Leptin resistance is an important yet highly overlooked malfunction of the endocrine system. It is an important reason that many people gain weight or struggle to lose weight, and many doctors don’t even know to check for it. This is especially true among patients with thyroid problems.
Scientists are now hoping that studies currently being performed will indicate that leptin supplements or other treatments will reduce the resistance to this hormone and will assist people in losing extra weight. After all, over thirty-four percent of the entire population of the United States is considered to be obese. With statistics like that, it is clear that there is a significant health problem in the country and that additional assistance is required to help remedy this situation.
So far, though scientists have remained hopeful that they will be able to manipulate the signals that release leptin and indicate to the body that it’s time to stop eating and begin using energy that has been stored (in the form of fat), there has not been a great deal of success. Though the research did initially seem promising, animals and people who were overweight didn’t respond the same way as people who were at their healthy body weight. It is believed that this is because the bodies of overweight individuals are already producing too much leptin and their bodies have simply learned to ignore it – making supplementation or the encouragement of further secretions of the hormone pointless.
A study performed by researchers at the University of Florida are saying that they believe that the secret to getting the most out of leptin is to pair its secretion (or supplementation) with even the smallest increase in the amount of daily exercise. Every bit of exercise that can be added to the individual’s daily routine will help to jumpstart the body’s ability to stop storing fat and to begin using what it already has.
When leptin alone and when diet and exercise alone didn’t work, researchers discovered that combining leptin with a well balanced diet and regular daily exercise could make the difference, stopping weight gain and helping to ease weight loss. This still doesn’t mean that losing weight is easy, but it makes it easier, so that it is possible to keep going without giving up in frustration. For this reason, scientists and doctors view leptin as both the cause and the cure for obesity and further research into how leptin resistance may prevent weight loss is underway.