Leptin Theory Definition

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Fat may or may not be a choice.
Fat may or may not be a choice. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Adam S)

The discovery of leptin’s obesity connection is a recent find. A mutant mouse known as ob/ob was always hungry, had high levels of insulin and body fat, high cortisol and blood sugar, and low thyroid levels and metabolism. This was one of the most important breakthroughs in obesity research.

History

In the 1970s scientists believed that ob/ob mouse lacked an undiscovered hormone that contained the "satiety factor" they labeled leptin. Many years later the actual leptin hormone was discovered, scientists injected ob/ob with leptin and the mouse began to lose weight.

A mouse named ob/ob helped make an important discovery.
A mouse named ob/ob helped make an important discovery. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jesus Solana)

Significance

Leptin travels through the bloodstream and signals the brain that the stomach is full. Leptin is a hormone that targets the hypothalamus to regulate food intake and body weight. Obesity is no longer thought to be the result of a lack of will power, but rather a hormonal imbalance.

Leptin targets the hypothalamus.
Leptin targets the hypothalamus. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Shaheen Lakhan)

Identification

As scientists study leptin, they are finding it an essential hormone affecting many bodily functions. Leptin deficiency is rare, but leptin resistance is common. The more weight you gain, the more your leptin resists functioning. Dysfunctional leptin receptors can be reversed through weight loss.

More weight--more leptin resistance.
More weight--more leptin resistance. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Gregg O'Connell)

Solution

Reversing leptin resistance is possible through weight loss and reversing the cycle. Other suggestions made by Dr. Scott Isaacs, author of the "Leptin Boost Diet," are to reduce stress, follow a leptin boost diet, do not smoke, get plenty of zinc and lower blood sugar levels.

Reverse leptin resistance
Reverse leptin resistance (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Megan VerHoef)

Warning

There are no leptin boost products on the market. Over-the-counter products that claim to contain leptin are only vitamins, minerals and some unknown ingredients; are not worth the money; and may be harmful.

There are no leptin boost drugs that are proven effective.
There are no leptin boost drugs that are proven effective. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of D'Arcy Norman)

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