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Do Leptin Supplements Help You Lose Weight?

The key to fat loss is achieving a calorie deficit – to take in less calories than you need to fuel your body.

That way, you can tap into the stored energy in your fat cells to make up the difference. And before you know it; you’ve dropped inches and your fat mass has plummeted.

But it’s easier said than done. The human body has an innate, built in mechanism for survival. Your body constantly tries to balance energy intake with output – and when you achieve a deficit you feel hungry.

If only there was a way of reducing food cravings and hunger you’d find it easier to eat less and fat loss would be easier.

In this article we take a look at leptin – the hormone responsible for regulating energy balance.

Could supplements containing this hormone be the key to fat loss?

Let’s take a look…


What is Leptin?

Leptin is a protein hormone made by your fat cells that regulates energy balance.

It is often referred to as the satiety hormone because it has the primary role of inhibiting hunger. It works as a direct antagonist to another hormone called ghrelin that makes you feel hungry.

It’s the brake to ghrelin’s gas.

Together, these two hormones fight an ongoing battle between telling your brain you are either hungry or content. They do this to find a happy equilibrium where there is just the right amount of energy coming into the body – what’s called homeostasis.

Regulating energy balance

Think of energy intake like a thermostat – if it gets too low then ghrelin will tell you to find and eat energy (hunger). And when you’ve got enough energy from food, leptin will tell you to stop (satiety).

It’s “A complex physiological system has evolved to regulate fuel stores and energy balance at an optimum level” [1].

In the grand scheme of things, Leptin is a baby. It was only discovered in the mid-1990s.

And ever since then, a number of manufacturers have developed what they consider to be the key to fat loss – a supplement that reduces hunger.

But is it all it’s cracked up to be or are there flaws in their reasoning?

Read on to find out more…


Leptin and the hypothalamus

Key Point: Leptin is a hormone released from fat cells. It regulates hunger and tells your brain when you are full.


How Does Leptin Work?

Homeostasis – and your body – are tightly controlled by hormones. We know this because we’ve already looked at the way hunger hormones fight a tug of war to keep your energy intake balanced.

But what we haven’t talked about in any sort of detail yet is the connection with the brain – specifically a region called the hypothalamus.

The brain-leptin connection

As soon as energy is running low, leptin signals receptors in your hypothalamus via complicated pathways such as the JAK-STAT and PI3K-PDE3B-cAMP pathways [2].

Once your hypothalamus receives the messages, you feel content with the energy you have and you feel satiated.

Leptin resistance

If you are overweight, your hypothalamus can struggle to receive the messages being sent from your fat cells – they become resistant to it.

And this can lead to overeating, insulin resistance, diabetes and eventually heart disease.

There are also theories that suggest leptin not only regulates hunger, but reward as well. And when its messages aren’t being received in the brain, the outcome is that you seek more rewarding food – higher sugar, fatty foods. 

And combine the potential for overeating with the potential for high calorie foods and you’ve got problems.


Ab workout to help lose weight and decrease leptin resistance

Key Point: Leptin is one of the most important hormones for regulating your body weight, fat levels and metabolism.


Could Leptin Supplements Help You Lose Weight?

If you think about it the theory is quite simple – if leptin signals the brain to tell you you’re full and you take a supplement with it in, you’ll not eat as much. You’ll not take in as many calories and you’ll weight. Simple.

But there’s a big problem with leptin supplements though

In those that are leptin resistant it’s not that they don’t have enough of the hormone in their fat cells – in fact quite the opposite in most cases as it can be quite high.

So will adding in more leptin make a difference?

No. Remember in the case of resistance your hypothalamus can’t ‘see’ it. It’s not that you’re levels are low.

There can also be a number of symptoms and side effects of high leptin too. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sugar cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Increase in blood fat levels

Leptin Supplements Don’t Work

In one of the very few studies into the effects of leptin supplementation on weight loss [3], researchers wanted to look at the effects of ‘exogenous administration’ on 54 lean and 73 obese participants.

Each was given either a leptin supplement or a placebo over a 12-month period.

At first glance it looked like the supplement worked well – fat mass and body weight were both lower. But when you look at the statistics, there wasn’t that much difference at all between groups. And the obese participants were given the supplement were also in a calorie deficit meaning they’d lose weight anyway.

And most supplements don’t actually contain leptin

Most leptin supplements don’t include leptin. Instead, they tend to be a mix of nutrients that are questionable in their ability to promote weight loss.

Many contain fiber which is good – it helps to keep you fuller for longer periods of time, but that has no direct effect on hormone levels.

Some contain irvingia gabonensis which is a strange nutrient to include seeing as though the research suggests it is a less than effective fat burner. It may be potentially unsafe too.


Leptin supplement to help with fat loss

 


Key Point: There’s no evidence that leptin supplementation will help you lose weight or improve your body composition.


Summary – Should You Use a Leptin Supplement to Lose Weight?

As it stands, leptin supplements are still experimental. They aren’t proven to help with weight loss and the research isn’t very optimistic either.

Because it was only discovered in the 1990’s it’s far too early to say what’ll happen with this supplement as time goes on. It might prove to be useful in some capacity, but for the time being it’s not worth the money.

One thing is for sure though – there are far better supplements available right now that will help you reach your fat loss goals quicker and easier.


Is There a Better Option?

Most definitely.

Combining Instant Knockout with a calorie deficit is the best way to drop body fat and carve out a new physique.

Because it contains only all-natural nutrients that have been found to improve weight loss in clinical trials, it’s the best supplement for you.

  • Boost metabolism – use thermogenesis to ramp up your calorie burn
  • Reduce cravings – feel fuller for longer, reducing your calorie intake
  • Increase energy – train harder for longer

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References

  1. Friedman, JM et al. Leptin and the regulation of body weight in mammals. Nature. 1998; 395: 763-770
  2. Sahu, A. Leptin signalling in the hypothalamus: emphasis on energy homeostasis and leptin resistance. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2003; 24(4): 225-53
  3. Heymsfield, SB et al. Recombinant leptin for weight loss in obese and lean adults: a randomized, controlled, dose-escalation trial. JAMA. 1999; 282(16): 1568-75


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