The Ob mouse, pictured below, is a strain of mouse that has a genetic mutation that makes it obese and unhealthy. It has been used for many years as a model of obesity to do research on, THOUGH THE REASON THAT IT WAS OBESE HAD ELUDED SCIENTISTS.
Yes, that’s the fellow on the right. No, no that’s not nice to say it looks like…..
This ignorance on obesity changed in 1994, when Jeffrey Friedman discovered that this mouse lacked a PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN hormone called LEPTIN. When our chubby friend was injected with leptin it became thin, vibrant and very healthy within weeks. This made headlines around the world, heralding the fact that “the cure for obesity had been found”.
You can probably guess the reaction of “big pharma”, tripping over themselves with trillion dollar signs in their eyes to start producing leptin on a large-scale.
I’m glad to say that this euphoria didn’t last long because when people were tested for leptin, it was found that, unlike the Ob mouse, they did not lack leptin; on the contrary almost all overweight and obese people had excess leptin.
These people were LEPTIN RESISTANT and giving them extra leptin did little good.
THERE ARE OVER 37 TRILLION CELLS IN OUR BODY
These cells must communicate and interact with each other to form A REPUBLIC OF CELLS that we call our individual self.
Isn’t it sad that 37 trillion cells communicate and share a great coexistence together, and a mere 7.4 billion people in the world have managed to make such a big mess of it?
Our health and life depend on how accurately instructions are conveyed to our cells so that they can act in harmony. It is the communication among the individual cells that will determine our health and our life.
Hormones undertake the communication. Thus, the most important molecules in your body that ultimately will decide your health and life are HORMONES.
Leptin is a very powerful and influential hormone produced by FAT CELLS.
Prior to leptin’s discovery, fat was viewed as an ugly energy storage depot that most people just wanted to get rid of. After this discovery, it was labeled an endocrine organ like the ovaries, pancreas and pituitary, influencing the rest of the body and, in particular, the brain.
Leptin, as far as science currently knows, is the most powerful regulator that tells your brain what to do about life’s two main biological goals; EATING AND REPRODUCTION. Your fat, by way of leptin, tells your brain whether you should be hungry, eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce and make babies, or (partly by controlling insulin) whether to work overtime to maintain and repair yourself.
If a person is getting too fat, the extra fat produces more leptin, which is supposed to tell your brain that there is too much fat stored, more should not be stored, and the excess should be burned.
Leptin appears to play a significant role in:
- Heart disease,
- Autoimmune diseases
- Inflammatory diseases, and
When normal amounts of leptin and insulin are exceeded, as happens when you are resistant, they cause great damage to your cardio-vascular system and your health in general.
So, leptin is crucial for general health and ageing, therefore you should do all in your power to PREVENT LEPTIN RESISTANCE.
HOW DOES ONE BECOME LEPTIN RESISTANT?
People become leptin-resistant by the same general mechanism that they become insulin-resistant; BY OVEREXPOSURE TO HIGH LEVELS OF THE HORMONE.
I’ve given an example regarding insulin and leptin resistance in my post “Nutrition/Health” dated March 15, 2015. It is like sitting in a smelly room, which at first is quite bad, but after a while you stop being able to smell it, as the “signal” no longer gets through.
As sugar gets metabolized in fat cells, fat releases surges in leptin, which results in leptin-resistance, just as it results in insulin-resistance.
So, both go hand-in-hand and the only way to reestablish leptin (and insulin) signaling is to prevent those surges by following a healthy diet.
One thing that seems absurd to me is a dietician and some doctors suggesting that you eat 5-6 times a day; that means 5-6 surges a day instead of 2-3.
SUGAR IS A NO-NO, AS ARE GRAINS.
The last thing I would like to WARN AGAINST is the consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), as it is crucial that you STOP if you don’t want to end up with leptin resistance.
YOUR FASTED LEPTIN LEVEL SHOULD BE 5-6 ng/mL. HAVE BLOOD WORK DONE AND FİND OUT.
SOME FACTS REGARDING HFCS
It is a manufactured sweetener AND YOUR BRAIN DOESN’T RECOGNIZE IT AS REGULAR FOOD, so no leptin is produced by your fat cells, and thus the “appetite center” is never shut down. There is another hormone called gherlin, produced in the intestinal track, which signals you to eat which is also NOT shut down, so you are hungry all the time.
HFCS is 20 % sweeter than white table sugar (sucrose) and half the price. Given that the primary objective of companies in a capitalistic society is profit maximization, what sweetener do you think they use?
Here is a short list of products on your supermarket shelves that most probably contain HFCS:
- Breakfast cereals,
- Salad dressings
- Condiments, in general,
- Pasta (spaghetti) sauces,
- Peanut butter,
- Soft drinks,
- Cookies, etc.,etc.
READ THE LABLES, PLEASE.
Next week, I’ll go over insulin again, it is almost as important as leptin.