(The following is another good bit of info from Mike Mahler, but be forewarned, I am not selling any of these products nor do I endorse them. If you choose to use them, do so at your own discretion. You're an adult, act like one. I have used a few products in my time, but nothing has every really felt like it changed my life. If something does, I will surely let you know.)
Optimizing hormone levels is critical to good health, as you’re only as healthy as your
hormone levels. Hormones influence our moods, thought patterns, (negative and
positive) behaviors, appearance, and our ability to handle stress. To best optimize
hormone levels is to focus on the big picture, namely the big three: leptin, insulin, and
adrenaline and, of these three, leptin is the most important, since insufficient leptin
further compromises testosterone and growth hormone.
What exactly is leptin? A hormone produced by fat cells, leptin was discovered in 1994.
Leptin's primary job is restoring fat reserves when energy (food) is consumed. This is a
biological survival mechanism to increase survival chances in case of famine. (These
days, however, the closest most people we know approach famine is their two-hour
downtime between meals!) After restoring fat reserves, leptin determines how much
energy the body needs and where it's best spent. Leptin, in fact, leads the entire hormonal
When leptin levels drop, the brain receives a signal (from another hormone, grehlin) that
it's time to eat. Ideally you'll pick healthy options, e.g. high-quality foods to replenish the
brain's neurotransmitters and refill liver and muscle glycogen.
When you eat a meal, leptin levels rise again, signaling the brain that enough calories
have been consumed and it's time to stop eating. Insulin levels also rise with food intake
and insulin’s job is to get as much nutrition as possible into the liver and muscles. If the
muscles and liver are already full of nutrients then nutrient spillover occurs and excess
calories are stored as fat. When leptin is working properly it prevents nutrient spillover
by telling insulin to shut off after your tank is full.
When you don't eat enough calories (or, more precisely, derive enough energy from the
food you eat) for too long a time, leptin signals the thyroid hormones to decrease
metabolic rate in order to conserve energy. In addition to slowing down fat loss, a
sluggish metabolic rate will hamper sex hormone production and anabolism in general.
Since the production of sex hormones is energy intensive, if the body isn't receiving
adequate fuel, all stores will go to maintenance and repair before growth--and growth
means muscle tissue, among other things, and muscle maintenance and growth are your
best tools for fat loss and optimal body composition. Without adequate sex hormone
production in particular testosterone and growth hormone, you will not be able to build
muscle. The best you can hope for is skinny fat, and taking up less space on the planet
does equate to lean and healthy. Skinny fat is still poor body composition.
Neither are high levels of leptin the same as optimal levels. Ironically, overweight people
have high leptin levels, but the brain doesn't "know" those levels are high due to a
condition called leptin resistance, wherein the satiety messages issued from leptin never
make it to the brain's receptors, which generally results in excess calorie intake before
satiety is registered. Overeating in general, obviously results in excess calories being
stored as fat.
Hard training athletes can get way with unseemly calorie intake since their energy
demand is higher than the average person, their insulin sensitivity is high and their
muscles store and metabolize more glycogen. The average person's insulin liver and
muscle glycogen storage is considerably more limited and further, their insulin resistance
may be compromised. Once the average person's liver and muscle glycogen stores are
refilled, (if they were ever depleted in the first place) the rest of the meal's energy value
goes to fat storage, to be used--ideally--another day. This is why I think post-workout,
high-carbohydrate "recovery" shakes are a mistake, at least for the average person of sub-
optimal body composition (ie, too fat) who consume adequate carbohydrate throughout
the day already. Combined with less-than-optimal insulin sensitivity in the muscles, it's a
recipe for increasing body fat.
Excessive calorie intake is the fast track to leptin resistance. Since it's hard to eat excess
of the so-called "clean" foods, excess calories usually come from junk foods. Junk foods
may be appropriate for an elite athlete requiring prodigious calorie intake to fuel training
but you're probably not in that category! For most people, frequent intake of fast foods
and other junk foods brings them to a bad end: leptin resistance.
Every time you eat food in excess (of energy required by the body) leptin and insulin
levels surge. The larger and more calorie dense the meal, the higher the surge and the
longer the duration. You know the rap: the excess stimulation causes the cellular
receptors to develop resistance to the continual flood of hormone. Once the receptors
become resistant, they require more stimulation (food intake) to respond with a satiety
signal. This condition, leptin resistance, is analogous to becoming a human fat storage
organism. A ignoble accomplishment compared to the heights of real human potential.
Leptin resistance leads to insulin resistance, which further locks in leptin resistance. With
insulin resistance, you no longer have insulin sensitivity. When you have insulin
sensitivity, you only need to secrete a small mount of insulin to get calories into the
muscle and liver. Your receptor uptake of insulin is strong and efficient. When you have
insulin resistance, your receptors are weak and worn out. As a result you require a much
higher insulin response from overeating to get calories into the muscles and liver. What
ever is left over which is a lot will be stored as fat. High insulin also results in an
inevitable blood sugar crash, which makes you hungry again. Thus you have an insatiable
urge to eat and the entire process starts all over again.
Leptin resistance is a serious health issue. Essentially you are over feeding your body but
the perception from your brain is that you are starving. Thus, even though you’re eating a
lot, your metabolic rate will slow down just like someone who is under eating. A slowed
down metabolic rate again slows down fat loss or brings it to a screeching halt.
