Are You Always Hungry? You Could Have Leptin Resistance

Dr. Richard Herbold of Clifton Park, New York’s Capital District Vitality Center: Are you always hungry? You may suffer from leptin resistance, which can be reversed

You would think people who are overweight or obese would never feel hungry—after all, they have all that extra fat to burn. But in a cruel twist of metabolic trickery, carrying excess fat can actually make you hungrier thanks to a phenomenon called leptin resistance.

What is leptin?

Leptin is a “satiety” hormone secreted by fat cells that tells the brain when you have had enough to eat. Eating causes the secretion of leptin, which signals that the stomach is full and it’s time to stop eating. Between meals or during long periods without food, leptin levels drop, triggering hunger and motivating you to eat and replenish the body’s energy stores.

Why leptin resistance makes you feel hungry

Because fat cells secrete leptin, overweight and obese people should never feel hungry. Unfortunately, the reverse happens. Excess fat secretes too much leptin, bombarding leptin receptors on cells. Eventually these cells become overwhelmed and shut down their leptin receptors to protect themselves. This is called leptin resistance—leptin can no longer get into the cells to deliver their message that the stomach is full and it’s time to stop eating.

Hence the leptin-resistant person always feels hungry and is prone to overeat, even if she or he is carrying plenty of fat. In addition to causing chronic hunger, leptin resistance doubly vexes the overweight person by promoting fat storage and making it tough to lose weight.

Leptin serves other roles beyond hunger and satiety. It is also important for fertility, libido, and puberty. Leptin resistance could explain why obese girls are 80 percent more likely to start puberty earlier than girls of normal weight.

High triglycerides block leptin

High triglycerides have been shown to block leptin. Diets high in alcohol, sugars and carbohydrate-rich foods, such as breads, pasta, rice, and potatoes, raise triglycerides considerably. High triglycerides have been shown to block the ability of leptin to pass into the brain to tell it you’re full.

As a clinical nutritionist and chiropractic neurologist, I support patients in my Clifton Park, NY office with various chronic health issues. Chronic hunger and leptin resistance are not uncommon these days, especially in people who eat out frequently. I see patients from Guilderland, Loudonville, Delmar, Colonie, and other areas of the Capital District.

When patients come in complaining from a chronic hunger and show signs of leptin resistance, we use clinical nutrition, dietary strategies, and other tools to reverse the leptin resistance. It is especially important for people with an ongoing inflammatory or autoimmune condition to manage leptin resistance.

Diet can reverse leptin resistance and chronic hunger

The key to unwinding leptin resistance is to adopt a diet that will restore leptin sensitivity. The eating habits that typically lead to being overweight or obese—overeating and eating too many sweets and starchy foods, processed foods, and foods fried in industrialized fats—also lead to leptin resistance, high triglycerides, and hence the feeling of always being hungry.

To restore leptin sensitivity, diminish chronic hunger, and release excess fat, consider the following leptin facts and begin making the changes you need to your own diet and lifestyle.

  • Regular exercise, particularly strength training and interval training, lowers leptin.
  • Sugar, corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup found in sweets and sodas make the brain resistant to leptin. Sweets also raise triglycerides so leptin can’t reach the brain.
  • Healthy fats activate leptin’s satiety switch. Eat coconut oil, butter, ghee, olive oil, avocado, salmon, etc. as part of a lower-carb diet.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids regulate leptin sensitivity. Ask your practitioner whether a fish or krill oil supplement may help you.
  • Overeating causes leptin resistance. Ditch the sodas, sweets, processed foods, and high-carbohydrate foods, which trigger cravings in many people. Healthy fats and sufficient protein curb cravings. Consider hypnotherapy, acupuncture, or other tools to address an eating disorder that may cause you to overeat.

In my Clifton Park, NY office, I offer patients from Guilderland, Loudonville, Delmar, Colonie, and other areas of the Capital District support for their health and such neurological disorders as depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and other brain-based issues. For more information, contact my office.

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Patient Reviews

  • Richard Herbold is topnotch, and has helped me over several decades! A gifted healer might be a rarity. I have always felt privileged to receive his adjustments to target whatever is blocked or out of place. Immediate relief is always noted....
  • Long story short, after a year and a half of countless doctor visits to try to figure out what was wrong with me (couldn’t move my joints, extreme pain and swelling, ect….) I was told I had RA and would be on methotrexate for the rest of my life. I went to Dr. Herbold to get his opinion. Wit...
  • A year ago today a very itchy/stingy patch appeared on my upper arm near my armpit. Over a two week period the ‘rash’ crept to my other arm and to my chest and my back, and was absolutely unbearable by mid-December. I went to my GP – desperate for a diagnosis and treatment. I noted to ...
  • When I wrote previously, I was beginning a 24 session program of trigenics….combined with three additional therapies twice weekly. At the time, I was experiencing extreme exhaustion when completing the smallest of tasks…due to spinal stenosis and numbing. I was having back pains, shoulder is...
  • When I first came in, I had to walk with a cane, or a walker because I was so off-balance. My feet were so numb. And my legs always felt dead or heavy. As I started going through the treatments, a lot of my feeling started coming back. Where before I couldn’t bend my toes, lift my leg, climb stair...
  • I have been a patient of Dr. Herbold’s for many years now and have always been impressed with the professionalism and compassion of the office staff that never waivers. They try to accommodate their patients’ schedules and needs, going the extra mile. Also, Dr. Herbold listens to his patient...
  • Thorough, knowledgeable, professional, personable. I had a very top notch experience here for my first appointment. The fifth star in the rating will be earned by results which I am confident will come. What a refreshing experience to spend time with a fellow practitioner who thinks outside the box as I...
  • Dr. Herbold is helping me with my weight, which has not budged in spite of being a nutritionist myself. His blend of scientific knowledge, clinical experience so he can sense exactly what the next steps are, compassion and humor are helping me. At last, someone who can heal this healer (me)!...
  • Dr. Herbold and Beth are great! They are very knowledgeable, helpful and responsive to both my son and I. Our experience with using their Neurofeedback system has been very good. I am most appreciative of Dr. Herbold’s holistic approach on the importance of nutrition, exercise, etc. as part of our...
  • I have known Dr. Herbold for 11 years now. He is a wonderful doctor, a trusted confidant, and a wonderful human being. He has helped me and my family many many times with health related needs. Dr. Herbold is very compassionate — a great teacher and mentor. We are so fortunate to have someone of hi...

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