There’s a new kid on the hormone block and he’s kind of a big deal.
Even though we’ve only known about him for a very short while, he’s actually been controlling things behind the scenes this whole time.
The hormone we’re talking about is leptin.
Discovered in 1994, leptin is the major hormone that ultimately influences all other hormones in our body, and virtually controls all functions of the hypothalamus – the organ previously considered the grand master in charge of our hormonal output.
Leptin’s primary job is to tell the hypothalamus that you’ve got enough energy stored in your fat stores, and thus don’t need to eat or store more of it. It’s a close relation to insulin, your fat storage hormone, and the two are constantly in a dance together.
As such, leptin coordinates our hormonal, metabolic, and behavioral responses to starvation. Even though we’re not consciously aware of it, leptin is telling us how much to eat, how much of what we just ate to store as body fat, and how much to move or not move our bodies. It profoundly affects our emotions, cravings, and behavior and it determines how much fat is stored under the skin and around our organs.
Like I said, it’s kind of a big deal.
When your leptin levels are in balance, you feel good, you have appropriate appetite and good energy levels, and your weight is healthy and stable. When your leptin levels are too high, your appetite increases disproportionately, you energy levels tank, and your body goes into “starvation” mode, stashing away more and more fat for the rainy day that never comes.
There can be two reasons for leptin being out of balance:
1) leptin deficiency – there is simply not enough leptin to tell your brain you’ve stored enough fat
Or, what is much more common:
2) leptin resistance – there’s plenty of leptin circulating in your blood, but your hypothalamus isn’t getting the message, so your brain thinks you’re starving and responds appropriately
Much like insulin, chronically high leptin levels increase inflammation and, over time, lead to degenerative disease.
Here’s the kicker: the only thing that influences leptin levels is your diet. And in fact, no other hormonal imbalance in your body can be restored without leptin functioning properly. Bio-identical hormones can help, but we must also work to maintain optimal endogenous hormonal balance – and managing leptin levels is key to doing so.
Here are 14 indicators that you may be resistant to this all-important hormone:
- Being overweight
- Fatigue after meals
- Presence of love handles
- High blood pressure
- Craving comfort foods
- Feeling consistently anxious or stressed out
- Feeling hungry all the time or at off hours in the night
- Having osteoporosis
- Being unable to lose weight or keep weight off
- Regularly craving coffee or other stimulants
- High fasting triglycerides
- Tendency to snack after meals
- Having problems falling or staying asleep
- No change in the way your body looks no matter how much you exercise
The take away?
There is no pill, exercise, or injection you can take that will ultimately get you to your health goals without also taking your diet into consideration. This is why nutritional optimization is a cornerstone of The Carragher Method, The Body Well’s Age Management Program, and it’s why we get the results we do.
Interested in optimizing your hormones and feeling like you did in your 20s no matter how old you are? Contact us at (323) 874-9355 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org