Q:

What is leptin?

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Quick Answer

Leptin is a hormone that is responsible for the regulation of body fat. It is produced by the fat cells called adipocytes and circulated in the bloodstream before going to the brain. Leptin plays a key role in controlling energy output and food intake, states WebMD.

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Full Answer

Leptin interacts with areas of the brain to control hunger and to tell the body when it has had enough to eat, states MedicineNet. The brain detects when leptin reaches a certain level, considering the body’s energy efficient enough to engage in energy-burning processes.

When a person diets, the level of leptin production decreases making the brain discern a state of starvation, declares WebMD. Starvation in turn activates other processes, such as stimulation of the vagus nerve that runs between the abdomen and the brain. These processes push the leptin levels back up to arouse hunger.

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