Leptin: Why You Need It & Foods to Boost it

Updated on February 28th, 2021
Food Sources To Increase Leptin

Leptin is a hormone developed in the fat cells.  Leptin sends signals to our brain to let us know that we are full and should stop eating. It also signals our brain to turn on our metabolism. The presence of excessive leptin has been associated with obesity.

When there is excessive leptin in our bloodstream, leptin sensitivity decreases because the excess appears to block the effective flow of leptin to our brain. The result is increased cravings and appetite, as well as decreased metabolic function.

Other studies show that injected leptin positively impacted both cravings and metabolism in rats, although the effect was reversed or minimized in some rats with pre-existing obesity [1].

What Is Leptin?

The body produces several hormones that help you eat the appropriate amount of food and sustain a healthy weight. Leptin is one of them. Leptin is a polypeptide hormone generated by fat (adipose) cells in your body [2]. When we have more fat, we produce more leptin.

After the fat cells produce leptin, it goes through the bloodstream to the hypothalamus [3]. The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that regulates thirst, hunger, mood, and many other physical functions. 

When leptin receptors in the hypothalamus connect with the hormone leptin, they send satiety signals to the brain that you have enough fat (energy) stored away. Energy stores are fat stores. Leptin is the body’s way of telling the brain that we can stop eating because we have all the stored fat (energy) that we need. 

Leptin has other body functions, but most healthy eaters and dieters are most interested in leptin for weight loss. Scientists began studying leptin in the 1990s and investigating how the hormone may help us shed weight and keep the pounds off.

Can Foods Provide Leptin?

Although certain foods do have leptin, taking such foods won’t help as leptin cannot be absorbed by our intestines. Several foods that are usually referred to as leptin dense foods actually increase leptin sensitivity and don’t consist of much leptin themselves.

Thus, the most potent way to increase the amount of leptin in our body is by consuming foods that increase our body’s leptin sensitivity. Consuming such foods high in leptin will increase our leptin sensitivity and help stimulate better metabolic activity. This results in controlled body weight and lesser cravings.

Maintaining Healthy Leptin Levels:

Leptin is vital for our body and performs several functions. Leptin helps regulate our appetite by restricting the overproduction of hormones that increase our appetite, thereby acting as an appetite suppressor. Leptin works along with Adiponectin to fight metabolic syndrome [4].

You are aware that leptin cannot be absorbed directly from food. So, let’s look at how to increase leptin sensitivity and ensure that you maintain healthy leptin levels.

Foods Rich in Leptin

Leptin can’t be administered orally because the body can’t process it through the intestines. If there were leptin-rich foods, it wouldn’t significantly impact weight gain, weight loss, or cravings because the body doesn’t absorb the leptin through the intestinal tract.

Since leptin is a hormone formed in our adipose tissue, there aren’t any leptin-dense foods that will cause our leptin levels to rise. There are foods, however, that can help to decrease or increase our leptin sensitivity.

If our leptin channels are not functioning rightly, eating foods to enhance leptin sensitivity may restore the way leptin signals our brain to shut off our appetite and begin burning fuel. The result is that we will eat less and metabolize foods more efficiently, which could result in weight loss.

Best Food Sources To Increase Leptin:

1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens have most of the needed nutrients without adding unwanted fat to our body. Vegetables like broccoli, kale, and spinach are particularly good for the body as they are also high in fiber. Fiber has been known to reduce LDL cholesterol and boost leptin levels.

2. Zinc

Several studies have proved that individuals with leptin deficiencies usually have zinc deficiency, and it has been noticed that most obese individuals seem to suffer from zinc deficiency. The best way to boost leptin sensitivity and increase the amount of zinc you consume is by including nuts, cocoa, seafood, and pumpkin in the diet.

[Read: Foods High in Zinc]

3. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish is packed with numerous essential vitamins and contains rich amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These help increase our body’s sensitivity to leptin, and we will keep our weight under check. This results in regulated cholesterol levels and a healthy heart.

4. Protein

This is one of the finest foods to increase our leptin sensitivity. Protein increases our leptin levels and helps energize our body. This keeps us feeling fuller for more extended periods.

Foods That Increase Leptin Sensitivity

Consuming foods that balance leptin levels may reestablish leptin sensitivity and turn leptin’s signals to the brain back on. 

Having protein for breakfast is one step we can take to start to restore leptin sensitivity. It is also recommended to take fiber-rich foods and leafy greens. World’s Healthiest Foods also recommends fish as a food that helps to regulate leptin levels in the body.

Foods That Decrease Leptin Sensitivity

You have looked at foods that increase leptin sensitivity and help promote healthy leptin levels in your body. Certain foods reduce leptin sensitivity, as well.

Generally, foods like pre-packaged meals and processed carbs negatively affect leptin sensitivity and decrease it. This can lead to several complications.

Bottom Line

Here ends the leptin rich foods list. Now that you are familiar with how vital leptin is and how to increase your leptin sensitivity, start consuming the required foods, and bring the weight under control again. 

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