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Leptin and Leptin Resistance: Everything You Need to Know

Obesity is usually not caused by greed, laziness or a lack of willpower.

Leptin resistance may be one of the main reasons people gain weight and have such a hard time losing it.

If you’re concerned you may be resistant to leptin, there are several steps you can take to live a healthier lifestyle — and possibly improve or reverse your resistance.

Many people are told that "eat less - exercise more" is the answer to losing weight. 

Scientists discovered already over 25 years ago that a hormone called leptin is involved in obesity - and even breast cancer.  

When our body does not respond to Leptin - called leptin resistance - we have a leading driver of fat gain in humans

What is Leptin?

Leptin is a hormone that is produced by your body's fat cells. It is often referred to as the "satiety hormone" or the "starvation hormone." It works directly on the brain — particularly an area called the hypothalamus. The more body fat we carry, the more leptin we produce

Its main role is regulation of energy, like the number of calories we eat and expend, as well as how much fat we store in your body. Leptins job is to tell your brain that — when you have enough fat stored — we don't need to eat and can burn calories at a normal rate when our fat storage is full.

Apart from this Leptin also has many other functions related to fertility, immunity and brain function.

Leptin is a hormone produced by the fat cells in our body. Its main role is to regulate fat storage and how many calories we eat and burn.

Impact on Our Brain

High levels of leptin tell our brain that we have plenty of fat stored, while low levels tell our brain that fat stores are low and that we need to eat  When we eat, our body fat goes up and leptin levels go up, so we eat less and burn more.

Conversely, when we don’t eat, our body fat goes down, our leptin levels drop, telling us toeat more and burn less.

What Is Leptin Resistance?

People who are obese have a lot of body fat in their fat cells - and very high levels of leptin. Logically, obese people should now naturally limit their food intake as leptin tells them via their brain to do so. 

However, their leptin signaling may not work - the brain doesn't seem to see it and erroneously thinks that our body is starving — even though it has more than enough energy stored. This is known as leptin resistance and now believed to be one of the main biological contributors to obesity. 

If you have leptin resistance your Resting Metabolic Rate [RMR] is likely to be below normal, making you burn 500 to 600 calories less each day than someone of equal body mass.

Our brain then encourages us to:

  • Eating more: We must eat in order to prevent starvation.
  • Reduced energy expenditure: In an effort to conserve energy, our brain decreases our energy levels and makes us burn fewer calories at rest.
Thus, eating more and exercising less is not the underlying cause of weight gain but rather a possible consequence of leptin resistance, a hormonal defect. Willing ourselves to overcome the leptin-driven starvation signal is next to impossible. 

Impact on Dieting

Leptin resistance may be one reason that many diets fail to promote long-term weight loss. 

If you’re leptin-resistant, losing weight still reduces fat mass, which leads to a significant reduction in leptin levels — but your brain doesn't necessarily reverse its leptin resistance.

When leptin goes down, this leads to hunger, increased appetite, reduced motivation to exercise and a decreased number of calories burned at rest Our brain then thinks that we are starving and initiates various powerful mechanisms to regain that lost body fat.

This could be a main reason why so many people yo-yo diet — losing a significant amount of weight only to gain it back shortly thereafter.

What Causes Leptin Resistance?

Several potential mechanisms behind leptin resistance have been identified. These include 

  • Inflammation: Inflammatory signaling in our hypothalamus 
  • Free fatty acids: Having elevated free fatty acids in our bloodstream 
  • Having high leptin: Having elevated levels of leptin in the first place seems to cause leptin resistance.

Most of these factors are amplified by obesity, meaning that we might be "trapped" in a vicious cycle of gaining weight and becoming increasingly leptin resistant over time.

Can Leptin Resistance Be Reversed?

The best way to know if you are leptin resistant is to look in the mirror.

If you have a lot of body fat, especially in the belly area, then you are almost certainly leptin resistant.

There are several things you can do:

  • Avoid processed food: Highly processed foods may compromise the integrity of your gut and drive inflammation
  • Eat soluble fiber: They can help improve your gut health as food for the microbiome. 
  • Exercise: Physical activity may help reverse leptin resistance
  • Sleep: Poor sleep is implicated in problems with leptin 
  • Lower your triglycerides: The best way to lower triglycerides is to reduce your carb intake 
  • Eat protein: Eating plenty of protein can cause automatic weight loss, which may result from an improvement in leptin sensitivity

Though there is no simple way to eliminate leptin resistance, you can make long-term lifestyle changes that may improve your quality of life.

Test your Leptin Levels

If you want to know how high your leptin levels are - and to monitor the effect of changes you are making to your lifestyle, you can test them.

Blood - venous - NOT a finger prick test!

7 days turnaround time

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Roundup and its potential links to coeliac disease, obesity, autism and many more

Almost every week we identify patients in our practice with gluten intolerance, coeliac disease and autoimmune conditions. Our aim is always not only to identify and treat health conditions, but to search for root causes. By doing so we found research linking these and many other health conditions to Roundup®

Roundup is the brand name of a systemic, broad-spectrum glyphosate-based herbicide originally produced by the U.S. company Monsanto, which was acquired by Bayer in 2018, and contains the active ingredient glyphosate. Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the USA. Monsanto also produced seeds which grow into plants genetically engineered to be tolerant to glyphosate, which are known as Roundup Ready crops. 

