The Venus Factor Diet and Leptin Resistance
Lately there have been plenty of topics covering leptin and leptin resistance in regard to weight loss. This has led to supplement companies producing leptin in capsule form and trying to market it as a weight loss saviour. There’s just one little problem. Leptin is a digestible protein that doesn’t enter the bloodstream. Taking it in a capsule is tantamount to taking capsulated beef or chicken, and about as effective.
Most of these products have even been tested and found to contain no leptin at all, and instead giving random ingredients that claim to improve leptin functioning or make you feel full. The companies are banking on people seeing the word leptin as a magical wand, buying a bottle of questionable capsules and having that be the end of things.
The Venus Factor diet is one of quite a few publications that deal with the idea of leptin resistance, and why that matters particularly to women. The author, having been involved with supplements for men, and programs aimed at male body shaping, came across leptin while researching ways to help women acheive the same results he’d offered to his male clients. It is important to understand what leptin is, what it’s role is, and where leptin resistance even comes from. Ready for the exciting scientific stuff?
Leptin, coming from the Greek word Leptos (meaning thin) is a 16-kDa adipokine that is instrumental in regulating energy intake and expenditure, controlling things like appetite, metabolism and behavior. It is one of the most important adipose derived hormones. Adipose hormones also include adiponectin and resistin, and all three of these are linked to the understanding and treatment of type II diabetes and obesity. Human leptin is a protein of 167 amino acids. It is manufactured primarily in the adipocytes of white adipose tissue, and the level of circulating leptin is proportional to the total amount of fat in the body.
In addition to white adipose tissue, the major source of leptin, it can also be produced by brown adipose tissue, placenta (syncytiotrophoblasts), ovaries, skeletal muscle, stomach (the lower part of the fundic glands), mammary epithelial cells, bone marrow, pituitary, and liver. (Which is why women have 2x more leptin in the body than men, due to where it is produced). Leptin acts on receptors in the hypothalamus of the brain, where it inhibits appetite, counteracting the effects of neuropeptide Y (a potent feeding stimulant secreted by cells in the gut and in the hypothalamus),counteracting the effects of anandamide (another potent feeding stimulant that binds to the same receptors as THC)and promoting the synthesis of a-MSH, an appetite suppressant.
What does that mean though? Think of leptin like you would think of testosterone, estrogen or insulin. In proper amounts, and operating as it should, the hormone keeps us at our best. When the levels become weighted too heavily or too light, it throws our body into imbalance that we can see and feel. If a woman had too much testosterone, she would produce facial hair, her voice would deepen. If a man produced more estrogen, he may notice growth of breasts and mood swings. With leptin, when we have an overage, our body becomes resistant to it, and we can no longer benefit from what it was made to do for us. Leptin is our feast or famine protein. It is meant to keep fat stores around during lean times, and burn it away during times of plenty. It is meant to keep us from being hungry when we have extra body mass, and to stimulate our metabolism. Just like some people become resistant to the body’s natural insulin, we can also become resistant to leptin.
Researchers like Rudolph Leibel at Columbia University have tested the effects of leptin injections in both obese and thin people, but have failed to see any improvement in weight loss or leptin levels. There have been many clinical trials with rats, both genetically modified without the ability to produce leptin, as well as normal rats who are simply fed a differing diet daily, and the only ones to show any sign of improvement were not the ones the researchers expected. The rats receiving injections saw no weight loss, while the rats eating differently, without any leptin modifications saw marked energy spikes, appetite increase and decrease, and healthy weight levels. The increased energy and access to wheels and toys further served to cement their findings that leptin was responding to more natural methods than forced.
Managing leptin’s effectiveness through diet and exercise is a relatively new breakthrough, and still being studied by researchers intent on blasting obesity out of our society. But obesity is not the only thing that leptin can contribute to that is unwanted. There are links between leptin and morning sickness in pregnancy, polycystic ovarian syndrome, early closure of epiphyses (the shorter leg bones) and at the cellular level, the leptin action that reduces b-amyloid and hyperphosphorylated Tau are two benchmarks that lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Now that you understand what leptin is, where it comes from, how it works and all the big scientific stuff, it is easier to understand where the foundation for diets like The Venus Factor have taken root, and why it would work in the first place. Leptin resistance is a big problem, but with more literature being printed and released about this, and public being made aware, we are better able to take control back into our own hands, and reshape both our bodies, and our futures.