What is Leptin?

definition of terms


Leptin is an appetite regulating hormone produced by fat cells that helps the brain signals fullness. It opposes the hormone ghrelin which stimulates hunger.


  • As fat cells size increases, more leptin is released to diminish appetite. This mechanism can malfunction leading to leptin resistance.
  • High leptin levels indicate sufficient energy storage and excess body fat. Low leptin increases appetite and food seeking.
  • Sleep deprivation, stress, inflammation, and insulin resistance can blunt leptin function, overriding satiety signals.
  • To improve leptin response, focus on sleep, exercise, and limiting processed foods. Leptin reset diets may temporarily restore sensitivity.


  • Feeling constantly hungry and overeating despite excess body fat and high leptin levels.
  • Leptin levels plummeting during extreme diet deprivation, increasing hunger.

Related Terms

  • Ghrelin, obesity, satiety hormone, hunger cues

Common Questions

  • How can I reset my leptin? Get 7-9 hours of sleep, walk daily, eat fatty fish, and avoid sugar/processed carbs.
  • Do I want high or low leptin? Ideal leptin levels promote feeling full and weight regulation without overeating.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Ghrelin – The opposing hormone that increases appetite and hunger.
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