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Leptin Sensitivity and Leptin Resistance

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

At first this topic may not interest you and for many years I let it slide by as a casual interest.  But the phenomenal results of the 4 Phase Fat Elimination HCG Program has made me look deeper into what was happening in the body.


As I looked deeper into the whole leptin, insulin, hypothalamus, thyroid, fertility connection the more in awe I was of our body and the more I knew that the answer was and always will be food that our evolutionary path has dictated.

Your body is not a single being but rather a community of trillions of cells and bacteria all working in harmony towards the survival of you.  Health, longevity, energy, aging are all dependent on the communication between the different parts of the body, cells and microbiomics (non human cells).  Change the environment of the body either by force (medications) or passively by food will change the whole system, not just one parameter - as it seems to be thought in modern health care.

I’ve often asked whether the heart foundation with their crazy tick criteria actually believes that the heart is connected to the rest of the body.  Many of the foods have preservative, colours, flavours, man made sugars, refined foods, emulsifiers, food enhancers and much more.  These are all new foods that challenge the body’s system and communication between itself and its symbiotic relationship with microbes.

Inside each one of us lies the perfect information for wonderful health, yet people are getting sicker at an alarming rate.  A disease is never a disease of an individual part, for instance osteoporosis is not due to lack of calcium, anemia is not about lack of iron, high cholesterol is not a disease of cholesterol consumed, diabetes is not a disease of blood sugar, nor is heart disease a disease of fat consumption and hypertension is definitely not about salt. 

This is sciences interpretation of the body and how it works, and the more they learn the more they realise the inadequacies of their hypothesis, research and conclusions. In the end it seems that all dis-ease is caused due to a breakdown of the communication and symbiotic harmony between the network of trillions of cells in the body. 

Why does this happen?

My studies in anthropology has taught me that we evolved to eat a certain food, as we evolved foods evolved, and so the cycle continued through the ages.  As the food we ate changed and the environment changed our bodies adapted; brain size increased, digestive system shortened, mouth narrowed and teeth got smaller to name but a few adaptations.  For thousands of generations culture and tradition taught us what to eat and our bodies intellectually figured out how to keep harmony amongst the body's cells.

We have an incredible system in our body that tells us when to eat, when to store fat, when to increase sugar for energy as opposed to fat and protein.  The system is not a closed system but rather a system of loops and feedbacks that communicate to each other the delicate homeostasis that is required for life. With the right food this communication and harmony gives health and longevity.

Enter modern food during the middle of last century.  (Although I don’t really like calling it food it is just a bunch of numbers and chemicals disguised as something edible).  Also enter the slide of health with the increase in lifestyle diseases including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, immune diseases and so on. 

As we do more research and learn more about the bodies communication system we realise the tit for tat hypothesis is not really working the body is not that simplistic.

Obesity seems to be at the forefront of many modern diseases, although not the only cause.  It was always thought that weight gain and obesity was too many calories eaten and not enough burnt and perhaps a lack of self discipline.  The old calorie in calorie out system!  We now know that this is so far from what really happens that if someone says it again you know they have no idea of how the body works.  The absurdity of this simplicity is an absolute insult to the intellect of the body.

Survival, health and homeostasis has always been the aim of the body.  There are systems in place that check on this on a second by second basis.  If there is not enough food stored the body will ask you to consume food, if your nutrients are low it will ask you again.  If there is enough vitamins and minerals and stored fat your body will stop asking you to eat, it will boost the fertility system so that you can reproduce and perhaps store more nutrition for a scarce food day or season.

It may increase or decrease your metabolism depending on conditions.  If you need to run fast it will set into motion a system that shunts blood  from one area of the body (brain, and digestive tract) and sends it to the muscles.  It keeps cholesterol flowing through your arteries so that you can make hormones, vitamin D, cortisol, to name a few.  Not one system in the body is alone they all communicate with each other and have a loop back system so every cell and microbe knows its job.

