Today, there is no doubt that leptin, a product of adipose tissue, plays a crucial role in the development of obesity. Since extra pounds are triggers of a variety of pathological conditions and serious diseases of internal organs, systems, they require correction and constant control of normal weight. To do this, there are a number of diets based on the regulation of leptin in the body.
However, in order to learn how to control the hormone of hunger and satiety, you must first learn how to diagnose it, and then already – to increase or decrease the level of the biologically active substance in the blood. From this article you will learn how this happens.
- Leptin diagnosis.
- How to regulate the hormone level.
Today, it is possible to determine leptin levels in the blood by taking a laboratory test at any clinic in a major city of the country. A high concentration of the hormone indicates resistance to leptin and a low concentration indicates a lack of healthy fats in the diet. The study is conducted as part of a comprehensive check of lipid and carbohydrate metabolism or to determine the hormonal status of a patient. The leptin test is necessary to diagnose amenorrhea, obesity, cachexia, type 2 diabetes, thrombosis, or coronary artery disease in an attempt to determine the exact cause of the abnormalities.
For testing, venous blood is taken and a unified enzyme immunoassay (ELISA) is performed. The average values for adult males range from 2 to 6 ng/ml, and from 3.5 to 11 ng/ml for females. The test takes about a week.
How to regulate the hormone level
To raise or lower your leptin levels, you need to understand the purpose of this exercise. After all, the hormone is by no means the only factor controlling extra pounds. Genetics, nutrition, gender, age, patient activity level, medical history and immune status, gut microflora, and the famous microbiome also play a role. However, diet, habits, and lifestyle adjustments affiliated with leptin make it easier to control body weight. Thus, a number of ways are used to control leptin levels, its rise or fall.
It is the foods high in the hormone, which are designed to satiate a person and, more importantly, make him feel satiated, that can be considered the best to restore sensitivity to leptin.
There are two fiery topics that deal with obesity and leptin resistance:
- the taste of food;
- food reward.
Delicious eating is guaranteed by the gustatory sensations that food and drink give a person. The food reward is the momentary pleasure a person experiences only when eating. Both the taste of food and the pleasure of food affect the nerve pathways that control caloric intake. These are the same pathways that conduct nerve impulses that control leptin and ghrelin behavior. If the food is caloric and has been heavily cooked, there is a desire in the brain to eat more and more. Chemical changes in neurons contribute to this. This is why using whole, unprocessed foods in the diet is so important for appetite control.
To keep leptin levels balanced, you should not eat foods high in refined grains, sugar, fats, artificial flavors or sweeteners, or other synthetic ingredients. It is especially bad when they are all combined with each other. This is one of the triggers of inflammation and therefore provocation of leptin resistance.
It is worth excluding from the menu:
- cakes, doughnuts, cookies, pastries;
- sodas, nectars and reconstituted juices, canned compotes and other sugary drinks;
- white bread, pizza, pita bread;
- ice cream;
- snacks such as chips or fries;
- fried meat and other foods.
All of these foods will not satiate a person, but only stimulate his appetite. If there is a need for leptin correction, they should be avoided.
But here is a group of foods that will help you feel satiated and satisfied after eating, reducing the chances of overeating:
- Foods with maximum fiber saturation or high volume: all vegetable options.
- Foods with high volume, water and fiber, that is, low-density foods. These foods guarantee maximum nutritional value because they provide a large amount of nutrients on a low-calorie background. These are vegetables-fruits, salads, broths, beans and whole grains. Hunger goes away, and the feeling of fullness is maintained along with a sense of pleasure.
- Protein foods – help control hunger and preserve muscle. More than that, protein can keep food intake to a minimum while supporting a normal metabolism. These are dairy products, beef, fish, eggs, poultry, beans and beans.
- Healthy fats – maximum calories, but needed for nutrient absorption, taste of food and control of hunger hormones. Skimmed foods don’t just lose their appeal in flavor, they can’t provide a lasting sense of satiety either. At least some fat should be included in every meal. These can be: olives, avocados, nuts, dairy products, beef, or eggs.
Interval fasting refers to a special eating program in which each meal is strictly timed. There are a variety of interval fasts. For example, 16/8 or 20/4. They increase the susceptibility to leptin and help you burn fat. Experts believe that starvation is able to take control of limited inflammation in the hypothalamic nuclei, which are responsible for energy intake and expenditure. This guarantees a stable energy balance and protection against obesity.
This is supported by a study that suggests that interval fasting in combination with exercise improves biomarkers of fat and muscle mass in healthy men, which includes leptin levels. After two months of 16-hour fasting with an 8-hour feeding interval, participants in the experiment found a minimization of fat mass, against a background of unchanged fat-free mass.
Testosterone, insulin-like growth factor, and leptin concentrations decreased significantly in those who practiced interval fasting without a negative effect on energy expenditure. Since minimizing leptin concentrations lowers metabolism, this is a very encouraging and promising result for further research. Experts also saw that thyroid activating hormones, cholesterol, high and low density lipoproteins, and triglycerides did not change.