Moreover, a hampered metabolic rate puts the breaks on sex hormone production. The
end result is you’re fat, tired, and have no sex drive. You do not have energy to put in
intense weight training workouts to build muscle and ramp up testosterone and growth
hormone. Even if you do get the intense workouts in you do not have the testosterone and
growth hormone production to recover from arduous workouts.
Just like many things in life, you must create an optimal hormone balance that is right for
you. This will very with each person. Just like every hormone you do not want leptin too
high or too low. You want just enough for optimal functioning. While there is a blood test
that you can do for leptin it is really not necessary. If you are overweight you have leptin
The way to get out of leptin resistance is to give your body a break. Just like we need
vacations from work, our receptors need a vacation from having to deal with large
volumes of food delivered often. The first thing you need to do is make better food
Eat a balance of protein, fat, and carbs at every meal. A good starting point is 30%
protein, 40% carbs, and 30% popularized by Barry Sears as “The Zone" diet. This won't
be the perfect ratio for everyone--you will have to experiment to see what works best for
you--but it is a reasonable starting point. Take a page from Dr Braverman author of “The
Younger Thinner You Diet” and add spices to every meal. Spices reduce inflammation
levels and as a result help the leptin signal make it to the brain. Great choices include
turmeric, ginger, oregano, basil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Trying to lose fat? Take a page from Byron Richard’s outstanding book Mastering
Leptin and stick to three meals a day, with five to six hours between meals. The extended
food-free meal breaks provide opportunities for the body to call on stored fat for energy.
Instead of snacks, your body will fuel itself with free fatty acids. To ensure a growth
hormone surge while sleeping each night, best to quit eating at least four hours before
bedtime. GH optimizes fat loss and muscle growth, which is all the more reason to
prioritize the recommended 7-9 hours of good quality sleep each night--what could be
more hard core than aggressive sleeping? And the longer duration and greater intensity
the sleep, the better the results. So turn off GH killers, such as late night television and
Internet--and alcohol, and apply yourself to better sleeping and recovery habits.
For hard training athletes--especially those with low body fat levels--three meals a day
will probably not cut it. Four meals per day--with about four hours between meals--is
better. Still, cut off eating three hours before bedtime for best recovery from tough
Nutrition supplements also have a place in optimizing hormones. One supplement that
everyone can benefit from is magnesium. Magnesium is needed to extract energy from
food and for optimal insulin function. The more energy you extract from food the less
you have to eat to feel great. Magnesium's benefits go on forever. For more information
on the best magnesium option on the market go to:
A great supplement called Quadracarn is also excellent for androgen receptor uptake and
insulin sensitivity. Quadracarn also contains Acetyl L-Carnitine which has the following
benefits (1-2 grams twice per day on an empty stomach):
· Helps clear leptin resistance in the brain by helping the brain get the signal for the real
amount of leptin
· Helps get stuck cholesterol out of brain cells for optimal cell functioning
· When taken before bed helps the release of growth hormone. GH helps drive down
excessive leptin and burns up stomach fat.
· Helps the communication process among all of the hormones
· Increases androgen receptor uptake
For more info go to: http://www.mikemahler.com/quadracarn.html
Other supplements that are useful for Leptin, insulin, and
7. Leucine (5gram with 3 meals for increased protein synthesis) www.t-nation.com
8. B-100 vitamins: (1-4 caps per day. Trader Joes brand)
9. R-lipoic Acid (200mg 2-3x per day with food to help with insulin resistance and
shuttle nutrients into liver and muscles)
10. Resveratrol: (has been shown to turn off the obesity gene, is an anti-inflammatory,
increases uptake of stored fat for fuel, blocks conversion of testosterone into
11. Digestive Enzymes (to help you pull the most nutrition from food. 1-2 caps with
12. Phosphatidylersine (400mg-800mg after workouts or in the evening especially if
you drink coffee or produce a lot of adrenaline)
Fat Burning Supplements Making You Fatter? Adrenaline Resistance, Long-Term
Fat-Loss & Health
Reliable diet and exercise information is more accessible than ever before yet every year,
Americans continue getting fatter. According to David Kessler, author of The End of
Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable Appetite, food manufactures purposely
make food their foods irresistible by combining sugar, salt, fat and a pixie dust of
chemicals to create an addictive response in the consumer. Thus the more of their
garbage you eat, the more you desire and predictably, excess fat is the consequence.
Unfortunately, highly processed foods do nothing positive for the brain and body, merely
displacing the nutrition required to thrive. Without a wholesome, nutrition-based, source
of energy to get through the day, many people--mistakenly--self-medicate with caffeine
and other stimulants. Relying on artificial, external sources of stimulation is a poor
choice which can lead to adrenaline resistance (and tandem insulin resistance) which can
perpetuate weight gain and otherwise discourage good health. Increasing the ante with
supplemental fat-burners and thermogenics only worsens the situation. In the long run,
fat-burners can potentially make you fatter by screwing up your physiology. Overusing
such supplements can create (or aggravate already existing) adrenaline resistance, which
in turn causes fat retention, muscle loss, and inflammation.
Most fat burning supplements on the market are stimulant-based, thus they work by
increasing the neurotransmitter/hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Norepinephrine and epinephrine are catecholamines, secreted by the adrenals, which
trigger the "fight or flight" response (also known as an adrenaline rush) providing an
energy and strength boost by way of the central nervous system for 2-15 minutes. When
facing a legitimate stressor, i.e. an emergency, we rely on these hormones to overcome
and persevere. Epinephrine, also referred to as adrenaline, is what gets you out of the bed
in the morning; it further gives you an edge every time you take on a challenge.
