Throughout the past 60+ years, we have viewed fat as a substance stored in various parts of the body as an “emergency energy reserve.” A place for extra calories in the event the system calls on them when needed. The past decade as shown a shift in this thinking. “Extra” is now viewed as “excess” and excess is not healthy.
What caused this shift in thinking?
The discovery of the hormone Leptin. What is Leptin? It is a hormone released by the fat cells in what is known as white adipose tissue. It provides a message to the brain which then impacts how and more so, how much the body stores fat. In addition to fat stores, Leptin is involved with sex hormones and reproductive functions, cardiovascular issues, thyroid and adrenal health, insulin and stress, along with disease processes such as inflammation and even cancer. One can easily see it is a primary player in nearly all aspects of health. The one aspect that we will focus on is fat storage.
Fact: Virtually all overweight people have high Leptin levels. In addition to high levels, the body becomes resistant to the effects of this powerful hormone. Why is this important? Leptin is designed to signal the brain that there is enough food in the system. When resistance is present, the brain thinks that there is a shortage of fat and begins to fill the fat cells. Metabolism slows down as well. This problem is accelerated as we age. It is easy to see the problem that this creates! Are you a person who seems to eat little yet struggles with weight? The aforementioned explains how this occurs. It is a “three-headed monster” so to speak: Leptin levels become high due to poor eating patterns and especially overeating.
This leads to poor functioning of the thyroid and the adrenal glands. In short, the metabolism slows down. Insulin, another powerful hormone is also affected. Insulin resistance (this reaction started the whole “low carb” craze) also begins to occur. The end result is that we do not get the “qi” or energy from foods that we normally would. More food is needed to extract ideal energy amounts from.
The end result — Overeating, high Leptin levels, slow metabolism, no energy! What We Can Do About This Now for the good new. There are many dietary adjustments and a few select supplements that can make a huge difference in lowering and balancing your Leptin levels.
Let’s start with the dietary adjustments. 7 Leptin Rules to Follow
Allow 11-13 hours between dinner time and the next day’s breakfast. Coupled with this is avoid eating after 7pm. There are a multitude of reasons for this. At the top of the list is that eating at night causes Leptin levels to elevate and become imbalanced. Allow 5-6 hours between the 3 major meals. Implied in here is that one should have exactly 3 meals per day. No more. No less Do not snack between meals. This more than anything will disrupt Leptin levels. Let breakfast be your largest meal. Be sure to include protein with breakfast. Avoid very large meals. The overall goal is 2300 calories per day, +/- 200. Females should be on the lower end. Males on the higher end. If you are very active, you can work upwards. At each meal, keep simple carbohydrate intake low. There are very few health benefits to ingesting simple carbs. As such, keep the breads, pastas, crackers, white rice etc., low. Again, the exception to this rule is athletes. The aforementioned are basic and easy to follow. They do not require any special type of diet per se, no special foods or food combining. In fact, most are common sense approaches to eating.
You can do this. To keep you Leptin levels in balance, you must do this.
NOTE: It typically takes a minimum of 48 hours up to 5 days for the body to turn on its Leptin-balanced fat burning mechanism. In 2-5 days, your body will begin to utilized fat — stored fat — as a major source of energy IF AND ONLY IF you stick with the 7 Leptin Rules. Break one rule once and it will take the body 2-5 days to re-start the fat-burning process. Moral of the story? Stick with this until you are happy with your body fat percentage.
One tell tale sign that your system is in Leptin-balanced, fat burning mode is that you feel full at night and have a steady stream of energy throughout the day. This may take a while to experience initially, but once experienced, you may wonder how anyone can eat any other way! Supplement Protocol Fortunately the supplement protocol to lower Leptin levels is simple and inexpensive. There are only 2 recommendations: CLA or Conjugated Linoleic Acid. This is a type of fat found in dairy and certain meats. CLA has been shown to lower Leptin levels. A standard dose is 3000mg per day. CLA can be found in virtually every health store. I have recommended the brand “Tonalin” from Vitamin Shoppe most frequently. A multi-antioxidant. There is a perfect 1.0 correlation between high Leptin levels and low antioxidant levels. Conversely, when antioxidant levels are increased, Leptin levels dip.
There are an enormous amount of antioxidants on the market from Vitamins A, E and C to ALA and Colostrum. I have recommended Cataplex C from Standard Process the most. Final Note
Lastly, to make this Leptin lowering program complete, add exercise to the mix. 45-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise is the optimal. This, combined with dietary adjustments and the supplement protocol is a virtually assurance of success with this program, with your weight and with your life!