Eating so as to reach satiety
The environment in which you eat makes a big difference. You need to ensure that you don’t just eat a delicious meal, but that you enjoy it for several hours after you eat it. Plus, it’s a good idea not to overeat. To do this:
- Remember the familiar saying from childhood: “When I eat, I am deaf and dumb”. Translated into adult language, it means: Don’t be distracted and don’t work while eating. No phones, no computers, no TV.
- Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.
- A break between meals – at least three hours. Three meals a day is optimal, with no snacks.
- Half of the food intake is fruit and vegetables, which will create the illusion of a large meal.
- Eat more at home, in a quiet atmosphere.
- Drink simple drinks: mineral water, tea, coffee.
- Start the meal with a broth or salad to satisfy the first hunger before the main meal.
- Exclude unhealthy but addictive foods.
Physical activity is the best way to improve metabolism, increase muscle mass, and increase leptin receptivity. As physical activity increases, so does your metabolic rate and ability to control leptin. Even genetic obesity can benefit from sports.
By building muscle, physical activity helps fat burning, the production of growth hormones, adrenaline and testosterone, which enable the use of fat as energy rather than cumulating it. Today, amid the rise of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sports and exercise remain the best ways to activate the waste of glucose and fatty acids in the blood, so that they do not create metabolic problems.
People who exercise have increased protection against the cumulation of dangerous visceral fat. Even if exercise does not cause loss of extra pounds, the positive effects are great. Physical activity is a natural stress stimulant because it regulates hormones and induces an “endorphin rush.”
This process minimizes the need for unhealthy stress-relieving mechanisms, including overeating. This is beneficial for normalizing blood pressure, insulin and glucose levels, cholesterol and other bioactive substances.
What is the optimal amount of exercise? At least half an hour daily, and ideally up to an hour. It is best to combine aerobic and strength exercises. You should try to include high-intensity interval training in your exercise program, which will multiply the metabolic effect. This training consists of sprint efforts, vigorous movements, which have many advantages compared with classic stationary cardio exercises.
However, it should be remembered that excessive effort will lead to a drop in leptin levels, and thus to an increase in appetite. Exercise must be balanced with rest, otherwise there is a risk of disturbed metabolism with leptin minimization, which provokes infertility, hypothyroidism, sexual dysfunction, menstrual cycle failure.
Rest and stress management
Chronic stress is a great breeding ground for overeating. Experts associate high levels of stress with an increase in cortisol, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and weight gain. To keep the situation under control and prevent inflammation associated with chronic stress, you need to get enough sleep at night and choose time to rest during the day. You need some kind of activity to help relax and relieve stress: exercise, meditation, prayer, stretching, bathing with essential oils, social activities. The point is to replace stress and the resulting desire to eat, with any kind of activity.
A feast for the stomach
In a calorie deficit, exercising leads to a decrease in leptin levels, which blocks. further weight loss, even if you don’t eat much. Your metabolism slows down, your body rebuilds, and you need even fewer calories just to maintain the same weight. Once a week or once every two weeks, your stomach needs a holiday where you can consume more calories than usual. These days are a useful tool when you are on a diet. They temporarily increase caloric intake, which misleads the body into thinking it is overfeeding, provoking an increase in leptin levels.
There have been several mini-studies that have found positive results from such temporary overeating: for example, increased metabolic rate and help with long-term dieting. Because such days are associated with metabolism, they help to lose extra pounds in the long run, even with temporary weight gain or stabilization in the short term.
Keeping track of your progress
Studies have proven a simple thing: everyone who was able to lose weight and maintain the results they achieved – meticulously monitored their progress: exercise and food intake. You don’t have to count calories at all to prevent weight gain, but keeping a diary helps you become accountable for your actions and your health.
Other ways to help you track your goal include:
- Consultation with a nutritionist.
- Working with a personal trainer or group fitness classes.
- Running or walking with a friend or buddy: it’s fun to walk the expanse together.
- Making a schedule for the week to go grocery shopping, cooking, and exercising.
- Scheduling meals to avoid overeating.
Many people will wonder why you can’t be limited to taking leptin supplements to correct its levels and prevent obesity. Unfortunately, there is still no clear answer to the question. There is an understanding that leptin supplements are generally ineffective and even dangerous. Rarely is their use beneficial – these are cases of gene mutations with almost zero leptin and a complete lack of response to its signals. But for the vast majority of people, such supplements are an unacceptable option.
Leptin is a peptide hormone that is synthesized by adipose tissue cells and plays an important role in the regulation of body weight. The bioactive substance indicates that food has entered the body, which it evaluates and decides whether it is sufficient for life. The mechanism is simple – a satiety signal to the hypothalamus, which controls homeostasis to suppress appetite and initiate fat burning if necessary.
When levels of ghrelin – the hunger hormone – and leptin are disrupted, your ability to eat when you are truly hungry suffers. This can lead to obesity. Ways to prevent leptin resistance and correct leptin function include: a diet that is high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, as well as – sports, healthy eating and stress control.