leptin supplements help with weight loss?  

Leptin supplements

 leptin  supplements help with weight loss?

 

Leptin supplements help with weight loss?   Leptin or the satiety hormone was first discovered in 1994 and since then is being studies in both animals and humans for weight regulation and obesity. The hormone sends signals to your brain that you are full and don’t need more food in your system. The body naturally produces the hormone and helps regulate feelings of fullness or hunger. Leptin also turns the fat in your body to energy. For this reason, many marketers promote leptin supplements as a weight-loss aid. However, the supplements do not actually contain leptin, this are unlikely to help with weight loss.

 

Over the years, several studies have been conducted on the influence leptin hormone has on weight loss and whether the supplements have an impact on leptin resistance. Though, whether leptin supplements are beneficial for weight loss is still inconclusive because of a lack of large-scale clinical studies [1].

 

What is leptin?

 

Leptin is a hormone produced by the fat cells that plays an important role in maintaining a healthy weight. Moreover, in recent years, leptin supplements have become quite popular because they claim to help you lose weight and decrease appetite. However, this claim is controversial for several reasons. Leptin hormone is produced by fat cells, thus during starvations, the levels of leptin decrease. Leptin sends signals to your brain that you have enough fat stored in the body and signals the body to prevent excessive eating. Similarly, when the levels are low, the body senses starvation, increases appetite and burns calories at a slower rate [2]. Therefore, it is also known as the starvation hormone.

           

The body produces many hormones that help with preventing overeating and maintaining a healthy weight. But leptin has been in the limelight for years. Researchers have been studying the impact of leptin on weight for years now. A study published in 2019 concluded that leptin supplements together with new techniques and drug combinations can help improve the effectiveness and safety of the hormone [2].

 

What is leptin resistance?

 

When a person is obese or overweight, they essentially have more fat cells in the body too, which means their body is producing more leptin. But, when the body is resistant to leptin, the brain is unable to receive leptin’s satiety signals, even though the body is producing more leptin. The messages that tell the brain to stop eating are not working properly. Some studies suggest that leptin resistance explains why some obese people have a difficult time eating less and losing weight. There are no signals to the brain that you are full, thus, the brain continues to think that you are hungry.

 

 While there are other hormones that control appetite, and hunger leptin seems to play a more major role in what and how much you eat. Researchers have also highlighted that there are other factors that affect your food intake, for example, food flavors, smells and eating habits. Therefore, it cannot be said for sure that leptin resistance causes obesity, irrespective of the association. In addition, studies have also shown that leptin resistance is higher in obese people. Researchers are still studying the impact of leptin resistance and how it is linked to other hunger-related hormones in the body.

Leptin supplements

 

If you are trying to lose weight, you may have seen several ads for leptin supplements that claim to help you lose weight or improve leptin resistance. However, while the pills are labelled as leptin supplements, they do not contain the hormone. Most of these pills are made with ingredients including green tea or fiber that help you feel full for longer and burn more calories. However, since there is not even research on leptin and leptin resistance, there is no concrete evidence that these pills help with weight loss.

 

 However, whether these supplements are effective, they are considered safe for most people. But, like any other dietary supplements or vitamins, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has not regulated any of the claims made by the manufacturers. In addition, dietary supplements do not undergo the same level of testing standards as pharmaceutical drugs. Therefore, always consult with your doctor before starting any supplements, especially if you have a chronic health condition.

 

 However, leptin supplements should not be used for the treatment of leptin deficiency, a rare condition in the which the levels of leptin in the body are very low. The condition is usually diagnosed in childhood and the body thinks that it is in a state of starvation, and it has no fat at all. This leads to uncontrolled hunger and eating, causing severe obesity in children with a delayed onset of puberty. Leptin resistance can be treated by a medical doctor with the help of leptin injections. Leptin is made by your fat cells and is released by the stomach when you eat. The hormone circulates in your blood stream and travels to the brain. Low levels of leptin, however, are the part of a complex hormonal imbalance that makes you feel hungrier.

