Leptin and Obesity: Is There Really a Connection? .
To be able to discuss Leptin's affects on obesity, one must know what leptin is. Leptin is a hormone that acts as a messenger to tell the body when to stop eating. Leptin is produced by fat cells and sent to the hypothalamus. (The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that influences eating behavior.) So basically, when you are full, this hormone is responsible for telling to stop eating. The theory is, an obese person lacks hormone production and they do not know when they are full. Therefore, they keep eating and eating until they are 300+ pounds. .
Obesity in children has been rising quickly in the United States. Doctors and scientists are now exploring the possibilities of giving obese children leptin to help control their cravings. One study being conducted by Dr. I. Sadaf Farooqui of Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England shows that leptin is not an effective weight loss tool. He was quoted as saying "Most people who are overweight or obese have plenty of leptin in their bodies and it is not clear whether giving them any more leptin would be of any benefit." If the results of this test are true, does leptin truly have anything to do with obesity, with the exception of a few rare cases? There have been some significant changes in the bodies of the children who were given leptin, but not having to do with weight loss. The children had a drop in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) to an increase in HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). During the studies, the children also experienced a strengthening in the immune system. This may make it possible to use leptin in the fight against HIV and AIDS. .
A study conducted by Jeffrey Friedman, M.D., Ph.D. had some interesting results as well. His studies showed that some obese people actually had an increase in levels of leptin. He explained this by saying that possibly the obese patients have grown a tolerance or resistance to the protein.