How to Increase Leptin Sensitivity

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Jillian Michaels, trainer on the television show "The Biggest Loser" and author of "Master Your Metabolism," calls Dr. Scott Isaacs "the guru of all things hormonal." In his book "The Leptin Boost Diet: Unleash Your Fat-Controlling Hormones for Maximum Weight Loss," Isaacs defines leptin as the chemical messenger that communicates with the brain. Leptin informs the brain about the fat level in the body. Gain too much weight, says Isaacs, an endocrinologist, and you develop leptin resistance, where the brain ignores leptin. Metabolism crawls, and you are hungry. Permanent weight loss is impossible until leptin is balanced, Isaacs says. Fat cells must make enough leptin to communicate with the brain with correct information.

Drinking water can be a key to weight loss.
Drinking water can be a key to weight loss.

Increase Leptin Sensitivity

Step 1

Lose weight to improve the brain's sensitivity to the full signals from leptin. Restoring leptin sensitivity can reverse severe diabetes, according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Eating a diet that is healthy for your hormones will enhance leptin sensitivity and stop the damaging effects of diabetes.

Eat a hormonal-healthy diet for better leptin health.
Eat a hormonal-healthy diet for better leptin health.

Step 2

Lower your stress, which causes elevated cortisol in the body. Isaacs says high cortisol levels inhibit healthy leptin function. Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands to help the body deal with stress. Excessive cortisol causes belly fat and other negative effects.

Reduce stress to increase leptin.
Reduce stress to increase leptin.

Step 3

Increase your growth-hormone levels. Isaacs suggests that with low growth-hormone levels you have premature aging, insomnia, depression, lack of energy, increased body fat and weight gain. To improve your sleep, drink more water, eat more protein and get more physical activity.

Drink more water and sleep better.
Drink more water and sleep better.

Step 4

Eat more of the mineral zinc, which regulates leptin. Foods rich in zinc include dairy, lima beans, beef, oysters and wheat germ.

Oysters are rich in zinc.
Oysters are rich in zinc.

Step 5

Quit smoking. Smoking decreases leptin levels.

Smoking reduces leptin.
Smoking reduces leptin.

Step 6

Stay away from leptin supplements. "These products include vitamins, minerals and other ingredients that are untested and potentially dangerous," Isaacs says.

Say no to supplements.
Say no to supplements.

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