Adrenaline gives us energy for intense workouts and, in the form of norepinephrine, for
the mental demands of problem solving.
The problem, as usual, comes from too much of a good thing. Most people in modern
society have chronically jacked up adrenaline levels from day-to-day living, and taking
stimulant-based fat burners only increases the load on their already overworked adrenal
glands. What if you're on vacation? With no stress in sight? Still, if you take a fat-
burning supplement the recommended two to three times a day, you'll still be increasing
your brain's perception of stress. While epinephrine works in the body, increasing
oxygen and glucose levels while suppressing digestive and immune systems,
norepinephrine works similarly, but adds a bonus psychoactive element. Thus every time
you take a fat burning supplement (or drink a strong cup of coffee) the message to the
brain is a consciousness of stress.
Chronically elevated adrenaline always results in adrenaline resistance, a condition
wherein the various adrenaline receptors become desensitized. In an adrenaline-sensitive
system, adrenaline causes blood sugar to rise (to be burned for energy) while
simultaneously releasing lipids into the blood stream (the fat-burning part) thus
adrenaline can aid us in breaking down fat deposits for energy. Unfortunately, in an
adrenaline-resistant system, since the receptors are dulled, the message is either delayed
or worse, never gets through. Thus, the system stores--instead of burning--the available
energy sources and, worse yet, tends to store the released lipids into already-existing
stubborn fat depots, like hips and thighs in women and love handles and upper back fat in
men. In addition to increasing depot fat stores, adrenaline resistance--allowed to run its
course--ends with severe energy lows and general fatigue Receptors worn out by chronic
stimulation eventually shut down, leaving you lagging all day. Any zeal you once had
for life now vaporized like the Las Vegas job market.
Unfortunately, the effects of adrenaline resistance don't stop at increased fat storage and
decreased energy levels. Chronically elevated adrenaline brings inflammation: every
secretion of adrenaline triggers a complement of the stress hormone, cortisol, a counter-
response to the system's inflammatory response to adrenaline. Like adrenaline, cortisol--
in the appropriate doses--is helpful. The problem, again, is too much of a good thing--
when cortisol levels are chronically elevated. In an optimal scenario, cortisol is released
to reduce the inevitable inflammation (by way of suppressing the immune response)
triggered by adrenaline, and everything is as it should be thus homeostasis ensues. The
problem arises when cortisol is chronically released in response to an adrenaline-resistant
system--resulting is a continual feedback loop of stress hormones. Worse, unlike
adrenaline, cortisol doesn't release fatty acids for energy, but goes the quick and dirty
route of muscle catabolism. So you see, between the fatty acid storage and muscle
catabolism, how adrenaline resistance (at least in the realm of optimal body composition)
is truly a worst-case scenario.
Building--and retaining--muscle mass is critical to body leanness. If your goals include
fat loss, you'll want to add muscle to improve your ratio of lean body mass to fat--and
building muscle is virtually impossible in the face of adrenaline resistance.
We need sufficient testosterone and growth hormone to feel our best and thrive, but the
excess cortisol (from the excess adrenaline) pulls the plug on muscle gains on one front
by flat-lining production of the anabolic sex hormones. When your central nervous
system is in continual survival mode, available energy is no longer delegated to
anabolism (i.e. tissue growth and repair) but instead to survival mode (i.e. suppressing
inflammation by suppressing the immune system.) Decreased sex hormone production is
the kiss of death for muscle gains, fat loss, powerful immunity and a healthy zeal for life. You want to optimize your sex hormone levels and feel great? Here's the hitch: you must
address adrenaline resistance.
When it comes to fat loss, instead of relying on ever-increasing adrenal stimulation (with
ever-decreasing returns) focus on what realistically needs to happen to burn the fat off--
keep it off. One often overlooked key to fat loss is liver health. The stronger and healthier
the liver, the less stubborn fat deposits on the body, since the liver assists in clearing out
excess fat-retaining estrogens.
Since toxins are stored in fat cells, the body will stubbornly retain fat in order not to
release those stored toxins into the blood stream, since it could overwhelm the system--
especially when organs are already stressed. Though you may think it hates you, your
body may actually be holding on to that undesired fat to protect your organs.
Knowing this, it makes sense to eat a diet both clean and free of toxins. Consuming
ample organic fruits and vegetables provides the liver antioxidants to counter the effects
of toxins released from the fat cells. While the nutrition benefit per se of organic food
over non-organic food is negligible at best, organic food has less surface toxins from
sprays which ideally translates into a lower toxic load on the system, therefore less
burden on the liver and finally, decreased stubborn body fat.
Nutritional supplements can play a role in liver health and thus, fat loss. Essential fatty
acids are one supplement proven to effective in fat loss, organ health, reducing
inflammation and intracellular friction. The good news is that supplements for liver
health and stress management also function de facto fat-loss aids. For the liver, milk
thistle (silymarin) and the amino acid N-acetyl cysteine are the best value. Milk thistle
studies show a rejuvenating effect on cirrhotic livers and N-acetyl cysteine is a precursor
to glutathione, which is critical for optimal immune function, protein synthesis and
repair. Another multi-faceted supplement for increasing glutathione is R-lipoic acid,
which further increases insulin sensitivity in the muscles, thus supporting fat loss and
For stress management, phosphatidylserine (PS) improves mood, cognition, reaction
times and has been shown to blunt post-exercise cortisol levels. PS also has a slight
ergogenic effect. Phosphatidylserine supplementation is further an effective treatment for
the physiologically deteriorative effects of overreaching/overtraining.
