My patient, A.B., knows the agony of dieting all too well.
Her weight had yo-yoed repeatedly between 130 pounds and 180 pounds for more than a decade.
Like most people trying to lose weight, A.B. blamed a lack of willpower and her genes for her diet failures – and so did her doctors.
But the real problem was that a lifetime of poor nutrition, along with decades of dieting, had created a serious hormonal malfunction… one that caused her brain to think her body’s fat stores were diminishing – even though the exact opposite was happening.
A.B. was completely unaware she suffered from a condition called leptin resistance – which had knocked two little-known “hunger” hormones, leptin and ghrelin, completely out of balance.
Mainstream doctors and even most nutritionists know almost nothing about the roles of leptin and ghrelin in your body.
Yet leptin resistance is now believed by scientists to be the leading driver of weight gain.1
Ghrelin tells your brain, “I’m hungry, let’s eat.” But leptin is an appetite suppressor.
When you have leptin resistance, levels of ghrelin increase, and leptin signaling decreases. Your brain tells your body, “I’m hungry, let’s eat,” all the time and the signal to stop eating can’t get through.
With leptin resistance, the signals from both leptin and ghrelin get all mixed up. And every time you diet, your body goes into a defensive mode that’s directed toward making you put on weight.
Like all chronic diseases, leptin resistance begins with inflammation. It’s your body’s reaction to the grain-based Western diet of carbohydrates, sugar and starches.
This standard American diet (SAD) has wrecked your metabolism and made your body act in ways nature never intended. Leptin resistance means your brain no longer knows whether it’s hungry or not.
At the Sears Institute for Anti-Aging Medicine, I ask my patients looking to lose weight a series of questions. If they answer “yes” to two or more of the following questions, I recommend getting a leptin test.
- Is it difficult for you to lose weight?
- When you go on a diet, do you drop a few pounds but still look flabby?
- Do you hold onto weight in your mid-section, no matter how hard you try to lose it?
- Do you have trouble keeping weight off?
- Are you constantly hungry?
- Do you crave sugary foods and get “hangry” if you don’t get your fix?
- Are you stressed a lot?
- Do you have high triglyceride levels?
The first thing I tell patients is to stop being SAD and follow a primal meal plan. Then I teach them about my PACE exercise principle, which teaches your body to stop storing fat. Finally, I tell them about an all-natural supplement that reboots your hunger hormones.
Reboot Your Hunger Hormones
It’s called fucoxanthin and it comes from edible brown seaweed. Fucoxanthin kicks your metabolism into high gear so it actually burns fat.
Scientists call this thermogenesis. It turns on genes that speed up your metabolism.2
Researchers have studied fucoxanthin’s effect on women – and they found it increased fat-burning, even while the women were eating 1,800 calories a day.
In a 16-week clinical study, researchers followed 151 overweight women. Those who took a placebo lost an average of 3 pounds. But those who added the fucoxanthin lost 15 pounds.3
That’s 5 times the weight loss.
The fucoxanthin women lost subcutaneous fat, which you can see in the mirror. But they also lost the deadly visceral fat that wraps around your organs and causes heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.4
Best of all, fucoxanthin prevents new fat cells from forming.5 And it also stops your fat cells from reaching maturity.
Weight-loss Seaweed Soup
Fucoxanthin is found naturally in wakame. This is my favorite seaweed. It has a mild flavor and tastes delicious in soups and salads. It’s also available in dried form that you can sprinkle on your food to add a sweet, salty taste.
A quick, easy way to get fucoxanthin in your diet is with this easy miso soup recipe.
- 1 piece dried kombu
- 1 piece dried wakame
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, chopped
- Tbsp. miso paste
- 3 cups water
- Soak kombu, wakame, and mushrooms in 3 cups of water in a saucepan for 30 minutes.
- Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes.
- Remove the kombu, wakame and mushrooms from the liquid.
- Slice wakame and kombu and return to stock
- Cut stems off mushrooms and discard. Slice mushroom caps in half and return to saved liquid.
- Simmer on low heat until warmed through.
- Add miso. (Never boil miso because that kills its live probiotics.)
If eating seaweed doesn’t appeal to you, you can supplement. I recommend 300 mg every day.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Park HK and Ahima RS. “Physiology of leptin: Energy homeostasis, neuroendocrine function and metabolism.” Metabolism. 2015;64(1)24-34.
2. Maeda H, et al. “Fucoxanthin from edible seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, shows anti-obesity effect through UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues.” Biochem Biophys Res. July 2005. 1;332(2):392-7.
3. Abidov M. “The effect of Xanthigen, a phytomedicine containing fucoxanthin and pomegranate seed oil, on body weight and liver fat, serum triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and plasma aminotransferases in obese non-diabetic female volunteers: A double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial.” 2007.
4. Fontana L, et al. “Visceral fat adipokine secretion is associated with systemic inflammation in obese humans.” Diabetes. April 2007. 56(4):1010-3.
5. Abidov M, et al. “The effect of Xanthigen, a phytomedicine containing fucoxanthin and pomegranate seed oil, on body weight … in obese non-diabetic female volunteers.” Int J Obesity. 2008.