Higher levels of appetite-control hormone leptin have fewer symptoms of depression

A new study has found that depression symptoms were mitigated in women with more leptin, the appetite-control hormone. 

Long linked to mood disorders, Leptin has now been found to reduce feelings of anxiety. Leptin may indeed have antidepressant qualities,” said Elizabeth Lawson, MD, of Harvard Medical School. The results did not indicate any relationship with body mass index (BMI).

A hormone commonly produced in fat cells, leptin levels are typically lower in thin women and higher in heavier women. Otherwise known as the leptin paradox, this is due to leptin resistance. Leptin resistance can be caused by chronic inflammation. Of course inflammation absolutely drives up C-Reactive protein. This (CRP) is a very negative marker for heart issues. The two bound together create a molecule so huge it cannot cross over into the brain so the signal to stop eating doesn’t happen. Satiety remains just a word, just a concept. “Could someone please pass the potatoes!”

In a normal healthy person our fat cells release leptin through the brain barrier into the hypothalamus which triggers feelings of satiation. This of course prevents people from eating to a point of obesity. By binding to C-Reactive protein, creating a molecule so large that it won’t enter the hypothalamus, leptin remains trapped in the blood, causing more hunger, less satiety, more inflammation, more C-Reactive protein, and apparently lower anxiety and less depression.

Clearly more research needs to be done.

The initial study involved 64 women, 15 of which were anorexics. 12 of them were of normal weight but suffered from hypothalamic amenorrhea, (absence of a menstrual period during reproductive age). 30 were in good health and of appropriate height/weight ratio and 17 were obese. 

The test subjects were all assessed for symptoms of depression and anxiety.

measuring leptin levels in the blood, the researchers assessed the women’s BMI, a measure of weight for height. They found that higher leptin levels were linked to decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression. The relationship between leptin and depression symptoms was independent of BMI. This finding indicates that leptin may mediate symptoms of depression and that this effect is not a function of low weight, said Lawson. The results were presented recently at The Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting in B

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