Don't forget the minerals: magnesium and zinc support hormone production--especially
testosterone. With every adrenaline release comes a corresponding need for magnesium
and other minerals and electrolytes. Magnesium controls muscular contraction, including
striated, smooth and cardiac muscle. A good book to read about magnesium and its
benefits is The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean, MD ND. My favorite form of
magnesium is transdermal magnesium oil, which has the added value of increasing
DHEA levels--minus the negative effects for men--attendant with oral DHEA
supplementation. Optimal DHEA levels keep cortisol in check, therefore keeping
testosterone from becoming depleted. Magnesium, with its muscle relaxating properties,
is best taken as a sleep aid at bedtime.
Another multi-faceted supplement I like for fat loss is resveratrol. Resveratrol, an
antioxidant, reduces inflammation, lowers blood sugar, and shows anti-cancer and
cardiac-protective benefits as well. Additionally, resveratrol displays anti-aromatase
properties--blocking the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. The more fat you have,
the more estrogen receptors you have as well and therefore, the more likely you are to be
converting testosterone into estrogen. Resveratrol increases metabolic rate and, by
stimulating the SIRT1 gene, increases insulin sensitivity. Resveratrol is an all-around
winner which almost everyone can benefit from.
Finally, take a page from The Younger (Thinner) You Diet: How Understanding Your
Brain Chemistry Can Help You Lose Weight, Reverse Aging and Fight Disease (Eric
Braverman, MD) and add three spices to every meal. Spices, such as turmeric, basil,
oregano, cumin and rosemary are all anti-inflammatory and good for liver health.
Cinnamon is helpful for regulating blood sugar and tastes great in protein shakes and
homemade protein bars.
Proper sleep, and other restorative practices, are important--frequently neglected--aspects
of fat loss and physical wellness. Without adequate quality sleep (7-9 hours for most)
human growth hormone levels will be insufficient. Growth hormone has an anabolic
function and is a potent player in body leanness. GH Levels naturally decline after age 25
so you don't want to further short change yourself by missing sleep. Restoration
activities, such as tai chi, yoga, chi-kung and meditation, increase body/breath awareness,
thereby improving stress management.
Despite all the above, don't ensnare yourself in supplement recommendations and miss
the big picture! Supplements are merely that: supplements to an optimal diet, exercise and
healthful daily routine. Optimize your diet and reduce your stress by creating a healthful
routine for yourself. stress. For best results in physical and mental well-being (including
fat loss) instead of distracting yourself with pricey supplements, determine the source of
the stress in your life and remove or reduce it as best you can.
You can never go wrong taking charge of your life and circumstances. The more self-
reliant you feel in your endeavors, the healthier you will be. A few weeks ago, I watched
a wildlife show about baboons which illustrated this fact. A primatologist drew blood
samples from a wild troop of baboons and analyzed the hormone levels and other bio-
markers. The alpha male profiles showed not only optimal sex hormones and but the
lowest levels of stress hormones. Further, the alphas had ideal blood pressure. Baboons
lower within the social hierarchy, on the other hand, had high levels of cortisol and
corresponding degenerative health symptoms, including high blood pressure. The
difference? Alpha males (at least while they remain alpha) spend their days as they
please, while the other baboons are left to cope with all the inter-tribe displaced
aggressions. The lesson? The more sovereignty you feel over your life, the more ease
with which you can go about what needs to be accomplished in your lifetime. Feeling at the mercy of others, and other externals beyond your control, wreaks havoc with your
hormones and peace of mind.
Looking to optimize your health and win the war against body fat? Address your
propensity for adrenaline resistance. In short, if you are one of the stimulant addicted,
overcome it. Unlike caffeine and other fat-burners, eating a clean diet supplies real
energy to the body and keeps the liver clear of toxins. The healthier your liver, the more
efficiently you will shed fat and improve hormonal profiles. If indicated, try the
suggested supplements for liver health and hormonal support, but remember: diet,
exercise and supplements aren't enough in themselves. If you have a stressful attitude
toward your life, you can count yourself among the adrenaline resistant. Don't go there!
Why not take responsibility for your life and, instead of managing symptoms of stress,
rout them and liberate yourself.
Note: an outstanding book addressing fat loss and adrenaline resistance is Mastering
Leptin: Your Guide to Permanent Weight Loss and optimum Health (Bryon J.Richards/
Mary Guignol Richards). For an easy-read version of the material, read The Leptin Diet:
How Fit is Your Fat (Take Charge) also by Byron Richards.
For a great source of resveratrol, go to: http://www.mikemahler.com/resveratrol.html
For more information on the importance of Liver Detox, check out Ori Hofmekler's The
Detailed Information on the Connection Between Leptin and Hormone
Sources: “Mastering Leptin” and “The Leptin Diet” By Bryon Richards.
The glands in the body make hormones such as testosterone. They travel in the blood
stream and supervise the use of energy by cells. Hormones are energy managers and they
all answer to King Leptin. Leptin works hard to maintain optimal hormone levels and
Our bodies use hormones to manage energy. Leptin controls the entire operation setting
the energy expenditure that is carried out by the thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones set
the long-term rate at which energy is used by all of the cells. Adrenaline is the main
hormone that controls energy use on a minute to minute basis.