According to a paper published in 2013 Glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup®, is the most important causal factor for Coeliac disease, and, more generally, gluten intolerance. Coeliac disease is associated with an increased risk for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

Another paper from the same year described glyphosate as potentially a key contributor to the obesity and autism epidemic in the United States, as well as to several other diseases and conditions, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, infertility, depression, and cancer.

Glyphosate has been shown to disrupt gut bacteria in animals, preferentially killing beneficial forms and causing an overgrowth of pathogens. Coeliac disease is associated with a reduced presence in the gut of commensal [healthy] bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria, which are known to be preferentially killed by glyphosate, and with an overabundance of C. difficile, which is known to be promoted by glyphosate exposure.

Glyphosate leads to chelation [binding] of minerals such as iron - which might be causative to widespread iron deficiency. It has further been found to decrease the activity of the digestive enzymes protease [for protein digestion], lipase [for fat digestion], and amylase [for starch digestion] in the gastrointestinal tract. Evidence from this effect suggests that glyphosate may interfere with the breakdown of complex proteins in the human stomach, leaving larger fragments of wheat in the human gut that will then trigger an autoimmune response.

Glyphosate is associated with an overgrowth of pathogens along with an inflammatory bowel disease in animal models.

Several countries have responded to these concerns and either restricted or banned the use of glyphosate:

• Belgium: In 2017, the Flemish government banned individual use of glyphosate and voted against re-licensing glyphosate in the EU. The country was one of six EU member states to sign a letter to the EU Commission calling for "an exit plan for glyphosate." 
• Bermuda: The island outlawed the private and commercial sale of all glyphosate-based herbicides.
• Colombia: In 2015, the country forbid the use of glyphosate to eliminate illegal plantations of coca, often used to make cocaine, due to concern that the herbicide causes cancer. However in 2017, the country re-instituted its controversial fumigation program. But instead of using aerial fumigation, glyphosate is now sprayed manually, from the ground.
• Netherlands: Dutch officials have banned all non-commercial use of glyphosate.
• Sri Lanka: In 2014, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa mandated an all-out ban on glyphosate, following a study linking Roundup to Fatal Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), the second-leading cause of death among males in the country. Sri Lanka was the first country to issue a nationwide ban on glyphosate.
• El Salvador: Passed a law banning glyphosate, citing the same study linking fatal chronic kidney disease to Roundup.
• Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi ArabiaKuwaitQatarBahrainOman and the United Arab Emirates, have stopped glyphosate use.
• France: President Emmanuel Macron announced in November 2017, an outright ban on glyphosate, to take effect "within three years."

References:

  • Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2013;6(4):159-84.
  • Samsel A, Seneff S. Glyphosate's suppression of cytochrome P450 enzymes and amino acid biosynthesis by the gut microbiome: Pathways to modern diseases. Entropy. 2013;15:1416–1463.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roundup_(herbicide)
  • https://www.politico.eu/article/monsanto-glyphosate-pesticide-is-here-to-stay-in-eu-at-least-for-now/
  • Risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in celiac disease. Catassi C, Fabiani E, Corrao G, Barbato M, De Renzo A, Carella AM, Gabrielli A, Leoni P, Carroccio A, Baldassarre M, Bertolani P, Caramaschi P, Sozzi M, Guariso G, Volta U, Corazza GR; Italian Working Group on Coeliac Disease and Non-Hodgkin's-Lymphoma. JAMA. 2002 Mar 20;287(11):1413-9.
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Food Matters 2018

CountryHealth spent two busy days at this years food matters LIVE in the London ExCel We made several excellent contacts.

Many of our clients have food intolerances, especially to gluten. We were on the look-out for clever solutions and found two companies who can offer our clients an excellent alternative to bread, pasta and even waffles.


BEST gluten free bread in the world ...

We met the team from Davina Steel who has been winning prices for the BEST gluten free bread in the world for several years running - even in the gluten bread category. 

Not only are the breads the best we tasted, we can even offer a 10% discount to our clients. 

You can also make yummy and easy pizza ...


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Thyroid Awareness week 20.-26.10.2018

Thyroid Awareness Week is held to raise awareness of thyroid disease.

Thyroid disorders are relatively rare in infants and children. Nevertheless, being aware of their symptoms is vital to allow early diagnosis and treatment.

We found this very engaging child-friendly video from Thyroid Aware to look into thyroid problems in children:

 

It is also available as a little e-book: Storybook for Children

Resources: https://www.thyroidaware.com/en/resources/child_disorder.html

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Welcome to Liam

We are excited to welcome our newest team member Liam. Liam has over 16 years experience taking bloods and examining patients through his role as skills technician in a busy accident & emergency department. He has excellent communications skills and is a real team player. He is constantly improving his skills, currently studying for a foundation degree in associated nursing.

Liam is in charge of health screenings, registration health checks and taking blood samples.

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