Leptin and Ghrelin - The Hunger Games
Updated: May 12, 2021
Leptin and ghrelin are two hormones that affect our energy balance big time. Leptin is referred to as the satiety hormone, whereas, ghrelin is referred to as the hunger hormone.
Leptin is produced by fat cells in our body and it's main function is to regulate long term fat storage and calories burned. It fights to make us stop eating long-term by sending signals to our brain that our tummy is full.
Ghrelin on the other hand is produced by the stomach and it's main function is to increase our appetite. It fights to make us eat more short term by sending signals to our brain that we are hungry and need food.
So higher levels of leptin make us feel full and higher levels of ghrelin make us feel hungry. Why then are people with high leptin levels overweight? In some overweight people, the brain isn't getting the leptin signal and it's tricked into thinking it needs higher levels of ghrelin, thereby causing hunger and reducing number of calories burned. This is a condition known as leptin resistance.
Potential causes of leptin resistance include inflammation, elevated free fatty acids and high leptin levels most of which are elevated with being overweight. While it's not entirely clear how to reverse this condition and there are numerous theories, researchers do think following an exercise plan and a good diet may help.
Below are some natural ways to help improve leptin resistance and promote weight loss:
* Increase physical activity
* Decrease intake of high-sugar foods and beverages
* Eat more fish