When your energy system is in working order you wake up energetic and ready to go.
Your energy systems turn on and sustain you throughout the day. Outside of regular
meals you do not need to eat or take lots of caffeine for an energy boost.
Three hormonal factors in weight gain
Leptin resistance: The brain cannot sense the difference between leptin and white fat
cells. As a result metabolism slows down and calories head for storage. The pancreas
cannot sense leptin so it keeps pumping out insulin, which ultimately causes insulin
Insulin resistance: The body has to overproduce insulin in order to drive nutrients into the
liver and muscles. The over production of insulin causes nutrient spillover and increases
levels of bodyfat. Energy extraction from food is not efficient which can make one tired
Adrenaline resistance: The signal to stimulate fat cellmetabolism is no longer received
by fat cells. This causes weight gain with particular emphasis in the stomach. Weight
gain in the stomach is often associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer of the
Leptin and its effects on other hormones
Leptin and thyroid
Metabolic rate is largely determined by the rate of activity of the liver. Thyroid hormone
by comparison is like a gas pedal on metabolism and the liver is the engine. Leptin is in
charge of both of them. The brain based on its perception of leptin, tells the liver and
thyroid what metabolic rate to employ.
Studies show that a proper level of leptin in the brain directly sends out a message to
other areas in the brain to stimulate the production of thyroid hormones. Leptin controls
One’s percentage of bodyfat determines the amount of leptin. The combination of insulin
resistance and high body fat is the main factor associated with high leptin. Leptin exists
as a primary regulator of metabolic rate. When leptin resistance occurs, the body thinks it
is starving even though there is plenty of fat on hand. The liver stops converting thyroid
hormones into active thyroid hormones (T4 into T3) because of leptin resistance, the true
cause of the thyroid problem.
T3 is an active thyroid hormone. Normally most T3 is made in the liver, which converts
T4, the hormone made by the thyroid gland, to T3, the metabolically active form of the hormone. When the liver is told a starvation situation exists, it slows down metabolism
by reducing the production of T3. Researchers have shown aninverse relationship
between T3 and leptin. The primary role of the liver is to help leptin control metabolic
The conversion of T4 to T3 by the liver is slowed down by high stress. This is a natural
defense mechanism against burning up body tissues.
Too much toxicity also causes thyroid problems. When the liver cannot keep up there is a
backlog of toxins in the blood. This impedes fat loss as the body frequently tries to rid
extra toxins out of circulation by stuffing them into fat. A toxic person has a hard time
losing fat because the body does not want to give up the toxins in fat. Doing so will re-
expose the person to the chemicals. The liver, lymphatic, and bowel elimination systems
must be improved; then toxins can be more efficiently eliminated, the constraint on
metabolism can be removed and fat loss can proceed.
The Importance of Optimal Thyroid Hormones
The hypothalamus takes input from leptin and then sets the energy spending parameters
for long-term plans. Thyroid hormones control how many calories are burned for energy
when the body is at rest (basal metabolic rate).
When you diet, the perception to the brain is that you are starving. As a result, leptin sets
a curtailed energy-spending plan and thyroid hormones enforce a conservation strategy.
This plan is updated weekly as the thyroid glands make thyroid hormones that last around
7 days in the blood. It sets the basal metabolic rate on a weekly basis. While thyroid
hormones do not determine intense energy needs, they do guide the use of energy over a
longer period, based on the amounts of nutrients that are coming in from the diet, and the
daily demands for energy facing the individual.
A clear sign that your thyroid levels are low is if you are always cold. When cells make
enough energy they make heat to keep you warm. When the rate is too slow not enough
heat is created. Conking out when sitting down to relax in the afternoon or evening is
another sign that thyroid levels are very low.
When your thyroid is functioning optimally it enables the use of energy for all other
hormone systems. You feel focused and ready to go.
Leptin and Adrenaline Hormones
Adrenaline is the management hormone that uses energy for physical action. A burst of
adrenaline can ramp up energy production for two to fifteen minutes.
Adrenaline is made in the inner part of the adrenal glands; the medulla. It is also made in
the nerves and is referred to as epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Adrenaline is often referred to as the fight or flight hormone. In times of stress,
adrenaline levels put the pedal to the metal for survival. In times of very high stress,
adrenaline forces cells to make as much energy as possible for survival. Adrenaline can
increase the metabolic ATP production in cells 600 times the normal resting value. While
this energy does not last very long it explains how people can perform impressive feats in
When you are not stressed, adrenaline implements the use of energy for physical activity.
Even for such simple acts as putting your luggage in the overhead bin. Adrenaline is what
makes the muscles move and contract. Without adrenaline you will never get out of bed
and you will be too tired to do anything.
Any form of stress requires adrenaline to keep up with the demands of life such as
problem solving, emotional hardships, and working out. The more intense the demand,
the greater the amount of adrenaline needed to manage the situation.
Too much adrenaline causes the muscles to tighten especially the shoulders. Cramps,
twitches, restless legs, and charley horses are all the result of too much adrenaline stress
as it wears down the muscles and nervous system.
When you are worn down you have tattered nerves that cannot handle adrenaline. As the
tired nerves try to use adrenaline they heat up resulting in anxiety, agitation, discomfort,
energy crashes, and overall pain in response to activity otherwise known as fibromyalgia
(fibromyalgia is essentially an allergic response to one’s own adrenaline).