The bodies amazing communication system has been sabotaged by the food that is now presented and served up at many meals.  The increase in refined carbohydrates, including many refined sugars and man made sugars contributes to a rise in blood sugar level which affects insulin,  but it also affects the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, blood components, leptin blood levels, fat cells, endocrine system, fertility, immunity and cortisol (this list is not complete).   As a result the system does what it needs to do, it tries to find homeostatsis but struggles to do this with refined foods loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients.
 
The body becomes insensitive or resistant to the communication hormones such as insulin and leptin.  These two important communicators/hormones are then released in greater amounts needing to be picked up by receptors but are not able to effect the loop system to create homeostasis due to the resistance or “pooping” out (that’s right they are buggered) of the receptors.  While the body is trying to make things right we keep stuffing non food items into our mouths believing that all will work itself out especially with the new drug treatment for the latest diseases.

Communication amongst the trillions of cells breaks down, we eat too much, we get fat, we think bad thoughts, we create addictions, our immune systems fail us, we stop moving because we don’t feel good and a downward health spiral both physically and emotionally develops.  The doctor says food has nothing to do with your condition and you blindly take another ineffective medication that merely masks the real cause of the problem, which in the end  is a breakdown in the bodies ability to communicate and give the right signals for survival.

Like any successful community there is usually a leader.  Like any good orchestra their is a conductor, making sure all is in harmony.  The cell and microbe network in our body also has a conductor. Between 1994 and 2003 it was revealed more and more to be a hormone produced and released by fat cells called leptin - it has been dubbed the master hormone.  Knowing what I know about the body I believe that there is more then one, but let’s just look at what the fat cells and leptin do.

Fat Cells are mini Endocrine Organs

It was once thought that fat cells were just storage devises for fat, but research over the last 5 years shows them to be in fact a collective endocrine organ affecting fertility, metabolism, bone health, immunity as well as fat and sugar levels in the body.   Scientists have even gone as far as to say that an enlarged fat organ should be viewed with much the same sort of alarm as one would an enlarged liver or heart.

Scientists have identified 80 different proteins produced by the fat cells, these include 6 new proteins and 20 proteins that have not been previously detected in human fat cells. Fat cells also contain important fat soluble vitamins.  The research is showing us how stored fat has a role to play in heart disease, diabetes and perhaps even cancer.

What is interesting is that the fat cells in the upper body, may produce more of certain hormones than fat cells concentrated in the lower body.  And fat cells that are within visceral fat may release different types and amounts of hormones.  Just more proof that the body has a wisdom that science can’t even fathom.

Not only do fat cells secrete hormones but they seem to respond to hormone levels too.  In times of stress the hormone cortisol is produced which has the ability to increase abdominal fat levels.  Fat cells in the central region of the body tend to grow in response to cortisol.

It has always been a belief that fat cells were produced and that was the level you would have for the rest of your life.  But research tells us this is not the case.  If you fill your allotted fat cells, the body will produce more and if you empty your fat cells the body will destroy them.  In fact foods, especially key ingredients in blueberries have the ability to breakdown fat cells.  In mice there was a 70% reduction in the fat cells after consuming blueberries.  I suspect that there are more fruits that will help in this process, we just haven’t researched them yet.  This is more proof why foods from nature and foods we’ve been eating through evolution are the foods that will sustain us and give us health.

Among hormones released by the fat cells are; resistin, adiponectin, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha and leptin, all have important roles in the body.  

Resistin named because it seems to have something to do with insulin resistance also seems to be linked to inflammation and energy homeostasis.
interleukin-6 as both inflammatory and anti inflammatory properties and helps with the immune system.

Tumor nerosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) is produced by fat cells as well as macrophages.  It is a cytokine in systemic immune response and is a member of a group of cytokines that stimulate the acute phase reaction.  

Adiponectin makes the body more sensitive to insulin and controls blood sugar levels.

