Leptin or satiety hormone is a hormone that contributes in regulating the energy balance. Leptin hormone is made by adipose cells and works to inhibit hunger. This hormone tells the brain that someone does not need more foods. However, some cases show that this hormone does not work well. This condition is called leptin resistance. People with this leptin condition wants to eat more, even if they have overweight and even obesity.
How Leptin Resistance Affect Weight
Many people may think that those with overweight or obesity have less leptin. It is not true because they actually have a lot of leptins. The fatter they are, the more leptins they have. However, they have leptin resistance, a condition when their brains don’t respond to the signal from leptin to stop eating.
This is also called brain starvation. Those people actually have high leptin but their brain can’t see them. Although they have obese body, the brain is starved. This condition is like insulin resistance in those who have diabetes type 2. Pancreas actually produces insulin, but their body does not respond to it well.
It is not only about the hunger system problem, but also reward system problem. Researchers found that food is more rewarding when the leptin level is low. On the other hand, when the leptin levels are high, food does not look good so that people do not need to eat. However, this rewarding system is broken when they have leptin resistance. Although the leptin levels are high and they try to send signal that they don’t need more foods, the brain can’t get this signal.
The, what about taking leptin resistance treatment or leptin supplements? Indeed, leptin was used for obesity treatment. Many scientists believed that adding more leptin would signal the brain to stop overeating. However, this did not work well as giving this hormone only works for rare cases for those that do not have leptin at all. So, it is not about adding supplements, but more about reversing leptin resistance.
What Causes Leptin Resistance
There are some cellular mechanisms that are believed as the factors that cause leptin resistance. There are three factors, i.e. inflammation, free fatty acids and having high leptin. Inflammation that gives signal in hypothalamus seems to be the main cause of this problem.
Besides, elevated free fatty acids can cause broken leptin signaling because they exist in bloodstream and increase the fat metabolites in brain. Additionally, elevated leptin levels in the first place seem to be another cause of this problem.