Leptin uses adrenaline as a communication signal to fat cells telling them to release
stored fat to be used as fuel. As fat cells are broken down for fuel, leptin levels decline
because leptin is made from fat cells. This eventually leads to the desire to eat.
Once you eat, insulin levels rise which stimulates calories to flow back to fat and increase
levels of leptin. As leptin levels rise you get a full signal and stop eating. Within several
hours of the meal leptin is stimulating the breakdown of fat by releasing adrenaline.
Some emergencies are brief and others last for a while. We need to be able to maintain
energy long enough to deal with stress. This is one reason why white adipose tissue is
stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system. Under stress white fat cells begin to
release their stores of energy so that an emergency demand can be met over a prolonged
period of time.
There are different kinds of receptors for adrenaline. For example fat around the
midsection has more of one type of receptor than fat in other areas. This is why some
people gain weight around the midsection and others gain it on the hips and thighs. When
adrenaline receptors have trouble getting the message, fat accumulates more readily in
that area of the body as the metabolic rate of those specific fat cells slows down. Adrenaline should arouse fat cells to release energy, which in turn should cause weight
loss. However, when adrenaline is too high too often, fat cells develop adrenaline
resistance. Not only does this block fat cells from being burned for energy it encourages
weight gain around the stomach, high blood pressure, and sleep issues.
Some adrenaline is actually needed for a healthy sex drive in men and women. Too much
causes serious wear and tear and can kill the sex drive very quickly. The stress depletes
testosterone levels, which is critical for both men and women’s sex drives. While women
can still function well (not ideal) with a low or non-existent sex drive, a compromised sex
drive can be very problematic for men. Testosterone is what makes a man a man and is a
tremendous driving force for living life fully.
A declined sex drive means declining ATP production and compromised energy
producing systems. When you are optimal you have an increase in sex drive as you are
being driven to procreate and live fully. When your sex drive is non existent you are in a
stressed state and your body has to use energy for more pressing matters.
Leptin and Insulin Resistance
Leptin resistance causes insulin resistance and both play off of each other making each
In normal physical function, leptin and insulin have a balancing effect on food intake,
energy storage, and a stable energy level. Once leptin resistance sets in and leptin levels
are high, the pancreatic B-cells do not respond to the signal from leptin to halt insulin
production. Insulin keeps stimulating leptin production, at the same time insulin promotes
calories to be stored as fat. The high circulating insulin causes cells throughout the body
to be resistant to insulin.
There are many leptin receptors in the pancreas. When leptin is functioning properly it
turns off insulin providing a full signal to the brain so you stop eating.
For people that are overweight there is a lack of communication between insulin and
leptin resulting in overeating in order to get an adequate leptin response to shut of insulin
and send the signal to the brain that it is time to stop eating. When too much food is
consumed, a high level of Insulin is produced in response to drive the sugar out of the
blood. However, if too much Insulin is produced then too much sugar is driven out of the
blood making one tired and hungry. This vicious cycle is very difficult to get off of.
Eating often is bad advice for losing fat. By constantly giving yourself fuel you increase
the likelihood of nutrient spill over (calories being stored as fat) and never allow your
body to go to stored bodyfat for energy.
Many like to think that they can avoid increasing insulin by only eating fat and protein at
a meal. While the insulin response will not be as high, there is no such thing as a meal
that does not increase insulin levels. Every time you eat you turn on insulin and insulin is
what drives the nutrients from food into the muscles and liver to replenish used up stores
and store calories for future use. Whenever you eat you take yourself out of the fat
burning zone, as your body will now use the fuel that is coming in rather then stored
Leptin and Growth Hormone
GH is released by the pituitary gland and travels to the liver where it activates a variety of
hormonal signals to repair the body. The primary signal made by the liver that reflects
GH is IGF-1. IGF-1’s main role in a healthy person is to facilitate growth, repair, and cell
proliferation. It is the driving force behind building up the body and maintaining it.
GH is the prime hormone that helps an individual to recover from the wear and tear of
Taking growth hormone replacement can be useful for some. However, taking GH
replacement does not address the reason why GH is low and may cause serious health
problems. You are already out of balance with low GH and taking supplemental GH may
create a further imbalance. It can also stimulate the growth of cancer and insulin
resistance. GH causes insulin resistance because it binds to insulin receptors, clogging
The real reason why GH levels decline with age is leptin and the inflammatory signals
TNFa and Il-6 block the function of GH. The way to optimize GH is to resolve leptin
issues and reduce inflammation.
The hormone ghrelin which is secreted by the stomach to induce hunger has an intimate
relationship with GH. It binds to cells containing GH, initiating release of GH into
When a person becomes insulin resistant, then IGF-1 levels become resistant to normal
repair activity. This resistant condition causes higher circulating levels of insulin and
IGF-1. Excess and non-functioning IGF-1 will cause cancer to grow, especially breast
Higher than normal levels of IGF-1 are associated with breast, prostate, colorectal, and
GH and leptin have opposing tone. When leptin levels are high, GH levels are
correspondingly lower. Leptin’s main effect on GH is to restrict it. GH acts to lower
leptin’s activity in fat cells, which leads to a reduction in fat mass, in particular stomach
Once leptin resistance sets in and there is excess leptin circulating, then GHproduction is
Excess cortisol from stress stimulates the formation of excess fat in the stomach area.
Once GH is lacking there is no metabolic force to help reduce stomach fat and it will
keep accumulating as part of a leptin and insulin resistant picture.
