Your Body’s Reaction to Its Own Fat
According to Scientific American, leptin is a hormone that helps regulate your diet. It is made by your body’s fat cells, and it is able to communicate with the hypothalamus of the brain, which is in charge of halting hunger and cravings when you have enough energy.
The problem is that your body reacts in a manner that doesn’t make much sense once you gain weight and you have too much fat. Weight loss struggles might be the result of the body becoming less sensitive to the hormone leptin. What ends up happening is you find it more difficult to shed the pounds, and you end up gaining more and more weight over time.
An Enzyme Can Also Play a Role
Scientists performed an experiment in which they put mice on a high-fat diet until they became obese. What they learned was that obesity will boost the activity of matrix metalloproteinase-2, which is an enzyme that is also referred to simply as MMP-2. This enzyme ends up removing some of the leptin receptor that is found in the brain, thereby reducing leptin’s ability to reduce your appetite.
Therapies Might Someday Be Available
It really is amazing to learn about the things that are going on in your body all the time, on a molecular level, that could be causing your weight loss struggles. But, what can you do about it?
One other thing that researchers noted was that the cause of obesity might be inflammation. When they treated hypothalamic cells with compounds that cause inflammation, they noted an increase in MMP-2 expression. Tie this in with prior research that has already found that low-grade, chronic inflammation in the hypothalamus can be caused by a high-calorie and high-fat diet, and it all makes sense.
Experts are hoping that this new insight into weight loss struggles can help them develop new therapies and prescription diet pills that would help reduce inflammation within the brain so that MMP-2 activity can also be reduced in order to increase the brain’s response to leptin.