Leptin and its receptors are key regulators of energy homeostasis and body weight. Studies show that decreasing leptin sensitivity leads to metabolic disorders, including obesity. The development of leptin resistance includes physiologic mechanisms such as gene mutations that encode leptin and its receptors, factors that alter blood-brain barrier permeability, and proteins involved in the self-regulation of leptin synthesis. Leptin resistance is a complex pathophysiological phenomenon with a variety of options for potential treatment.
Leptin resistance is a key driver of fat gain in humans. So, let’s take a deeper look at what happens and what you can do about it.
What is leptin?
Leptin is a peptide (short-protein) hormone that is secreted by the kidneys, placenta, salivary glands, and stomach. Leptin receptors are found in their highest concentrations in the brain, in particular the hippocampus and hypothalamus.
Keep in mind that leptin levels increase exponentially with fat mass. As you gain more fat, leptin levels rise at an increasingly high rate of gain.
Some studies show correlations between chronically-elevated leptin levels and obesity, overeating, and metabolic disorders like hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
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