Fitness & Fat Loss

The Fat Burning Hormone That Could Be the Cause for Your Weight Loss Woes

overweight womanFor many, weight loss or, more appropriately, fat loss is a never-ending war. Not only is it a struggle to lose fat, but to keep off what has been lost. Most, about 80 per cent gain back all the weight they had lost, within two years. Why is it so hard to lose weight despite doing all the right things to keep it off?

You have all but given up all the indulgencies your palate craves. You eat the right portions of food at the right times and don’t exceed recommended calorie intake. You exercise regularly; get adequate sleep… in other words, you do all the right things to stay healthy and trim. But the weight just won’t come off, or keeps creeping back (Grrr!).

Most weight loss diets, programs and supplements typically attempt to address the problem from one or two angles:

  • Calorie intake reduction: When you take in less energy than you spend, you presumably will lose weight as there is no extra for the body to store in way of body fat. At least this is how it is supposed to work.
  • Boosting metabolism: When you burn more calories, you may lose weight. Many supplements, particularly thermogenics, are made to boost active and/or resting metabolism.

However, there is a third aspect that most weight loss diets, programs and products do not address.

Why You Can’t Lose Weight: The Missing Link

Diet ConceptOne aspect that fat loss programs do not address is your hormones. A hormonal imbalance can lead to weight gain, and turn fat loss efforts into an exercise in futility. While various hormones including thyroid, testosterone, insulin, and other “fat loss hormones” all play a part, of particular interest is one called leptin.

If you have tried the most disciplined and restrictive diets but just can’t seem to make the scale point a little lower, this may well be the problem. How?

What Is Leptin and Why Is It So Important to Fat Loss?

Leptin is a hormone (also referred to as a protein) produced naturally by the body, that plays a key role in appetite, energy and metabolism. Leptin is produced in the fat cells, not endocrine glands. The hormone is said to have been discovered in 1995 although, according to Wikipedia, its effects were observed in obese mice as far back as 1950. It may be more accurate to say that the hormone’s identity was established around 1994 to 1995 (source: DMM).

The hormone was dubbed “the holy grail of weight loss” after morbidly obese mice with voracious appetite injected with it reduced appetite and lost weight. Tests on the mice showed that they had low leptin levels, which was linked to the gain in weight.

Leptin signals your brain when you have had enough to eat and also manages how fat is stored around the organs and under the skin.[1] It is therefore not hard to see why it is important to weight loss.

Tests on Humans

Though the leptin showed great promise when tested on obese mice, the excitement waned somewhat when it came to humans as some lost weight while others did not. Results in mice did not quite translate to humans. What happened?

It follows that the problem was not always leptin levels as initially thought. There was another culprit; leptin resistance.

The body doesn’t always listen to the leptin message and leptin resistance occurs. The leptin signal isn’t being heard, so it cannot stimulate your metabolism or suppress your appetite. Leptin resistance can make losing weight very difficult if not impossible. (Original source: Huffington Post)

Leptin resistance in humans is said to be caused by malfunction in the brain’s leptin receptor, but also modern lifestyle and poor diet. A scientific study showed that a diet high in fructose can induce leptin resistance, which can accelerate obesity.[2]

Other Health Benefits of Leptin

Leptin has other potential health benefits beyond obesity and body weight management. These include:

  • It may help decrease risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia (see video)
  • Studies indicate that leptin may be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes [3]
  • It may help restore fertility and improve bone health in lean women [4]

Can Leptin Supplements Help You Lose Weight?

So, can you improve your body’s fat loss ability by taking leptin supplements? First, a little secret that few will tell you; there is really no such thing as “leptin supplements”. Don’t be discouraged though, as there is still hope.

You see, there are really no “testosterone supplements” but supplements that may support optimal testosterone levels. Likewise, the so-called leptin supplements may support optimal leptin levels, but do not supply the hormone directly. Synthetically produced hormones are more of drugs than supplements.

Now, when you have optimal levels, the objective of possibly losing weight has been attained, right? Well, not quite.

A good leptin supplement should address both problematic angles, that is, leptin levels and leptin resistance. This is what you should go for as simply increasing leptin levels in the body may not suffice.


[1] Perfect 10 Diet by Michael Aziz, MD

[2] NCBI: Fructose-induced leptin resistance exacerbates weight gain

[3] NCBI: Therapeutic impact of leptin on diabetes

[4] Study finds leptin restores fertility, may improve bone health in women

Statements made on this page have not been evaluated by Food and Drug Administration. The product(s) featured or mentioned is/are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, on medication, or have a medical condition, consult a licensed medical practitioner before starting on a new supplement.

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