What is the role of leptin in weight loss?


Various physiologic feedback mechanisms involving the mouth, stomach, intestines, and brain all work together to increase or decrease your hunger. For example, many hormones play a role. When your stomach is empty, the hormone, ghrelin, which is produced mainly in the stomach, signals your brain that you need to take in food. Your body produces more ghrelin during fasting (such as between meals) in order to stimulate hunger, and it produces less after food is consumed.

Another hormone, leptin, which is produced in fat tissue, helps regulate your body fat by affecting hunger. As your fat stores increase, leptin signals the brain to decrease your level of hunger and food intake.


Leopold D. Galland, MD
Internal Medicine
According to the latest research the hormone leptin plays an important role in appetite control, metabolism and weight loss. It is your body's natural weight control mechanism.

And the great thing about leptin is that it is produced naturally in the body.

Leptin regulates metabolism and appetite:
  • It lets your brain know how much fat is in your body. As leptin levels rise, your appetite diminishes. As leptin levels fall, your appetite increases.
  • It regulates the rate of fat breakdown. As leptin levels rise, your metabolic rate increases. As leptin levels fall, your metabolism slows.
The number of calories you burn is regulated by thermogenesis, a process in which the body makes heat, mainly in the muscles. According to recent research from Monash University in Australia, the hormone leptin can substantially increase thermogenesis, helping to burn fat.

The body doesn't always listen to the leptin message and leptin resistance occurs. The leptin signal isn't being heard, so it cannot stimulate your metabolism or suppress your appetite. Leptin resistance can make losing weight very difficult if not impossible.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.