advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
A Hormone to Promote Weight Loss?
I have heard that the hormone leptin can increase metabolism and reduce fat. Is this true and is it safe to take?
A
Answer (Published 5/27/2005)

Leptin is a hormone produced by fat cells that appears to play a role in how fat is burned in the body. But exactly what it does and how it works has yet to be completely determined. Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York City, who have extensively studied leptin believe that it informs the brain about the amount of fat in the body, which may in turn influence eating behavior and metabolism. Higher levels of leptin usually are found in overweight or obese people. However, not everyone who is overweight has high leptin levels, which may mean that leptin has a minor or varied role in the development of obesity. And studies at Rockefeller have shown that leptin helps with weight loss in some people but not in others.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Healthy Eating - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Nutrition - Want to change your diet? The Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide is your anti-inflammatory diet headquarters. Start your free trial and get access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid, hundreds of recipes, eating guides, and more.

The latest news about leptin comes from a study showing that it triggers production of a peptide called a-MSH in the hypothalamus, the brain area that controls hunger and metabolism. The research team from Brown and Harvard universities that discovered the connection between leptin and a-MSH said that the peptide can boost metabolism by sending a powerful signal to the brain and then to the thyroid gland to increase cellular energy production and burn calories. The study results were published in the early online edition of Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences for the week of July 26, 2004. The researchers' assumption is that if a drug was available to increase the activity of a-MSH, it would force the body to burn more calories and ultimately lose weight.

I'm aware that products purporting to influence leptin levels in the body are being promoted on the internet and elsewhere, but leptin itself is not available except in research settings. As for the products you can buy, I can't imagine that any of them would affect leptin levels or actually promote weight loss. To my knowledge none of them has been studied and shown to increase leptin levels in the blood. As a matter of fact, some of the products may actually lower leptin levels for a period of time.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here