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How Leptin Helps in Weight Control

How Leptin Helps in Weight Control

Excess weight is a known risk factor for chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and some forms of cancer. Evidence suggests that obesity has more than one cause - apart from wrong eating habits, genetic and psychological factors may also play a part.

The hormone leptin, produced by adipocytes (fat cells), was discovered some years ago in mice. Subsequently the human Ob gene was mapped to chromosome 7. Derived from the Greek word 'leptos' meaning thin, leptin is believed to aid in controlling weight. As body fat increases, more leptin is produced, which acts to reduce food intake. As body fat decreases, less leptin is produced, which stimulates food intake and reduces energy expenditure.