 

How does the hormone work?

 

Leptin suppresses appetite and helps the body maintain a healthy weight by regulating the amount of food you eat and how much fat you have. If the leptin hormone is doing its job properly, it will help you maintain a healthy weight and balance how much fat you have and the amount of food you eat. The high levels of leptin tell your brain that you have enough fat stores, which makes you less hungry. If you are on a diet, you may have noticed that when you cut the number of calories you would usually eat or are trying to lose weight, you feel hungrier. This is because when you’re on a weight loss diet, you’re losing more fat mass, and the body produces less leptin. However, you never lose fat cells and they just become smaller in size.

 

Though, starving for several hours doesn’t only make you lose fat mass and causes leptin levels to drop. If you are fasting for 8 to 10 hours in a day, the level of fat in your body won’t change much but there will a drastic drop in the leptin levels. The brain will be signaled that your body is in a low-energy state and that you have not eaten for several hours. However, hunger is not only affected by hormones. There are several social and psychological factors that affect hunger and satiety, too. For example, does the food look and smell good? Other factors such as lifestyle habits of diet, exercise and stress management also play a crucial role in weight management.

 

leptin supplements do they work?

 

Most leptin supplements, while labelled as leptin pills don’t actually contain the hormone. These pills are generally made with a mix of ingredients that are marketed to decrease inflammation and thus, leptin sensitivity [3]. Some of the ingredients include alpha-lipoic acid, fish oil, soluble fiber, and green tea extract. However, the effect of these supplements on weight remains unclear because of a lack of studies in the area. On the contrary, more leptin does not equal more weight loss. Leptin tells the brain that your body has enough fat stored and you can stop eating. Though, many obese individuals have high levels of the hormone compared to average individuals.

While it may seem that higher levels of leptin are more favorable for weight loss, this isn’t the case. With leptin resistance the brain stops to acknowledge the signals of the hormone [4]. Meaning that even though you have more than enough of the hormone and energy stores in your body, your brain does not recognize it and thinks that you are still hungry. As a result, you eat more and continue to gain weight. What’s more, leptin resistance does not only cause you to eat more but also signals the brain that you have less energy, which leads the body to burn calories at a slower rate. Thus, more leptin or leptin supplements do not necessarily mean more weight loss. What’s important is how well your brain is interpreting the hormone’s signals.

 

Key takeaways

 

Leptin hormone is generated by fat cells in the body that signal the brain when you are full and that you should stop eating. Despite it, people who are obese develop leptin resistance. Even though they have elevated levels of leptin in their body. Leptin resistance occurs when there is plenty of leptin hormone available in your body, but the brain does not recognize its signal to stop eating, to help maintain a healthy weight. Therefore, leptin supplements may not actually help with weight loss. In addition, the true effectiveness of leptin supplements is unknown because of a lack of research. A much more effective way to promote weight loss is by making positive changes to your diet and lifestyle.

 

References

 

  1. Izquierdo, A.G., Crujeiras, A.B., Casanueva, F.F. and Carreira, M.C., 2019. Leptin, obesity, and leptin resistance: where are we 25 years later?. Nutrients11(11), p.2704.

 

  1. Kelesidis, T., Kelesidis, I., Chou, S. and Mantzoros, C.S., 2010. Narrative review: the role of leptin in human physiology: emerging clinical applications. Annals of internal medicine152(2), pp.93-100.

 

  1. Sáinz, N., González-Navarro, C.J., Martínez, J.A. and Moreno-Aliaga, M.J., 2015. Leptin signaling as a therapeutic target of obesity. Expert opinion on therapeutic targets19(7), pp.893-909.

 

  1. Myers, M.G., Cowley, M.A. and Munzberg, H., 2008. Mechanisms of leptin action and leptin resistance. Annual review of physiology70(1), pp.537-556.

 

 

 

 

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