Recently I came across an interesting subject regarding Leptin and how overtime individuals can become Leptin Resistance, just like they do Insulin Resistance. For those who are unaware about the role of leptin, let me explain in brief what it does and how its regulated.
What is Leptin?
Leptin is a hormone that plays a vital role in regulating fat metabolism. It is released by fat cells and signals receptors in the hypothalamus to control apetite, specifically tell your body when you are full. Without leptin, your body cannot control its apetite and your eating behavior can become chaotic. The amount of leptin circulating in your bloodstream should be proportionate to your body fat. Women naturally have higher body fat, therefore have higher levels of leptin. This explains why when I was eating only low fat and had a very low body fat, I was always ravenous and my apetite felt out of balance. Individuals who eat a balanced diet and intake dietary fat with a balanced protein consumption should have normal leptin levels and be leptin sensitive, meaning an increase in leptin after a meal will signal your body that you ingesting energy for use and signal when you are full.
Another topic to ponder, is how to we become leptin resistance. Overtime as we unbalanced diets, overeat, or even eat high levels of carbs we are in danger of increased fat gain if excess glucose is not burned off by exercise. Overtime we accumulate more body fat, which results in less food being required, so leptin is secreted to suppress apetite. Overtime, if too much leptin is circulating in your bloodstream, your leptin receptors become resistance to the signals which leads to leptin resistance.
How do you know if you are leptin resistance?
Individuals suffering from leptin resistance most likely have difficulty in losing weight. As explained above, leptin is vital in signaling your brain that you are full. With more fat on your body, more will the leptin resist to tell your brain that you are satiated. Symptoms also include increased fatigue, hunger after meals, difficulty sleeping (insomnia), increased blood pressure levels, increasing waist line, weight gain, high body fat, excess abdominal fat, obesity, darkening of skin around the neck, armpits and folds, stretch marks, etc. (Leptin Resistance)
The Leptin Reset - Treatment Plan
Dr Kruse is very well known in regards to helping individuals resetting their leptin receptors to help the body become more leptin sensitive. So what is the protocol called for by Dr. Kruse? From reading his blog, he wants us to use a strict Paleo diet and eventually transition into a more Primal-like diet once you are Leptin Sensitive. I am not advising anyone to do this, but it might be in your best interest to take a look and decide if the program is right for you. It can possibly tweaked to meet your health needs.
Here are the guidelines outlined on his blog:
- Eat 50-75 grams of protein for breakfast within 30 minutes of rising. If you cannot get all the protein, you can eat the remaining calories in fat. A sample breakfast would be 4 eggs with one serving of meat. One egg has 6 grams, one serving of bacon also has 6 grams. Chicken breast has 25 g. You should also incorporate coconut oil into your breakfast.
- Do not eat again for 4-5 hours, NO SNACKING. If you're not hungry, don't be afraid to skip lunch. You should aim to eat 2-3 times a day. Eating a high-protein breakfast should keep you full until dinner.
- Do not eat after 7pm. Try to allow 4-5 hours after dinner before bed. (This may be a little difficult for most)
- During the first 6-8 weeks of the protocol, avoid exercise. He recommends this because your body does not efficiently use your food for energy. If you want to incorporate a workout, do it after 5 pm.
- All Meats, as always, wild and grass-fed are better than grain-fed.
- Health fats like Coconut oil, Butter, Heavy Whipping Cream, Raw Cheese
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Limit Omega 6s
- Limit carbs to less than 50g, or better 25g
- Grains, Legumes, Starchy Veggies, Vegetable oils
- Dairy - causes insulin spike, if not then you can enjoy it
Some other tidbits of information I read about Leptin resets that it can aid with Leaky Gut Syndrome. So if you're like me and have digestive issues, maybe this is a great challenge you might want to take. I am excited in trying it and hopefully can give my readers some feedback once I complete it.
Here is a great forum conversation on Paleo Hacks about success stories with Dr Kruse's protocol for Leptin Reset