Leptin an Important Communicator
Leptin controls appetite, keeps fat stores in check by sending messages to the hypothalamus in the brain to indicate a sense of fullness and satisfaction during meals, signaling the cessation of eating.  It is a full proof check system for survival of the body and species.

With the abundance of food like substances and the increase in refined carbohydrates, with a push for people to eat breakfast cereals and bread that has been fortified (thus the belief it is good for you) along with pasta being thought to be a health food when in fact it is nothing but refined white flour and water, as a result we have an epidemic of insulin resistance but even more so leptin resistance.

Leptin Resistance
Both insulin and leptin resistance is caused when the body is subjected to excess amounts of insulin and leptin due to a highly refined diet with an excess of sugar and refined carbohydrates as well as excess fat storage in the body.

The more refined non nutrient foods the more insulin, the more fat stored the more leptin.

 As a result the body stops responding to these two vital hormones and communication breaks down creating blood sugar highs and lows, constant hunger and fatigue, high cholesterol and triglycerides levels in the blood, lowered metabolism, thyroid problems and infertility.  All this dis-ease is the body trying to maintain homeostasis and communication but without the right ingredients it is fighting a losing battle.

The body secretes leptin as weight is gained to signal the hypothalamus that there are adequate energy (fat) stores. The hypothalamus then stimulates metabolic processes that results in weight/fat loss or energy use.  This in turn reduces hunger, there is satiety, metabolism increase and an increase in lipolysis - using fat as energy.  Research has found that due to leptin resistance this process is dysfunctional in the majority of people who have difficultly losing weight.  Correcting this malfunction seems to be one of the keys to changing a yo yo weight issue as well as the symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome X.
Leptin resistance is sensed as starvation, so multiple mechanisms are activated to increase fat stores, rather than burn excess fat stores. Leptin resistance also stimulates the formation of reverse T3, which blocks the effects of thyroid hormone on metabolism.  (This is explained more fully in the following box but if you don’t want the technical move past it)

The thyroid gland secretes an inactive thyroid hormone called thyroxine, also known as T4. This is regulated by thyroid stimulation hormone (TSH) produced by the brain (specifically the pituitary). Normally, the inactive T4 is converted inside the cell to the active thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine (also known as T3). Most doctors will check TSH and T4 levels to see if thyroid levels are normal.

The studies are showing that it is not the production of thyroid hormone that is the problem, but rather it is problem inside the cell that the inactive T4 is not converted to T3 but rather to a mirror image of T3 called reverse T3. The reverse T3 has the opposite effect of T3, blocking the effects of T3 and lowering rather than increasing metabolism.

There has been a long held belief by endocrinologists and other physicians that adequate thyroid levels can be determined by testing the TSH and T4 levels. Studies are showing that such standard testing will miss 80% of thyroid dysfunction


High and poorly controlled leptin levels as a result of being overweight are very pro-inflammatory and play a key role in other pro-inflammatory biochemicals manufacture - which leads to inflammatory disease such as heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. Leptin is probably much more important to your heart health than cholesterol..yet very few GP’s know anything about it and this is why.

It seems there are no known drugs to manipulate leptin, so there is no impetus for drug companies to study it, hence the lack of information to the typical GP.  On the other hand, we in natural health are very excited about the research that has been done...knowing there is a way to help people.   At last count there were 64 research articles that combined Leptin Resistance with HCG.  And the answer is convincingly diet...food choices, and getting rid of excess fat stores.

When your cells can't respond to leptin's messages because they can’t hear it, you will not only be hungry all the time, but you will crave sweets.

Leptin resistance creates a desensitising of your taste buds to sweet foods. That means, the more sweet foods you eat, the less likely you are to discern a sweet taste, so you will need more and more high-sugar snacks to feel satisfied. Whereas once cashews, blueberries, apples or papaya would taste sweet enough to be treats, you now require multiple sugar hits - cookies, cake, muesli bars, soft drinks, breakfast cereals, white bread with jam and a bucket of ice cream - before you feel you've had enough.

