Is this hormone keeping you fat? | Integrative functional medicine blog

Is this hormone keeping you fat?



Many people that have a hard time loosing weight may be battling with this hormone.

Fat loss

Many people are aware of how the thyroid hormones and even how high cortisol levels can make you gain weight and make it almost impossible to lose weight.

But not many people now about the hormone Leptin. This hormone is involved in regulating body weight by either suppressing food intake and/or increasing your metabolism, burning more calories.

Leptin is produced in fat cells and basically tells your brain if you are hungry or satisfied, and whether you should make fat for storage or use fat for energy.
If everything is working right, when we make more fat, theoretically we should make more leptin, sending the signal that we have enough energy and that we don’t need to eat and then making the body burn fat for energy.

Unfortunately a lot of people suffer from what Functional medicine doctors refers to as “leptin resistance”. This is often the result of poor and lack of exercise. The american diet is the pinnacle of bad eating. We even have our own acronym for the American diet that the rest of the world uses as well. It’s call the “SAD” diet -
Standard American Diet.

The viscous cycle of Leptin resistance goes like this, the brain doesn’t pick up on or become resistant to leptin = your brain thinks your hungry = your body doesn’t burn calories = body enters starvation mode = everything you eat gets stored as fat.

What is the best range for Leptin levels?


Getting Leptin levels tested is a simple blood test. The most accepted range for Leptin is typically below 12. Some Integrative Medicine doctors like to see it around 4-6. However, Leptin levels that get too low have been associated with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Levels above 12 and you will typically put on weight very quickly and have a hard time loosing it. In short, Depending on the situation and the person a healthy range can be anywhere from 4-12.

While Leptin isn’t the only hormone involved in weight loss, it is a main one. You should also get your thyroid levels checked, possibly adrenal glands tested for cortisol levels (the stress hormone), and sex hormones are also good to get checked.

How do we solve the problem of high Leptin levels?


1. Eat early. The old saying “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper” is very accurate. By eating a bigger meal (ex. - oatmeal and sunflower butter, or on of my shake recipes) can make you feel satisfied for most of the day. Ultimately this will lead to fewer calories consumer throughout the day and a sense of satiety (not hungry) for much of the day.

2. Fast for 12 hours every day. Don’t eat for 12 hours every night. Our bodies are designed to have periods of fasting to rest of repair. So if you have dinner at 7pm one night, don’t eat until 7am the next morning.

3. Exercise has shown to decrease levels of leptin in the body and increase metabolism. A good way of stoking the fire is to perform some sort of HIT (High intensity training). This usually involves doing some sort of alternating intense exercise followed by a short rest period and repeating the interval over and over for 15-20 minutes.

4. Get adequate sleep. Those that don’t get the minimum 7-8 hours of sleep have shown to have higher levels of leptin. Not only that, they can also have higher levels of cortisol which can increase how much belly fat you have.

5. Try some Irvingia. Some other supplements that can aid in weightless include:
L- Carnitine.
Conjugated Linoleum acid
CoQ10
Thermogenic aids - be careful with these ones.

6. Last and probably the most important, EAT RIGHT! Stay away from sugar, refined carbohydrates, and too many fruits. Concentrate on lean meats and fish, veggies, nuts and seeds.

If you are having hard time losing some extra pounds and are looking to get healthy again,
give my office a call to schedule an appointment for better health.

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