The Hormone That Keeps You From Losing Weight

There’s a hormone you’ve probably never heard of that has a powerful impact on your weight.

Actually there are three weight-influencing hormones, and they each have different effects. Having a balanced level in the body of each is ideal.

The weight-related hormones you want to keep in check are cortisol and insulin. Cortisol is the stress-related survival hormone. Although extremely important if you need to escape immediate physical danger, when it’s elevated over time it tends to drain your body’s reserves of energy, and eventually damages overall health. At the same time chronically higher levels contribute significantly to developing obesity.

Insulin helps regulate how much sugar enters the cells for normal cellular energy purposes. Too much insulin over time leads to blood sugar issues and the accumulation of fat.

The third weight-related hormone, less commonly known, is called leptin. Healthy levels of leptin increase Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and trigger more efficient burning of calories. Leptin also helps normalize blood sugar levels and regulate appetite.

Of course, like many aspects of health, there can be too little cortisol (stage III adrenal fatigue) and insulin (diabetes) as well as too much leptin. The key is balance.

Since this is an article about leptin, if you want to learn more about cortisol, see this article on adrenal fatigue. For more about insulin, see this article on the effects of too much insulin.

How Leptin Works

Leptin is produced in fat cells of the body, especially white adipose tissue. Its effects on weight come from its action on receptors in the brain that control appetite and trigger converting fat into energy.

So far so good.

A curious irony about leptin is that obese people tend to have 5 times more of this fat-burning hormone in their blood. This is because obese people become resistant to the effects of leptin. This is called leptin insensitivity or leptin resistance. It’s similar to insulin resistance.

These higher levels of leptin aren’t good. Evidence suggests that elevated leptin contributes to higher risks for heart failure and blocked arteries. Excess leptin also increases the likelihood of blood clotting.

Again, balance is the key.

Dealing with Leptin Resistance

Consuming the sweetener high fructose corn syrup is a major cause of leptin resistance. This isn’t surprising since eating fructose-sweetened foods triggers appetite and weight gain. It also elevates triglycerides, another contributing factor for leptin resistance.

Fortunately, there is a single supplement that both reduces leptin resistance and lowers excess levels of this important hormone. The supplement is the amino acid, Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC).

ALC has numerous and wide-ranging health benefits in addition to its effects on leptin. These include anti-aging, heart health, brain and nervous system health and immune support benefits. We’ll talk more in depth about these in a future article. For now, the fact that ALC supports lower levels of leptin while helping the body make better use of it is the important point.

Recommended daily dosages of ALC as a supplement range from 1000 mg to 2000 mg.


Hyperhealth Pro Database, In-Tele-Health, Hansville, WA, 2008.

Ottosson, M., et al. Effects of cortisol and growth hormone on lipolysis in human adipose tissue. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 85(2):799-803, 2000.

Pryor, K.  Leptin and weight loss:  the hormonal key to fat reduction and heart health.  Vitamin Research News.  April 2006.

Fructose Sets Table For Weight Gain Without Warning. Science News. Science Daily. 2008-10-19.

Banks, W. A., et al. Triglycerides induce leptin resistance at the blood-brain barrier. Diabetes. 53(5):1253-1260, 2004.

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