If you have thyroid problems and gained weight, you probably want to know how to reverse leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone made up of adipose cells.
It regulates digestive and energy metabolism to keep you from getting hungry. When receptors in the brain block out leptin production, the result is a slower metabolism.
This manifests as “feeling hungry all the time.” Being leptin resistant also causes your body to store more body fat and could lead to thyroid autoimmunity.
In this article:
- What Is Leptin Resistance?
- What Causes Leptin Resistance?
- What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Leptin Resistance?
- Tips to Reverse Leptin Resistance
- How Long Does It Take to Correct Leptin Resistance?
- What Are the Factors That Help You Self-Assess If You Have Reversed Leptin Resistance?
- Does Reversing Leptin Resistance Fix Adrenal and Thyroid Problems and Insulin Resistance?
- The Connection Between Insulin Resistance and Leptin Resistance
- Does Taking Leptin Supplements Work?
- Why Is Leptin Diet Beneficial?
- What to Remember in Doing the Leptin Diet
How to Reverse Leptin Resistance the Right Way
What Is Leptin Resistance?
Leptin is a hormone that interacts with the parts of the brain that control your eating behavior. The adipose fat cells in your body produce these leptins to signal your body to stop eating.
If your body is leptin resistant, it doesn’t recognize high leptin levels, and this makes you more prone to being diagnosed with obesity due to over-eating.
What Causes Leptin Resistance?
There are a few potential mechanisms that lead to this condition:
- High leptin levels can lead to this hormone’s resistance because the brain does not respond to leptin action anymore.
- Elevated fatty acids can increase fat metabolites in your brain and disrupt the hormone’s signaling.
- Inflammation due to obesity can also cause this condition because leptin is necessary to control body weight.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Leptin Resistance?
- Being Overweight or Underweight
This is the most common symptom of the condition, especially when you’re 20 or more pounds overweight and you have excess belly fat. This excess fat can be a byproduct of your brain not responding to leptin appropriately.
If you’re also at least 10 pounds underweight and have been trying to gain healthily but unsuccessful, it may be that you’re leptin resistant.
- Being Sleep Deprived or Stressed
The combination of sleep deprivation and stress can elevate your cortisol, a stress hormone. The higher this is, the less sleep and more stress you experience, which can then result in poor health.
Research showed that cortisol can increase plasma leptin concentrations, which may act as physiological regulators in the secretion of leptin.
- Failure to Lose Weight Even After Applying Sudden Calorie Reduction in Diet
If you’re following a diet and losing weight fast, it can backfire and cause your body to be more resistant to leptin.
When your body experiences a sudden decrease in caloric intake, it maximizes its ability to use stored fat as fuel for energy. If this activity goes on without you getting better alternatives to replace the missing calories, it makes it even harder to lose weight as hunger increases.
- Having Constant Food Cravings
When your body does not respond to the message of satiety, fat cells release more leptin that can cause the hormone’s resistance. This can lead to the desire to continue eating and to crave for more foods.
If you think your food cravings are out of control, especially for junk foods, it might be that you’re leptin resistant. The same goes for when it’s difficult for you to have nothing to eat for at least four hours.
Tips to Reverse Leptin Resistance
1. Talk to Your Doctor First
If you have yet to speak to your doctor about your suspicions about the condition, you need to do it as soon as possible. Your doctor can help shed light on your leptin resistance symptoms and might order some lab work to be sure.
You can get a definitive answer and create a health plan on how to manage the condition.
Two ways to check if you have leptin resistance are via fasting serum leptin levels and uric acid levels tests. Your doctor may conclude you have leptin resistance if you are at least 20 pounds overweight and scored high leptin and uric acid levels.
2. Take Effective Leptin Resistance Medication
These injectables are also often used to control diabetes and insulin levels.
3. Try Natural Medication
If you prefer to use natural medication, you can ask your doctor for leptin resistance alternatives like Gluco SX, Crave Control, and SuperSlim. These natural medications come with herbs that can help boost your metabolism, increase your energy, and reduce appetite.
Consult your doctor to know the dosage you need to manage your condition.
4. Get a Good Amount of Sleep Each Night
If you work at night or travel a lot overseas, you are at a higher risk for leptin resistance. According to research, sleep disruption (or lack of it) can induce leptin resistance.
Our bodies are biologically conditioned to rest at night, so not getting enough rest at the right time could increase your risk for leptin resistance. If you cannot avoid it, switch your circadian rhythm by going with at least eight hours of good night’s sleep and avoid eating a lot at night.
Circadian Rhythm Definition: A 24-hour cycle of the behavioral, mental, and physical changes of living beings, including plants and animals
5. Mind When and How Much You Eat
Humans are naturally wired to eat 12 hours a day and fast 12 hours at night. Eating more at night not only induces leptin resistance, but it also increases weight gain.
If your current lifestyle cannot help regulate your food intake, you need to have a leptin resistance diet and introduce a high-intensity workout before or after your day to help reduce your body weight.
An example of a leptin resistance diet involves high leptin foods. These kinds of foods will make you feel satiated longer:
- Boiled potatoes
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
- Meat and fish
- Greek yogurt
6. Reduce Sugar, Saturated Fat, and Carb Intake
If you live with this condition, you need to avoid foods that are high in saturated fat, sugar, or both. The research concluded these could cause an inflammatory response to the hypothalamus, a part of your brain that promotes leptin resistance and obesity.
