The protein Leptin is decreased by fasting, chronic caloric restriction, regular exercise, lack of sleep and psychological stress. But what does it mean? If I am low in Leptin, will I be ravenous all the time? The answer is no. Hunger is not regulated by Leptin alone. If this was the case, pharmaceutical companies would be selling Leptin injections like no other and obesity would no longer exist. Well, sadly for our overweight divas, this is not the case. Thousands of environmental and endogenous factors play a role on hunger regulation.
Leptin sensitivity is a term used for hunger signalling. Leptin sensitivity means that your hunger receptors will respond to Leptin. Conversely, if we lose the ability to sense Leptin, appetite control is lost. Being Leptin resistant means that your hunger receptors won't register its satiety signalling.
The effects of either Leptin resistance (high body fat) and a fall in Leptin (low calorie dieting, fasting, exercise) are similar in evolutionary terms. The former indicating "gorge before the next famine" and the latter "move and find food to survive".
Endocrinologist Rexford S. Ahima, explained this beautifully:
“It is possible that leptin’s role as a starvation signal
conferred survival advantage during famine by limiting
thyroid-mediated thermogenesis and the high energy cost
of reproduction and promoting feeding and energy storage [ … ]An increase in energy efficiency mediated
by low leptin prolongs longevity.”
Caloric restriction, chronic exercise and fasting are known to promote longevity through Leptin mediation. However, these are known to lower Leptin and estrogen levels, which may suppress female reproductive capacity. Scientists believe that this is part of an early human adaption mechanism around food scarcity and hardship. Such adaptation means increased strength and cell durability – but at the expense of reproductivity. Scarcity and hardship did not seem to be biologically suitable times for pregnancy or child bearing.
So... what do you think? Should women fast?? VOTE NOW by clicking HERE. Share your views with us in our Health Divas Fasting Forum.
To learn more about the effects of fasting in women, read Should Women Fast?
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