How to Reduce Leptin Levels

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A young woman is doing curls in the gym. (Image: oneinchpunch/iStock/Getty Images)

Leptin is commonly associated with weight fluctuations and appetite. The chemical leptin is a hormone, produced naturally in your body to signal the brain when you are full from eating. The balance of this chemical is altered by various factors, including disruptions in two other hormones that regulate appetite, which are insulin and serotonin. In the event of weight gain, leptin levels rise, causing the brain to send false signals of hunger, which results in overeating. High leptin levels are also associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with obesity. According to the University of Texas Health Science Center, naturally lowering leptin involves lifestyle changes and balancing nutritional intake.

Step 1

Limit your calorie intake and lose weight. The more food you consume, the more likely you continue to gain weight, which increases leptin production. High leptin level is linked to high body-fat mass. Pay attention to the calories in the foods you consume and try to limit your total daily calorie intake to 2,000. Consult your physician before starting a low calorie diet to ensure safety.

Step 2

Eat a balance of complex carbohydrates in each meal. Complex carbohydrates sustain energy longer than foods with simple sugars, such as candy, cakes and chips. Opt for whole-grain breads or pastas, brown rice and bran cereals. Remain attentive to calorie intake, while also eating foods containing natural sugars. As a rule of thumb, choose brown colored starches over white, which is generally processed and refined with added sugars.

Step 3

Add fish to your weekly meal plans. According to a 2002 study by the American Heart Association, incorporating fish into your diet lowers leptin levels. Consume salmon, mackerel and tuna at least twice a week for leptin-lowering benefits. Cook your fish on the grill, or bake it in the oven. Avoid frying fish, which can add unhealthy fat content. Use of fish oil supplements is an option as well, however, consult your physician before using supplements to ensure safety.

Step 4

Get daily exercise. Take a 30-minute walk, jog or bike ride to initiate physical activity. Daily exercise stimulates your digestive system and paired with healthier eating habits, can aid in weight loss, which lowers leptin levels. Start exercising gradually with low impact activity and once you can work out for 30 minutes or more, try a fitness class or using gym equipment to maximize results. Consult your physician before beginning a new exercise program, to determine safety.

Step 5

Practice stress management. Experiencing consistent high stress can impact your hormone balance, appetite and energy level. Reducing your stress is important for regulating leptin. Try meditation or a yoga class as a means for relaxing your mind and body. Seek supportive counseling if you are unable to manage the stress on your own or simply take 10 minutes of alone time a day to mentally unwind.

Tip

High-fat diets lower leptin levels for short-term, however, this may cause detriment to your health in other ways. Consult your physician before trying a high-fat diet. Keep a food journal to help you track daily calories and lose weight. Consider working with a personal trainer to jump-start weight loss efforts and learn proper form for exercise.

Warning

Reducing leptin below normal levels can result in health risks associated with anorexia and malnourishment.

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