Once leptin sensitivity is restored and your taste buds shift into high gear, you will get much more pleasure from eating. You will rediscover the natural sweetness in food and will actually find that the high sugar, high additive sweet snacks which were once couldn’t live without and loved so much now taste sickly sweet!  As the Chinese proverb states “The more you eat, the less the flavour; the less you eat , the more flavour.”

Following is a list of symptoms associated with leptin resistance;
  • Uncontrollable cravings, especially sweet foods and refined carbohydrates
  • Late night eating
  • Stress eating
  • Weight gain around the middle
  • Inability to reach a goal weight
  • Yo-yo dieting
  • thyroid symptoms
  • can also be associated with infertility

Once you lower leptin levels and regain leptin sensitivity...then leptin can begin to do its job of turning off the hunger switch and turn on the fat burning switch.  To do this may take up to 6 months or more of a fairly strict diet without sugar and refined foods and the absence of all grains. Basically going back to a hunter gatherer diet, filled with greens, meat, fish, wild poultry and fruit.
The 4 Phase Fat Elimination HCG Protocol short tracks this process, by changing the leptin resistance to leptin sensitivity in just over three weeks for most people, longer for people who have more then 12kg to lose, but the process has started and is well on the way to create leptin sensitivity - which is what we want.  Remember if we view fat as an organ, much like an enlarged liver or heart, then an enlarged fat organ (obesity and morbid obesity) will take longer to heal.

But a word of warning, the protocol is all about education where you learn what foods will or will not cause you to go back into leptin resistance.  If you don’t learn the lessons and your not prepared to make the changes then you’ll be back in a downward health spiral and back to lethargy, sugar cravings, slowed metabolism, lowered immunity and hormone disturbances.  You see it is not just about the 3 weeks its about the rest of your life. 

The 4 Phase Fat Elimination HCG Protocol (4PFEHCGP) empowers and inspires people to reach new heights with their health.  If you are someone who looks after yourself with eating well and exercise, this takes you that much further.  If you are someone who is just starting out on this journey, I suggest starting with the 21 Day Program from Changing Habits and then going onto the 4PFEHCGP.  I know people who go from junk food to 4PFEHCGP, they do it, but they do suffer in the 24 days, with health expressions or another way of putting it feeling absolutely out of whack in mind and body.  But it is only a short amount of time.
Once you have regained your leptin sensitivity this is what you will experience.

Your appearance will change, hair and nails will improve in colour and looks, you will have less dead skin on your feet, your skin will get softer, more taut and you will have better colour.

Your moods will change as well as your personality and thinking.  You will become more mindful, things won’t upset you quite the same, you will cope with moments that may have taken you over the edge.  Your thoughts about food will be the biggest change as you begin to awaken a six sense and intuition into what you really should be doing for health.

There will be changes in appetite, your carbohydrate and sweet cravings will go away, you will notice the amount of food you need decreases and your taste buds and smell will become more acute.  Sickly sweet foods will not be an option. 

Sleep and energy will also improve once leptin sensitivity is restored, remember this takes time but this is accelerated  with the protocol.  You won’t feel the cold quite as much even though you will exude body heat your body temperature will be lower as the thyroid settles.  Migraines should decrease along with prolonged muscle soreness after exercise, your libido will also heighten.

Food is the way to change from being leptin resistant to leptin sensitive there are no drugs, there are no supplements, it is good quality foods that our body evolved to eat.  The great thing is that you don’t have to do blood tests or saliva tests, you have the ability to make the changes yourself, all you have to do is make the required food changes and see and enjoy the abundant health.

It is exciting times we live in, there is a revolution happening and I’m so happy to be part of the mindful eating movement to create healthier minds and bodies.

Happy Changing Habits
Cyndi

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