Leptin A Far Greater Influence On Childhood Obesity

You may recall a study I posted earlier this year debating the effect genetics could have on your child's risk of obesity. I strongly feel our genes are merely dumb storage facilities that do very little to influence our health. Instead, it's the expression of our genes -- guided by our emotional influences -- that's truly important. Otherwise, you'd be helpless to do anything about your health, which, of course, isn't true at all.

A Japanese study has uncovered what may be a real link between childhood obesity and undernourished pregnant mothers: An extra surge of the hormone leptin. Scientists tested the premise by comparing two sets of pregnant mice, one underfed and the other fed a normal diet.

As in previous studies, underfed mothers gave birth to lower-weight mice that grew quickly and caught up with normal pups after 10 days. When fed an average diet after weaning, pups from both normally fed and underfed mothers weighed the same and had similar fat reserves. However, when the mice from underfed moms were fed a high-fat diet, they grew much bigger than those from moms fed an average diet: The underfed group weighed some 15 percent more and stored 50 percent more fat.

What's more, the underfed pups also showed a premature spike in leptin levels at 8-10 days old, compared with a surge on day 16 in normal pups.

How does this extra leptin change the obesity cycle? Scientists believe this early spike altered the neural circuitry during a critical developmental window and interfered with the transport of leptin to the brain in adulthood, in essence, making the mice far less sensitive to feeling sated.

That's why a strategic diet based on your body's unique nutritional type that emphasizes good fats and avoids blood sugar spikes coupled with targeted supplements to enhance insulin and leptin sensitivity resensitizes the ability of your cells to "hear" hormonal messages correctly.

Cell Metabolism, Vol. 1, June 2005: 371-378

New Scientist June 7, 2005

Yahoo News May 7, 2005

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