What is Leptin and How Does it Affect the Body?
Leptin is a hormone in the body that is thought to regulate energy expenditure and stored energy, and which plays a key role in the body’s appetite and metabolism. This hormone can offset the body’s production of cortisone, a steroid that may cause you to gain weight when unregulated.
The production of leptin in the body helps to reduce appetite as it works with the hypothalamus in the brain, counteracting the signals sent by the stomach that produce hunger and cravings. The stomach produces what is called neuropeptide, which makes the brain believe that the body is hungry, but leptin counteracts this signal so that you only feel hungry when your stomach is truly empty.
The absence of healthy leptin levels in the body can cause uncontrolled eating and cravings. Those with abnormally low levels of leptin may tend to eat constantly, even when their stomach is physically full. They also tend to suffer from nearly uncontrollable cravings since leptin is the chemical that tells the brain when it’s had enough of any one food.
Doctors and scientists still need to do quite a bit of research to know more about leptin and how it works in the body. Some believe that melatonin, the chemical produced by the body at night to make a person feel sleepy, lowers levels of leptin so that you don’t get hungry while sleeping, even though you sleep for eight or more hours. Others are noting leptin’s affects on those with diabetes, as it may show some promise as a treatment of the disease along with normal doses of insulin.Related Stories: