Leptin Resistance, Psoriasis and Metabolic Syndrome
Psoriasis has been associated with several co-morbidities. In medicine, this term is used to refer to the concurrence of multiple diseases or disorders, and the diseases that occur concurrently are often thought to be related to common pathogenetic mechanisms.
One of the most common co-morbidities associated with psoriasis is metabolic syndrome, a condition that is characterized by a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors: excess body fat around the waist, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and diabetes, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Not only have people with psoriasis been observed to have an increased incidence of metabolic syndrome, but a British study published in the British Journal of Dermatology suggests that the prevalence of metabolic syndrome also correlates with the severity of psoriasis.
Both Psoriasis and Metabolic Syndrome Are Associated with High Serum Levels of Leptin, Study Shows
An intriguing study published in Archives of Dermatology suggests that people with psoriasis have higher levels of the hormone leptin than people without psoriasis. Led by Dr. Yi-Ju Chen of the Taichung Veterans General Hospital and National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, this case-control study involved 77 psoriasis patients and 81 people without psoriasis who served as the control group. The researchers collected data related to the health of the study participants and took blood samples in order to analyze the participants' leptin levels.
Many experts, such as Dr. Leo Galland, an internationally respected expert in nutritional medicine and the author of the highly acclaimed book The Fat Resistance Diet, believe that failure to lose weight is often linked to a condition called leptin resistance. In healthy people, an increase in leptin levels signals satiety and sufficient fat stores, but in people with leptin resistance, despite their high levels of leptin, these signals are not working, and the brain does not get the message that the body has had enough food. In addition to playing a role appetite control, leptin is also involved in immune and inflammatory processes.
The Taiwanese study discovered that high blood levels of leptin were found more often in people who were obese or had psoriasis or metabolic syndrome. Also women were more likely to have elevated leptin levels. After the researchers adjusted their results for sex, body mass index and cardiovascular risk factors, they concluded that psoriasis was independently associated with high leptin levels. They also found that high leptin levels in the psoriasis patients were associated with an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome.
As weight loss has been shown to affect leptin levels and improve insulin sensitivity, the researchers responsible for the Taiwanese suggest in their report that weight loss could potentially become part of the general treatment of psoriasis, especially in obese people. However, if you are one of the millions of overweight or obese people who suffer from leptin resistance, that may be easier said than done.
But how do you know if you are leptin resistant? In The Leptin Boost Diet, board-certified endocrinologist Scott Isaacs argues that being overweight is enough to suggest that you probably suffer from leptin resistance, especially if those excess pounds are concentrated around in the abdominal area. He also lists a number of other signs and symptoms associated with leptin resistance including fatigue, insomnia, carbohydrate cravings, and feeling bloated or tired after dinner.
Diet-Related Tips to Help You Fight Leptin Resistance
Since the discovery of leptin in 1994, thousands of leptin-related studies have been published in scientific journals. In Mastering Leptin: Your Guide to Permanent Weight Loss & Optimum Health, board certified clinical nutritionist and renowned leptin expert Byron J. Richards draws on these studies and provides you with a wealth of information and practical tips to help you reverse problems associated with malfunctioning leptin. For those hungry for in-depth information about the topic, this 400-plus page book can be an invaluable resource. Now, if you are not much of a reader, here are a few general diet-related tips to help you get on track to a healthier life free of problems caused by leptin resistance:
- Avoid eating after dinner and finish eating dinner 3 hours before bedtime
- Allow 11 to 12 hours between dinner and breakfast the following day
- Eat 3 meals a day and avoid snacking
- Eat slowly and do not consume large meals
- Make sure your breakfast includes a healthy source of protein
- Cut down on foods that are rich in starchy carbohydrates