Leptin Resistance and the Search for a Magic Fat Pill

Leptin resistance is one of the hottest topics for scientists looking to develop an anti-obesity pill.

In a new study, a group from Australia have finally discovered how leptin resistance actually happens.

According to lead author, Tony Tiganis, “our bodies produce leptin in response to increasing fat deposits. Acting on a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, leptin instructs the body to increase energy expenditure and decrease food intake, and so helps us maintain a healthy body weight.”


Unfortunately, “the body’s response to leptin is diminished in overweight and obese individuals, giving rise to the concept of ‘leptin-resistance’. In this new study, we’ve discovered more about how ‘leptin-resistance’ develops, providing new directions for research into possible treatments.”

And it’s this possibility of a possible treatment that has the weight-loss world all a-twitter.

Two proteins are already known to inhibit leptin in the brain and Professor Tiganis’ team have discovered a third. In mice, this third protein becomes more abundant with weight-gain, exacerbating leptin-resistance and hastening progression to morbid obesity. The study showed that the three negative regulators of leptin take effect at different stages, shedding light on how obesity progresses.

“Drugs targeting one of the negative regulators are already in clinical trials for Type 2 Diabetes, however, our research shows that in terms of increasing leptin-sensitivity in obesity, targeting only one of these won’t be enough. All three regulators might need to be switched off,” said Professor Tiganis.

The study showed that high fat diet-induced weight gain is largely prevented in genetically-modified mice when two of the negative regulators are deleted in the brain.

“We now have to determine what happens when all three negative regulators are neutralised. Do we prevent high fat diet-induced obesity?”

What Does This Mean To You?

If you’re waiting for a magic anti-fat pill…not a whole lot. It will be years before a pill is ready for the market…if ever.

However, if this research has piqued your interest about your own level of leptin resistance…read on my friend.

Short Term Fasting and Leptin

Keeping in mind that this research is in it’s infancy…..there are a couple of studies which show that short term fasting (when accompanied with reduced levels of glucose and insulin) causes serum leptin levels to drop regardless of body-fat changes.

They suggest that insulin, glucose, sugar, carbs, pizza & soda play a significant role in the regulation of leptin release….leptin resistance…. and ultimately obesity.

If future research confirms this, this means that short-term fasting diets combined with reduced carb consumption may turn out to be a pretty awesome way to fight obesity.