Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Leptin Sensitivity: The Facts

 From MA Blog:
Weight loss is difficult enough. But for some people, no matter how hard they try, it seems their efforts are being thwarted by a little-known hormone called leptin.
What is leptin?
Named after leptos, the Greek term for “thin,” leptin is a protein manufactured by the body’s fat cells. It appears that the level of leptin circulating in the bloodstream is directly proportional to the total amount of body fat, or adipose tissue, a person possesses.
Leptin wasn’t discovered until 1994, but continues to be one of the most fascinating hormones in the field of weight management. Research is emerging that shows leptin to be equally important to insulin in regulating proper body weight, which may be one of the reasons people on diets experience “rebound” weight gain.
So how does leptin play a role in weight loss?
Leptin acts in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that is responsible for coordinating appetite and satiety. Essentially, it is this role that tells us when to stop eating.
A variety of signals control the amount we eat: sensory signals such as smell and taste, physical signals such as a feeling of fullness, and chemical signals from the gastrointestinal system to the brain. Normally, the process begins when the brain notes the amount of leptin secreted by fat cells. If the brain determines these leptin levels are normal, it shuts off the signal to store extra calories as fat. The body no longer feels like eating because the brain – with the help of leptin – has told the body to stop eating.
One would think that it would be desirable to increase leptin levels. However, in most overweight people, leptin levels are actually excessively high due to leptin resistance, a process similar to the concept of insulin resistance.
Sometimes – especially in today’s society, with food surrounding us at all times and the urge to overeat common – the brain’s leptin receptors can become desensitized. Once a person becomes leptin sensitive, the body has a difficult time transporting leptin past the blood brain barrier to the hypothalamus where it is needed to send satiety signals. Even though blood levels of leptin may be excessively high, brain levels are insufficiently low, resulting in food cravings and weight gain. The brain believes the body is in a famished state and tells it to continue to store fat. This sensitivity to leptin can cause the brain to believe it is in a constant state of starvation.
For example, when serial dieters – those who are continually losing and gaining weight – lose fat through diet and exercise, the brain thinks it is starving and tells the body to hold on to its fat stores. This is when the weight usually roars back. That’s because the body will fight harder against losing fat than it will against gaining fat. That’s why most people find it a whole lot easier to get fat than they do to get lean. As someone gains weight, the body tries to maintain the status quo, but the baseline has moved higher. After the body adjusts to a heavier, new status quo, it’s hard to slim down again.
How do I control leptin?
Research indicates that lowering leptin levels in overweight people can restore this malfunctioning leptin system and trigger weight loss. Here are a couple of ways that you can get your body back working for you:
  • Suppress the appetite. We need to eat, but we don’t need to eat everything.
  • Inhibit carbs from being absorbed by the body. Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Carbohydrates in fruit and vegetables are the good carbohydrates. Other carbohydrates, like starches, cause your blood sugar to soar and disrupt your hormonal balance. While these foods aren’t bad for you, eating too much of them throws hormones out of balance and makes leptin ineffective as an appetite suppressant.
  • Stop carbs from being converted to fat. Even though we want to reduce the amount of carbohydrates we take in, the body still needs carbohydrates. What we don’t want are excess carbohydrates being converted into fat – which we have learned is a main component of leptin sensitivity. Natural ingredients like White Kidney Bean Extract have been shown to allow some carbohydrates to pass through the body undigested, stopping them from eventually being converted into fat.
By supporting a normal response to leptin – suppressing the appetite, inhibiting the amount of starchy carbohydrates being absorbed by the body, and helping stop the body from converting excess carbohydrates into fat – you can finally give your body the support it needs to keep off the weight.

If you are interested in a product that will support a normal response to leptin, click here for more info on CORE, part of the Transitions Lifestyle System for weight loss.
To your health!

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