I finally spent money and bought Byron Richards’ latest book “Mastering Leptin”, and am nearly through it. The book is intensely well referenced and a read of some references leads me to the conviction that his interpretation of study results is correct – the references are not for show, but for proving his points. The book is not a simple read because the relationships of leptin to the degenerative diseases of later life are very complex. However, his reasoned explanation of these complex relationships makes it possible to understand this interconnectedness of how we eat and resulting health or the lack of health.
The primary truth to be grasped is that food intake is directly responsible for how well we age and the kinds of ills we suffer as we age. His well founded teaching is that food intake controls the circulating levels of the hormone leptin in the body, and leptin orchestrates the activity of virtually the whole rest of our physiology. I was fairly skeptical about this principle until I was about half way through the book, but he weaves such a coherent story, that I’m compelled to believe it. That means that I have to modify my behavior (my eating patterns – and drinking as well) to be in harmony with the leptin messaging system..
Adding this information to this site will mean changing the topic articles of many of our categories. But if I can try to briefly summarize what these recent findings imply, you may be convinced to go to Wellness Resources and read or listen to Byron’s podcasts or lecture videos. He can tell this story very well and may convince you to change your health and life for the better.
Leptin is the master hormone that manages virtually all others. Leptin is produced by fat cells. Bigger fat cells make more leptin; the more fat, the higher the baseline leptin levels in the blood. Leptin also varies rapidly with food ingestion; its rise sends a signal to the brain that we are satisfied or full; the ‘time to stop eating now’ signal. Leptin is the manager of the energy balance of the body, and harkens back to pre-history to give animals the ability to survive famine. It is therefore primary in the survival of animal species, including humans.
As such, it can control metabolism, nearly grinding it to a halt during starvation, and accelerating it when food becomes plentiful again to prepare us for the next famine by packing on body fat for energy storage. Many tissues in the body have receptors for leptin to communicate with, but the primary metabolic control is affected by the hypothalamus region of the brain. The problem today is that food is, for most of us in the USA, available 24/7 in all-we-want quantities.
America is obese – and the reason is that our brains are not listening to leptin, because leptin levels are so high that we develop leptin resistance of the brain. The science show that when fat gain exceeds some level, rising leptin becomes blocked at the blood-brain barrier and can’t get into the brain to tell us we are full. Low leptin levels in the brain tell the hypothalamus to make us more hungry, and to shut down metabolism to preserve energy as well. So once you cross the threshold of leptin resistance, all things start to go wrong. And since this is THE primary control hormone, attempts to fix what is broken without fixing leptin signaling, are just treatment of symptoms, and not a cure of the problem. Bryon’s cure is to institute in your life the Five Rules of Leptin:
- 1. Never eat after dinner. Finish eating at least 3 hours before bed
- 2. Eat three meals a day. Allow 5-6 hours between meals. Do Not Snack!
- 3. Do not eat large meals. Finish eating when you are slightly less than full.
- 4. Eat a breakfast containing protein.
- 5. Reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat.
I have started this practice, and am seeing fairly immediate results in my body fat levels. You might wonder why, since I don’t carry a lot of fat anyway, I would try this out. While that is true, I have many of the other symptoms of metabolic syndrome: high and rising blood pressure, cholesterol above 300, fasting blood sugar typically about 105, morning temperature readings that indicate slow thyroid, abnormal cortisol curves (peak well before morning), not to mention I have had a quad bypass for coronary artery disease, and energy levels that I judge to be sub-par. So even though I seem to be controlling many of the issues such as body fat and maintaining muscle mass by weight training, I think I could drastically improve my health by getting these other factors under control – without drugs. That is the goal – I will keep you posted on the results, one way or the other.
Good living – Frank