight that we so desire.