During fasting GH levels rise but not because the brain is stimulating GH production. In a
fasting state the hunger hormone ghrelin promotes extra GH production.
In normal weight individuals ghrelin levels drop when food is eaten. In overweight
individuals ghrelin levels stay elevated after food is eaten, leading to excess consumption
of food. Overweight individuals have a blunted response to the correct working of
Excess inflammation turns GH production off. TNFa and IL-6 ramp up and bind to GH
receptors and turn them off.
Sleep and GH
The largest surge of GH occurs during the night. If individuals have leptin and insulin
resistance their levels of both stay too high for too long including during sleep time.
When you have insulin resistance, GH production is depressed during the early part of
sleep. GH controls night time repair and this interferes with the repair functions of the
Acetyl-L-Carnitine and GH
Taking ALC before bed helps the hypothalamus gland stimulate the production of GH
during sleep. It enhances GH production and also prevents hormonal depletion from
stress. ALC helps offset the effects of stress that induce sleep problems, clears leptin
resistance in the brain, and can also help the brain recognize the real amount of leptin,
which will help overcome leptin resistance.
ALC also assists with improving mood, cognitive function, can help metabolize stuck
cholesterol out of brain cells, and helps with normalizing glucose function in the brain.
ALC acts in the nervous system to promote the return of normal communication among
Leptin and testosterone
Too much leptin depresses testosterone, but not enough leptin causes metabolism to slow
down and this includes male function. The goal is to have the right amount of leptin.
Problems occur when hormones are out of balance. Low testosterone is associated with
weight gain around the midsection. Higher than normal estrogen causes weight gain on
the butt and thighs.
Too much leptin puts the breaks on testosterone production. A man suffering from leptin
resistance has too much leptin in his circulation, which forces down his testosterone. As a
man gains weight from leptin resistance especially around the legs and glutes he will
convert testosterone into estrogen in fat cells.
Leptin resistance and depressed testosterone is reflected by weight around the midsection.
Higher estrogen that is draining testosterone is reflected in weight gain in the butt and
thighs. (Healthy T to E ration is 20-40:1)
As bodyfat builds, leptin levels increase and testosterone levels decrease. When there is
lack of testosterone leptin is inappropriately elevated. High leptin levels tell the male
system not to synthesize male hormones. High male hormones suppress leptin levels.
Some amount of leptin is essential for stimulating the production of male hormones.
Leptin controls other hormones. In many situations, the fundamental role of leptin is to
permit other hormones to function. Many specific areas of the body require a certain
amount of leptin to permit metabolic function.
The idea is not to get rid of leptin, as the proper leptin levels allow correct metabolic
function, including sex drive and fertility. The idea is to have the right amount of
testosterone and leptin in relation to each other.
Raising low T
Zinc is an important mineral in the formation and transport of testosterone. Even a
marginal zinc deficiency can reduce testosterone formation by forty percent! Serious zinc
deficiency can reduce it by as much as 60 percent. Make sure to take at least 30mg of
zinc citrate daily with a meal. You may need 50-100mg depending on how zinc deficient
Magnesium is another important mineral for testosterone production. I find magnesium
oil works great as it ramps up DHEA, which spills over into increased testosterone (at
least in my case). For more info go to: http://www.mikemahler.com/magnesium.html
Addressing High Estrogen
An enzyme called aromatase which is highly active in white adipose tissue in the lower
half of the body has a big role in deciding how much testosterone you have access to. It
converts testosterone into estrogen. Some of this is normal to keep ratios in balance.
However, when men have an excess level of aromatase too much testosterone is
converted into estrogen. The conversion occurs due to the activity of aromatase enzymes
inside fat cells. As a man gets fatter more of the aromatase enzyme is active. Resveratrol
is a powerful inhibitor of the aromatase enzyme. 500-1000mg of resveratrol per day first
thing in the morning on an empty stomach works well:
Leptin and inflammation
One major goal for optimal health is to produce as little inflammation as possible (think
of inflammation as the breaking down of muscles, organs, cells). In the human body the
oil that keeps inflammation at bay is regulated by the steroid hormones in the adrenal
glands (primarily DHEA and cortisol). Back up support comes from testosterone,
progesterone, and estrogen. All of these hormones have cholesterol as their structural
back bone. These hormones help you tolerate stress. Adrenaline is pro inflammatory and
the adrenal hormones help off set the inflammation effects of adrenaline.
Many people get a high inflammatory response to the normal activities of their day. Some
inflammatory responses are from overuse issues such as knee pain and carpal tunnel
syndrome, while other inflammatory responses are from constant emotional and physical
stress. This ongoing inflammation causes wear and tear on the lining of the arteries and
membranes of blood cells. This eventually results in cardiovascular disease and increases
risk for cancer.
The stress hormone cortisol appoints an anti-inflammatory response to the stresses of
daily living. Ideally cortisol is high in the morning as it is your switch turning everything
on for the day. Once cortisol fires up your metabolism, cortisol levels start gradually
declining through out the course of the day. Cortisol levels should be low in the evening
and before bedtime.
During times of serious stress cortisol and adrenaline go up together. Adrenaline takes
your energy through the roof and cortisol helps deal with the increased inflammatory
response. Once the serious stress is over and adrenaline begins to decline cortisol then
takes around an hour to ninety minutes to go down. It is helping the body cool off from
the intense inflammation.
