5 Ways to Reverse Leptin Resistance
If you want the Science
Leptin Resistance is an extremely sciencey topic and if you want the science and like reading the science, then the website of Dr. Jack Kruse is for you without a doubt! When I first started reading about this, I got lost for days in his articles and his book Epi-Paleo RX. Some of it gets a bit difficult to read, but then I would just swap to another article and keep going.
The Short Version about Leptin Resistance
Leptin is a hormone that is produced by our fat cells. It tells our body what to do with the calories as they come in (what to store and what to burn for fuel) and also tells our brain or our hypothalamus if we are hungry or satisfied. Our hypothalamus is also the gland that tells our pituitary how much thyroxine to release by making TRH (Thyroid Releasing Hormone).
Normally a feedback loop is at play, where we eat, fat gets stored, the fat produces more leptin, the brain sees more leptin and turns off hunger. By the way this loop works, anyone with excess weight should just never be hungry at all until the body burns the extra fat because the more weight we have the more leptin we produce.
Dr. Kruses work revolves around the brain not seeing or recognising the leptin anymore. So the body thinks it is starving, and in return holding onto all its fat and shutting down the metabolism to conserve energy. When a little bit of weight is actually lost, the body does everything in its power to gain it back, as less weight means less leptin, and it already thinks it has none. Enter yo-yo dieting and the reason why we lose 5 kg and gain back 10kg.
Causes of Leptin Resistance
It’s the chicken and the egg, but high leptin levels, caused by high levels of fat contribute to leptin resistance. Also, inflammation (Thyroid Disease is an inflammatory disease by nature) and excess free fatty acids are also a contributor. Belly fat is particularly inflammatory, so if you have an excess of this than you can pretty much assume you have Leptin Resistance.
So how do we reverse this?
- A diet high in seafood. When Dr. Kruse went about using himself as his own experiment, oysters were his number 1 food group. He believes as a people our ancestors lived off marine animals. He states that “based on this co-evolution, the basis of the Epi-Paleo template requires seafood and fat to be….. formative to our species and we have gotten away from it for too long.” I don’t know about you, but seafood tends to be a luxury item for Christmas Day here in Australia and a summer BBQ. But, when comparing prices, is it really that much higher than a quality steak? Plus it contains so many of the minerals that our thyroids need.
- Exercise. Our ancestors didn’t go for long runs on treadmills followed by a session of weights. They had moments of bursts of intense energy when running for or from an animal and times of long walks. Dr. Kruse also advocates not exercising first thing in the morning due to it upsetting the Adrenals, but rather later in the afternoon.
- Good Quality Fats. This means grass fed, pastured animal fats, and extra virgin coconut oil.
- Fermented Vegetables. As gut health is necessary for restoring leptin levels, the quickest way to restore this is through probiotic-rich fermented vegetables. These need to be of the raw variety, not the cooked version in bottles on the supermarket shelf. There would not be too many live bacteria useful to our gut in those.
- Sleep Rhythm. Our circadian rhythm has completely gotten out of whack because of our lifestyles (night shift working) and our use of electronic equipment after dark. Restoring our circadian rhythm will restore our adrenals and leptin. So rising with the sun and going to bed when the sun disappears or at the very least, no artificial bright lighting, to help reset the rhythm.
Again, this is a massive subject, but well worth digging into if you are finding it of interest.
So, who’s for a prawn omelet for breakfast, with a side of oysters???