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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

The Role of Leptin in Weight Gain

Sep 03, 2015 09:13PM ● By Richard Wurzler

The human body has over nineteen different hormones associated with appetite and weight control. Some of the hormones involved include leptin, adiponectin, adipokinins, resistin, insulin, cortisol and more.

Leptin is a protein hormone produced by fat cells in order to control metabolism and appetite. The greater the number of fat cells, the more leptin produced, and the fewer the number of fat cells, the less produced. Leptin interacts with all other hormone systems of the body, but has direct input to the hypothalamus of the brain for appetite control. Malfunction of leptin's interaction with the hypothalamus causes a loss of appetite control, or satiety, and this causes weight gain.

As we age, our hypothalamus has fewer receptors for leptin, and this is one of the reasons we gain weight as we age. In America, our Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in saturated fats, sugars, sweeteners and refined carbohydrates, and this further increases our appetite malfunction, causing chronic overeating. In general, the function of leptin is to tell the brain we are full and satisfied and all is good. As the human body gains white adipose tissue, or white fat, this fat is very active in producing hormones, one of which is leptin.

Receptors for hormones are like a lock, and the hormone for that receptor is like a key that turns the lock, and creates an action when the two come together. The problem is, the human body is not equipped to handle excess, and an excess of a hormone creates resistance. The key may fit into the lock, but no action occurs, or there are so many keys, they jam up the lock, and no action occurs. If a hormone is in excess in the body, then the receptor for a hormone ignores it's specific hormone or becomes resistant to that hormone. Not unlike a child who ignores a parent's constant nagging to clean his/her room.

As the body gains white fat, and that fat produces more and more leptin, the hypothalamus ignores the leptin, or becomes resistant to it. This is leptin resistance. Leptin resistance causes a lack of control of our appetite, causing the body to experience hunger and cravings, as it believes it is starving, and this will slowly spiral out of control. The more the body gains weight, the more out of control this becomes, and binge eating, food addiction and ravenous refrigerator raids at night result, and feed this vicious cycle. Therefore, the more we overeat, the more we gain fat, the more leptin is produced, and the more the leptin resistance increases. Then we are hungrier and have cravings and appetite control issues. As we lose fat, leptin levels go down, and the body begins to correct the leptin resistance and regain control of the appetite and cravings.

For more information about the role hormones play in weight loss and the Wurzler Weight Loss System, call 321-269-7231. Free introductory classes are scheduled two-three times a month.

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