The crucial role of leptin.
Leptin is produced by your fat cells to provide information on the state of your fat stores. Leptin is a vital hormone in your energy management process. It's not only the provider of information to your VMH, it also has a crucial role in ensuring your energy needs are kept in balance.
Now this is where it all starts to go wrong!
What happens if your VMH fails to pick up any leptin signals?
Your VMH, always on the alert, is constantly looking for leptin signals. This is because its Number One concern is to manage your energy needs to ensure your survival.
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If it can't pick up any leptin signals, and has no information to guide it, it thinks the worst. It thinks you're starving.
Leptin…leptin…I see no leptin.
So what does it do? It automatically reverts to its default setting. It gets you to store energy. To do this it signals to your sympathetic nervous system that you need to reduce activity in order to conserve energy. The effect of this is to make you feel tired and listless. All you feel like doing is sitting on the sofa and watching TV.
But it doesn't stop there. Desperate to find those missing leptin signals so that it can understand what to do, your VMH sends an emergency signal to the vagus nerve to tell your pancreas to release more insulin. Producing excess insulin is its remedy. It forces your pancreas to produce more insulin in the hope that, by doing so, it will to get you to make leptin and it will then get the information it needs.
But more insulin doesn't work. It still can't make out any leptin signals. The result is that you end up with far too much insulin in your system. You go on eating, and insulin goes about its business of storing fat. Your fat cells get stuffed with more and more fat. The more insulin, the more fat is stored. You suffer non-stop energy storage – and you put on weight, lots of it.
When this happens, when your VMH can't pick up any leptin signals, you are what is called “leptin resistant”.