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Hormones Appetite regulation

High Leptin Levels: Navigating the World of the 'Fullness Hormone'

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to feel satisfied after a small meal while others are constantly hungry, despite eating large portions? The answer may lie in the hormone leptin, also known as the "fullness hormone."

5 min. read
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Leptin, or the leptin hormone, plays a crucial role in regulating hunger and the amount of energy used in the body. It is produced by fat cells and acts on the brain to signal that the body has had enough to eat.

Understanding how leptin works, “what is leptin”, and the factors that can lead to high leptin levels can provide valuable insights into managing appetite and maintaining a healthy weight. Something we can all relate to.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of leptin and its impact on our eating behaviours, as well as strategies for navigating high leptin levels.

What is Leptin Resistance?

Leptin resistance is a condition that can lead to high leptin levels. When the body becomes resistant to the effects of leptin, it no longer responds to its signals of fullness, leading to overeating and weight gain.

Factors such as inflammation, high levels of triglycerides (also known as neutral fats), and lack of sleep can contribute to leptin resistance.

Additionally, diets high in sugar, fructose and processed foods have been linked to increased leptin levels and resistance.

To navigate high leptin levels, it's important to focus on a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and a balanced diet rich in whole foods, lean proteins, and fibre. Managing stress and getting adequate sleep can also help regulate leptin levels and could possibly help to fix leptin resistance. 

By addressing these factors, it's possible to improve sensitivity to leptin and better regulate appetite and weight. Leptin is just one piece of the complex puzzle that is our body's hormones and overall health.

Leptin and Weight Loss

Leptin has gained attention for its potential role in weight loss. While it's true that administration of leptin has resulted in weight loss in animal studies, the situation is more complex in humans.

In many people with obesity, despite having high levels of leptin, the hormone fails to perform its physiological functions and reduce weight. Research has shown that focusing on lifestyle changes rather than leptin supplementation may be more effective in addressing weight management.

Adding some regular physical activity, such as cardio and strength training to your routine, can help improve leptin sensitivity and assist in weight regulation. Also, and you’ve probably heard it before, adopting a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods and controlling portion sizes can also contribute to overall weight management.

Making dietary changes, such as reducing the consumption of processed foods and beverages high in fructose, can also help you lower leptin levels and improve sensitivity to the hormone.

Including sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish and flaxseeds, in your diet may further help to reduce inflammation and enhance leptin responsiveness.

The Role of Leptin in Appetite Regulation

Leptin plays a crucial role in appetite regulation (leptin function). It acts on the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that controls hunger and satiety signals. When leptin levels are high, it should signal to the brain that we are full and satisfied, leading to a decrease in appetite.

However, in cases of leptin resistance, the brain becomes insensitive to these signals, which can result in increased appetite and overeating.

Diets and Supplements with Leptin

As mentioned earlier, diets high in sugar, fructose and processed foods can contribute to high leptin levels and resistance. However, it's important to note that simply adding more leptin to the diet or taking leptin supplements or supplements with leptin, may not be the solution for managing high leptin levels.

Because our bodies are intricate systems with various hormones and processes working together to maintain balance, adding more leptin to the body with leptin supplements may not effectively address the underlying issues causing leptin resistance.

Managing Leptin Levels

When it comes to managing high leptin levels, a holistic approach is key. In addition to focusing on a healthy lifestyle, it's essential to consider the overall balance of hormones and metabolic processes in the body.

Rather than relying solely on leptin supplementation, incorporating a well-rounded diet and lifestyle changes that promote overall hormonal balance is crucial. One way to support leptin sensitivity and regulate weight is through regular physical activity like cardio and strength training.

Incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits (in moderation), vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats can support overall health and aid in balancing leptin levels.

Don’t forget seeking guidance from a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can be beneficial in developing a personalised approach to addressing high leptin levels or low leptin levels. They can provide specific recommendations based on your individual health status and dietary preferences to support your overall health and well-being.

By understanding the complexities of leptin and its interactions within your body, you can take proactive steps towards improving your health and manage high leptin levels effectively.

  1. Merriam-Webster, "Definition: Leptin (v1.0)"
  2. T. Sasaki, “Age-associated weight gain, leptin,and SIRT1 a possible role for hypothalamic SIRT1... (v1.0)”, Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2015
  3. Farooqi SI et al., “20 YEARS OF LEPTIN: Human disorders of leptin action (v1.0)”, Thematic Review, 2014
  4. Barateiro A et al, “Leptin resistance and the neuro-adipose connection (v1.0)”. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2017
  5. Sears, Perry, “Lipids in Health and Disease”, Lipids in Health and Disease, 2015


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