Problems occur when one is always in a stressed state. This keeps cortisol high all of the
time, which causes major problems. Common side effects are: depression, low energy,
poor mood, stress intolerance, sleep issues, and increased physical pain. This condition is
often referred to as adrenal fatigue. You have produced cortisol too often and it has
stayed up for too long to the point where the adrenals are having a hard time continuing
to make cortisol.
High levels of cortisol ramp up levels of leptin in the fat cells. This creates a surplus of
leptin and leptin resistance, which causes fat gain. DHEA normally helps block this
process. However, DHEA levels go down as you get older and from continued stress,
thus it is critical to keep DHEA levels optimal to manage stress and inflammation. DHEA
supplementation is an option. However, I find that transdermal magnesium oil works
extremely well. I have been using it for over a year. In just the first few months of use it
took my DHEA levels from 250pg.ml to 618pg/ml! Read more about it at:
Omega 3 fatty acids (flax oil, Udo’s oil, V-pure, and fish oil) are very important for
supporting the stress management team (cortisol, DHEA, and other sex hormones). Cells
have an enhanced ability to tolerate friction and inflammation when cell membranes have
higher concentrations of omega 3 fatty acids. Unhealthy fats such as those from fried fats,
trans fats, and vegetable oils, are more likely to cause cells to become inflamed. The fatty
acids DHA and EPA are very important. Fish oil is rich in both but is often loaded with
toxins and contaminants. A better option is DHA/EPA derived from Marine Algae:
Cells need antioxidants inside of them to defend against inflammation. When cells run
low on antioxidants they die and once they are gone they are gone for good. This is why
excess inflammation is one of the major causes for all diseases of aging. You are
basically accelerating the aging process when you have high levels of inflammation.
Make sure to keep antioxidant levels high by eating tons of fruits, veggies, green tea, and
The adrenals need some level of stress for healthy functioning. High levels of cortisol can
even enhance the creative functioning of the brain. When you are feeling creative and in
the zone you are generally being fueled by cortisol. It is the excess levels of stress that
cause major problems. Stress management programs are very important for overall
health. Some examples include weekly massages, daily meditation, doing tai chi or chi-
gung several times per week, and deep breathing exercises. Dealing with emotional
repression and other underlying issues is also very important.
Too much cortisol ruins the immune system and contributes to the malfunctioning of
leptin, which makes people fat.
Leptin and cholesterol
The liver is the main metabolic factory for cholesterol production in the body. The liver
will make cholesterol even if it is not coming from the diet. Statin drugs lower cholesterol
by hampering the liver’s ability to make cholesterol. However, the real question is why is
your cholesterol high in the first place? It could be leptin resistance as leptin resistance
causes an erroneous signal to the liver, telling the liver to make too much cholesterol.
Once leptin resistance is addressed then the liver no longer gets the signal to over
produce cholesterol. Low levels of leptin also slows down thyroid function, and a
hampered thyroid does not clear cholesterol efficiently.
Eating strategy for burning fat
Three to four hours after a meal insulin levels decline as it has done its job to feed the
muscles, cells, and liver. When insulin levels drop the pancreas gets the signal to produce
the hormone glucagon in order to bring blood sugar levels back up for normal
functioning. Glucagon communicates with the liver to release stored sugar (stored as
glycogen) to be converted into glucose to keep blood sugar levels optimal.
Your body is getting a snack in between meals from the stored calories in the liver. Thus
no need to eat snacks in between meals to keep blood sugar up. 60% of fuel will come
from the liver and the other 40% from fatty acids. Triglycerides are not broken down
from white adipose tissue for fuel. This continues until the next meal and is your body’s
fat burning time. You want to take advantage of it often by eating infrequently. The
longer you are in this state the more fat you will burn.
Start by eating no more than three meals per day with at least six hours in between each
meal. Begin the day with a high protein meal. A high protein meal can increase the
metabolism by thirty percent for up to 12 hours. This is the equivalent of a 2-3 mile jog
(or 10 minute snatch set). A high carb breakfast only boosts metabolism by 4% and
ramps up insulin big time. If you cannot go for 5-6 hours without eating after a meal you
did not have enough protein. You had too many carbohydrates and not enough protein
and fat. Get all carbohydrates from fruits and veggies only.Each serving is a powerful
antioxidant boost and contains carbohydrates loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Have 30-40% of calories from fat as fat takes longer to leave the stomach and will keep
you feeling content for much longer.
Fat burning and sleep
By avoiding eating four to five hours prior to sleep you will burn 60% fatty acids (stored
bodyfat from the stomach, hips, and thighs) and 40% sugar from the liver during the last
three to four hours of sleep. This will not occur if you eat before you sleep and you will
blow yet another fat burning zone.
During the night your body gradually begins to burn a higher portion of fat for fuel. Nine
hours after dinner the food that you have eaten during the day and for dinner has been
used up and now you have to go to stored bodyfat. Nine to twelve hours after having
dinner are prime fat burning hours. Best of all the stored bodyfat that is being used for
energy is coming from the stomach, butt, and thighs.
Exercise and optimizing Leptin
Exercise improves insulin resistance, and significantly enhances the ability of insulin to
transport glucose into the muscles so that the calories can be used for energy. When
muscles are depleted of fuel there is a demand to replenish the diminished supply.
Recent studies show that resistance training lowers bodyfat and leptin. This reduction of
bodyfat and leptin enables insulin to function correctly so that there is no insulin
resistance in the muscles.
For more information on Leptin, make sure to check out Bryon Richard’s website at