How to increase leptin hormone

How to increase leptin hormone useful tips

How to increase leptin hormone: The fat cells in our body produce a hormone known as leptin. The amount of leptin produced is proportional to the fat levels in your body. Therefore, the more fat you have, the more leptin your body will produce. Leptin enters the bloodstream via the circulatory system and binds to the protein in the blood. Leptin travels across the blood brain barrier when it reaches the capillaries in the brain, binding to the leptin receptors on the accurate nucleus of the hypothalamus. The hormone tells your brain when it is time to stop eating and increases the metabolic rate to achieve energy balance, also known as homeostasis. It plays an important role in the regulation of fat. For this reason, leptin supplements have gained quite the popularity in recent years. The supplements claim to decrease appetite and make it easier to lose weight. However, using supplements to lose weight is controversial.

How does leptin work?

The levels of leptin decrease during periods of food starvation and food shortage. The hormone was discovered in 1994 and ever since has been studied for its function in obesity and weight loss1. Leptin is responsible for communicating to the brain that there is enough stored fat to prevent excessive eating. In addition, it curbs your appetite and signals the body to burn calories. However, when the levels of leptin are low, the brain senses starvation and your appetite increases. The brain signals you to eat more calories and the calories are burn at a slower rate. For this reason, leptin if often referred to as the hunger or starvation hormone.

Does more leptin equal more weight loss?

Leptin tells the brain that there is enough energy stored in the body, if there is plenty of leptin available so you can stop eating. However, people who are obese actually show much higher levels of the hormone compared to individuals weighing average2. While it may seem that higher levels of leptin are more favorable to cease eating, this is not the case. Leptin resistance occurs when the brain stops acknowledging signals of the hormone. So even though you have more than enough energy stored and hormone available, the brain does not recognize it and thinks you are still hungry. As a result, you eat more. Leptin resistance does not only contribute to eating more but also signals the brain that more energy needs to be stored, burning calories at a slower rate. More leptin is not necessarily what matters when it comes to weight loss. Therefore, taking a supplement that increases the levels of leptin in the blood does not necessarily help you lose weight.

Do leptin supplements work?

            While most leptin supplements are labelled as “leptin pills”, they do not actually contain the hormone.  Most supplements contain a combination of different nutrients that reduce inflammation and as a result, increase leptin sensitivity. Some of the ingredients included are conjugated linoleic acid or soluble fiber, green tea extract, fish oil and alpha-lipoic acid. Although there are many studies that involve weight loss supplements, the effect of these supplements for improving leptin resistance remain unclear.

How to increase leptin hormone?

Current research is insufficient to support the use of supplements to improve leptin resistance and promote weight loss. However, preventing and correcting leptin resistance is an important step for weight loss. In addition, there are some natural ways that can be used for leptin hormone increase. The natural ways will help encourage weight loss and leptin hormone increase without taking a supplement.

Increase physical activity

Research conducted on both humans and animals indicated that regular physical activity may help in increasing leptin sensitivity3. What’s more, performing high intensity exercises for short stints helps stimulate large secretions of the human growth hormone. As a result, it will boost the fat burning mechanisms and help in regulation of leptin levels.


Avoid high-sugar foods and beverages

Diets that are rich in excessive sugar intake worsen leptin resistance. Studies have shown that a sugar free diet improved leptin resistance in rats4.

Eat more fish

Studies have suggested that diets rich in anti-inflammatory foods, such as, fish reduce levels of leptin in the blood which promotes weight loss. Similarly, increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids either through supplements or by eating foods that are rich in omega-3, such as, sardines and salmon. Omega-3 supports a healthy inflammatory response and helps in leptin hormone increase. It also makes the body more receptive to leptin and increase the body’s sensitivity to it.

Eat more fiber

According to a study5, a diet rich in high fiber cereals, for example, oat fiber helps in improving leptin sensitivity and resistance, aiding in weight loss. Increase your daily dietary consumption of fiber by eating fiber rich foods, including oatmeal, legumes and grains. Fiber will help satiate your cravings and cause the intestinal tract to signal the brain to release more leptin.

Get more sleep

Sleep is an important key factor for hormone regulation. Leptin levels typically rise during sleep. Therefore, a chronic lack of sleep is associated with altered levels and function of leptin. It is recommended that you sleep 8 hours a day. The body will produce less leptin and more ghrelin (hormone that tells the body that you are hungry) if you do not get enough sleep. If your body is not getting enough rest, it will start producing mor ghrelin and less leptin. According to a recent study, people who do not get a good night’s sleep have 15% lower levels of leptin compared to those who get enough sleep. If you feel hungry after a poor night’s sleep, this is because the levels of leptin in your body have dropped and are signaling the brain that you need to eat.

Reduce fructose consumption

Fructose, especially in the form of high fructose corn syrups inhibits your leptin receptors. Fructose is often used in sweet snacks, cookies and sodas since it is inexpensive. An easy way to cut fructose from your diet is by eating whole foods (foods that closely resemble their natural state). In addition to this, reduce your blood triglycerides. Consuming high amounts of triglycerides inhibits the leptin transporter responsible for carrying signals to the brain to stop eating through the blood brain barrier.

Eat more complex carbohydrates

Avoid simple carbs, for example, processed and refined sugar because it spikes the levels of insulin and leads to insulin resistance, in addition, disrupts the production of leptin. Increase the consumption of complex carbohydrates in the form of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of water and fiber, eating more of it will tell your brain that you are full without a high calorie intake. Brown rice, quinoa, pastas and oats when included in the diet in moderation are also a good source of complex carbohydrates.

Have a protein rich breakfast

Protein does not only fuel the body but keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Additionally, it also kickstarts leptin levels However, cereals contain lectin that binds to leptin receptors and keeps it from doing its job. Therefore, do not rely too heavily on cereals.

Do not restrict your calorie intake

Your body starts to shut down and disrupt the production of hormones if you are not getting enough nutrients. The metabolism slows down and so does the production of leptin. Losing weight is good for leptin production for most people because a healthy weight regulates your hormones.


While we don’t hear much about leptin, the hormone plays an important role in hunger cues, overall energy expenditure and metabolism. Keeping the levels of leptin in a healthy range will help keep the body in good shape, moreover, help in the long term by helping manage appetite. A well-balanced diet, moderate physical activity and getting enough sleep is the best way to encourage weight loss and improve leptin resistance.


  1. Farr, O. M., Gavrieli, A., & Mantzoros, C. S. (2015). Leptin applications in 2015: what have we learned about leptin and obesity?. Current opinion in endocrinology, diabetes, and obesity22(5), 353.
  2. Considine, R. V., Sinha, M. K., Heiman, M. L., Kriauciunas, A., Stephens, T. W., Nyce, M. R., … & Caro, J. F. (1996). Serum immunoreactive-leptin concentrations in normal-weight and obese humans. New England Journal of Medicine334(5), 292-295.
  3. Reseland, J. E., Anderssen, S. A., Solvoll, K., Hjermann, I., Urdal, P., Holme, I., & Drevon, C. A. (2001). Effect of long-term changes in diet and exercise on plasma leptin concentrations. The American journal of clinical nutrition73(2), 240-245.
  4. Vasselli, J. R., Scarpace, P. J., Harris, R. B., & Banks, W. A. (2013). Dietary components in the development of leptin resistance.
  5. Zhang, R., Jiao, J., Zhang, W., Zhang, Z., Zhang, W., Qin, L. Q., & Han, S. F. (2016). Effects of cereal fiber on leptin resistance and sensitivity in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat/cholesterol diet. Food & nutrition research60(1), 31690.


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