This Hormone Can Keep You Fat?
For those of you that know, you’ll remember that when Dr. Lantelme first opened Robinhood Integrative Health (the clinic we run in Winston-Salem, NC), one of the first, integrative techniques he began administering was bioidentical hormone replacement theory.
Dr. Lantelme realized that many of the issues patients he’d been seeing at his old practice were a result of imbalances in hormone levels.
The truth is, in the past 9 years running this practice, we’ve learned so much more about hormones and how they regulate health.
All of this newly acquired knowledge is helping give people the keys to health that they’d wished for a long, long time.
And as many of you know, I’ve been looked at as a thyroid hormone expert for sometime now.
My interest in hormones and how they affect the thyroid stems from my own battles with thyroid health.
The deeper I go in learning about hormones the more fascinated I am about how incredibly interconnected our bodies are.
One of the more interesting things I’ve learned is that the overwhelming amount of Americans who struggle with weight issues do so for 2 reasons.
The first is related to their diet and exercise, which are easily corrected when lifestyle changes are pursued.
The other thing I’ve learned is that hormonal imbalances cause people to retain weight when they’re seemingly doing all the right things.
Today I’m going to talk a bit about Leptin resistance and why I believe it may be one of the hidden obstacles that prevent an untold number of people from losing weight.
In my experience when people are doing everything right; eating well, exercising, thyroid levels are optimized and still can’t lose weight it may be a result of leptin resistance.
So, let’s talk about leptin resistance, why it crops up in the first place, and how you can help to control it.
Why Leptin Resistance Can Cause You to Remain Fat
First, let’s talk about leptin.
Leptin is a hormone that our body’s fat cells produce for the sole purpose of signalling your body and telling it what to do with its fat stores.
As I’ve written about when I talk about the ketogenic diet, fat is one of the best sources of nutritional fuel your body can use (it is important to note that the ketogenic diet will not help with leptin resistance).
The way our bodies prefer to work is you either burn fat as fuel, or you store it around your body in the event that you’ll use it as fuel later.
Most people are stuck in a constant state of storing fat.
Now leptin is a message from the fat cells that tells your brain whether or not it should be burning or storing fat.
Obviously if you’re healthy, your body will be doing way more fat burning than it is fat storing.
The problem is thousands of people don’t end up burning that fat because they have leptin resistance and their brain resists the signal to burn those fat stores..
As Dr. Will Cole writs about leptin resistance:
“Leptin resistance occurs when the hypothalamic cells in the brain stop recognizing leptin’s signals.
The brain doesn’t perceive that enough food has come in, and reads that as starvation.
If this happens to you, your brain will turn on all the hunger signals it can, to make up for the falsely perceived food deficit. Everything you eat goes straight into fat storage, without being used for energy, making the problem even worse.
Your brain is saving up for the coming famine, even though there isn’t any famine. This, my friends, is weight-loss resistance. You could look at food and gain weight, if you are experiencing leptin resistance.”
The causes behind the proliferation of leptin resistance are myriad.
I’d suspect if we were to look at some of the top ones though, you’re going to find a common thread of poor sleep, stress, thyroid dysfunction, and yo-yo dieting being the main reasons people’s brains can’t recognize the production of leptin hormones any longer.
That and exposure to inflammation over time (which is a byproduct of all the factors I listed above).
The good news is just like in insulin resistance, we can test for leptin resistance. And, we can treat it.
You Can Treat Leptin Resistance
The only way to truly know if you’re a victim of leptin resistance is by getting blood work done to test leptin levels.
When getting lab work done on leptin I’m hoping to see a person’s leptin levels remain at 12 or under.
However, as I’ve looked into this more and more, I find that it’s not that uncommon for people’s levels to be 30, or higher. There have even been a few people over 100.
Once you know what your levels are, then you can start attacking the causes of leptin resistance.
There are treatments, and they can be done entirely drug-free.
But, they need to be performed under clinical supervision because our treatment is custom-tailored to you and your health needs.
As far as treatment, we offer a service here in the clinic that allows us to help people see results within 3 weeks. Many people lose 10-15 pounds in that time, and can be done without feeling hungry and without radical exercise regimens.
Instead what we do is we’ve created a modified hormone-based diet (that is only available through our practitioners) that uses peptides made from a bio-identical hormone and then combine it with a low calorie diet for weight loss.
The peptide components of the hormone help to keep you from feeling hungry while mobilizing your fat stores to be burned all while helping reset leptin levels.
We have seen people lose a significant amount of weight with this approach.
This is not a treatment program you can just try on your own.
Nor is it one that I believe people should be used as a crash diet.
We believe that if you work with our clinic and our health coaches that you accept that this is a long term strategy that can help keep the weight off for as long as you stick with it. The good news is it gets much easier and less restrictive the longer you go.
The key is getting leptin levels reset (back to under 12) then weight seems to be in much better control and there is more flexibility allowed with the diet.
We also want you to know that you absolutely must work with a health coach or a doctor (even if it’s not us) on this kind of diet because by doing it the wrong way the weight will absolutely come back.
So how do you know if leptin resistance may be a problem for you and need to get tested?
Well, if you could answer most of these questions with a yes…
- Is it difficult for you to lose weight?
- When you go on a diet, can you drop some pounds but still look flabby?
- Do you hold onto weight in your midsection, no matter how much you try to lose it?
- Do you have trouble keeping weight off?
- Are you constantly hungry?
- Do you crave sugary foods and get “hangry” if you don’t get your fix?
- Are you stressed out a lot?
- Do you have high triglycerides?
- Do you have high blood pressure?
You may want to get tested. If you get tested and your leptin levels are 12 or over…
Then it’s likely you’re dealing with leptin resistance and your brain isn’t letting you lose weight.
If that’s the case and you would like our help please go to RobinhoodIntegrativeHealth.com and fill out our new patient form. If you are currently a patient, schedule an appointment and discuss this with your provider.
We can help you from there.