Also, reducing your carbs can help decrease triglycerides, which inhibit the transport of leptin signals to the brain. You should also avoid highly-processed foods. They can cause chemical changes in your brain, resulting in the desire to eat more and disrupting your appetite regulation.
7. Try to Relax
While medication can help manage leptin resistance, you should avoid taking a leptin supplement to lose more weight. Leptin medication may have a pleasant side effect, but taking too much of it will cause problems in the future.
Unless you are one of the few people who do not produce leptin, eat protein or vegetables that can safely pass through your body and help you lose weight instead.
8. Exercise Daily
A study on rats has found exercise as an efficient manner to either restore your body’s sensitivity to leptin or reverse leptin resistance. If you are not fond of the gym, sign up for a fun workout like hiking, swimming, or even sports.
You can also try a fitness regimen that offers a great support system like CrossFit, dancing, or street running. As long as it involves getting active and moving your body, any exercise or fitness regimen can help you manage leptin resistance.
9. Get a Follow-up Checkup
How would you know if your medication, your new habits, and diet actually work? Going to your doctor after a period of taking leptin resistance medication, leptin diet, and exercise will give you an idea of whether you are making progress.
You cannot measure your success if you only rely on your weight loss.
How Long Does It Take to Correct Leptin Resistance?
The period varies on how much damage has already been done to your metabolism. Your willingness to adapt to the changes in your diet and exercise also matters.
What Are the Factors That Help You Self-Assess If You Have Reversed Leptin Resistance?
Once you’ve followed the important tips to reverse the condition, try to make a self-evaluation if you were successful in correcting the hormone levels. You can refer to the following lifestyle changes:
- Energy and sleep – You can expect improvements in your sleep and energy over 6-12 months of reversing leptin resistance. You feel warmer with lower body temperature, and you can achieve restful sleep.
- Appetite – Carb cravings start to go away, and you feel full most of the time, without the need to eat three meals daily.
- Thoughts, personality, and mood – You become less explosive on intense moments and become more mindful and thoughtful. Your mental acuity, intuition, and insight become sharper as well.
- Appearance – You will notice that your nails and hair enhance their presentation and color. Your skin looks softer and better, and your face starts to look better as well.
Despite these improvements, it’s still best to visit your doctor for confirmation of the process, as mentioned earlier.
Does Reversing Leptin Resistance Fix Adrenal and Thyroid Problems and Insulin Resistance?
For insulin resistance, yes. Reversing the condition also helps correct resistance to insulin, given you do the methods properly.
Anyone with a leptin issue can also develop problems with the thyroid. A study revealed that leptin resistance can increase autoimmunity in obese individuals.
When you are already suffering from autoimmune thyroid disease, addressing the inflammatory component (obesity) can significantly help suppress the autoimmune response and reverse leptin resistance.
For the adrenal issues, it varies on the severity of any adrenal condition, considering that most of them deal with cortisol. High levels of cortisol are often difficult to correct than low levels.
The Connection Between Insulin Resistance and Leptin Resistance
Insulin resistance and leptin resistance are closely related. When insulin resistance leads to an elevated insulin level, your brain finds it difficult to estimate leptin levels, leading to leptin resistance.
When there are improvements in leptin sensitivity, you may experience lower insulin levels, faster metabolism, good control over appetite and cravings, and better energy levels.
Does Taking Leptin Supplements Work?
There is no clear explanation if supplements can help reverse leptin resistance directly. Many supplements don’t contain the actual hormone, but instead, have various nutrients that can increase leptin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.
Why Is Leptin Diet Beneficial?
Many principles of this diet are the same as various weight-loss diets.
The diet highlights the importance of portion control in terms of the nutrients you need to take. It also has easy-to-maintain guidelines that don’t require you to perform an intensive exercise to lose weight.
What to Remember in Doing the Leptin Diet
There are five major rules for this diet:
- Practice portion control in your meals and stop eating before you’re completely full.
- Minimize carbs but don’t remove it completely.
- Eat three meals a day without snacks in between, and wait at least five hours before eating the next meal.
- No eating after dinner.
- Eat foods with 20-30 g of protein for breakfast.
The leptin diet also highlights the need for fresh and organic foods with 30% carbs, 30% healthy fat, and 40% protein. It also allows you to consume the following food options:
- Cottage cheese
- Nut butter
- Lots of vegetables
It’s also important to avoid the following foods that contribute to weight gain:
- Soy products
- Energy drinks
- Diet and regular soda
- Artificial sweeteners
Like other types of diets, the leptin diet has its own set of restrictions on your food choices. If you want to follow this meal plan, it’s best to consult with your doctor first.
Getting diagnosed with leptin resistance can be overcome with a long-term health plan. If you initially lose weight, it does not mean your brain will reverse leptin resistance.
If you keep to your leptin medication, diet, exercise, and resolve, you will successfully manage this health condition while maintaining a healthy weight.
What other tips to reverse leptin resistance can you share with us? Leave them in the comments section below!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on July 3, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.