What is Leptin Resistance – How Do I Know?

leptin resistance

If I am Always Hungry Could I Be Leptin Resistance

Leptin Resistance is when your body loses sensitivity to leptin. Leptin is produced by fat tissue, which helps to regulate your appetite by triggering a full feeling. That happens once your body has consumed enough calories and stored adequate fat. People can develop a condition known as leptin resistance when they eat too much food for an extended period. Because they have high levels of leptin circulating in their system, the receptors in the hypothalamus shut down. So even though a person’s leptin levels may be high, it's not a matter of how to increase leptin or leptin deficiency, but rather how we get our bodies to be more sensitive to leptin.

Accompanying Disease

Additionally, Leptin has a known link to inflammation. People with high leptin levels in their systems are at significant risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II Diabetes, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. For more detailed information, you can link to the article Leptin and Inflammation published by the US National Institute of Health. Conversely, people who suffer from chronic inflammation are more likely to develop leptin resistance than their healthy peers.

Leptin Eating Cycle

leptin resistance

Leptin resistance is most common in obese individuals. In a vicious cycle, people feel hungry, so they eat more food than they need. That creates higher leptin levels in their system resulting in the receptors in the hypothalamus to stop working. The feelings of fullness do not get stimulated, so people always feel hungry. Since they are not able to moderate their food intake naturally, they eat more and gain weight. And so the cycle continues. The resulting obesity from eating too much for too long contributes to the chronic health problems mentioned in the paragraph above.

Genetic Complications

Leptin resistance is also an inherited trait for a small percentage of people. For individuals with the recessive gene, it causes the leptin receptors to malfunction; obesity occurs very early in life. In these cases, they do not have high levels of leptin.

Reversing Leptin Resistance

leptin resistance

There are no magic pills or injections to reverse leptin resistance. However, the right leptin foods and exercise are critical keys to being able to lower the leptin levels in the system. Eventually, the leptin receptor in the brain will become sensitive to the signal of leptin and feel satiety again. Eating slowly also helps regulate the amount of leptin in your system. As you take small bites and eat slowly, the intestines release chemicals that combine with leptin to let your brain know there is food in your system. Taking your time to enjoy a meal gives your body time to process the message that it has enough fuel to continue functioning and allows you to feel full.  Over time, your resistance to leptin will lower.


Another contributing factor is stress which causes cortisol levels to rise and interferes with how the body processes leptin. So instead of reaching for the chips or a candy bar when under stress, take a walk or go to the gym. Exercise will help lower cortisol so you can process leptin correctly, and in turn, get the feeling of being full and eat less. It is possible to reverse the effects of leptin resistance with perseverance and commitment to changing your eating and exercising habits.

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